Wednesday, November 18, 2015
RECEIVING HOLY COMMUNION AS PRECIOUS BLOOD FROM THE CHALICE IS NOT INTRINSIC FOR THE LAITY
Many say that Jesus at the Last Supper mandated that everyone receive Holy Communion under the two forms that Jesus institutes. "Take this ALL of you and drink from it...."
But to whom is Jesus speaking at the Last Supper and just how fundamentalistic or literalistic should we become in interpreting those words in the context of the Last Supper? We know that Pope Francis despises fundamentalists. So all of us should be weary of liturgical fundamentalists as they have degraded the liturgy quite a bit in the last 50 years or so.
Jesus is speaking to the first bishops/priests of the Church at the Last Supper. He institutes both sacraments in the course of the evening of Holy Thursday. Thus it is intrinsic to the sacrificial aspect of the Catholic priesthood and the Holy Eucharist that the priest celebrating the Mass on behalf of the entire Church consume the Holocaust which is Jesus Christ. For the validity of the Mass, the priest must consume both the Host and the Precious Blood and those must be consecrated at the Mass being celebrated. In other words, the celebrant is not allowed to receive Holy Communion from the tabernacle.
Not so for the laity. In fact it is not required for the validity of the Mass that any laity receive Holy Communion although it is certainly recommended, highly encouraged and to be available for those who are in a state of grace. But it is not mandated for validity. In fact the laity may receive Holy Communion consecrated at another Mass, meaning they receive the Host from the tabernacle not consecrated at the Mass at which they receive.
And the Precious Blood is not mandated to the laity but it is for those priests who celebrate or concelebrate the Mass.
The Roman Missal allows the Precious Blood to be distributed to the laity if the number of laity present does not preclude it and for special liturgical celebrations. The GIRM does not foresee the laity receiving Holy Communion from the chalice at every single Mass in the normative Latin Rite.
The American adaptation of the Roman Missal suggests three primary ways:
1. from the common chalice (which can also communicate contagious diseases and thus is not hygienic and in many places is not allowed during times of contagion--recognized as dangerous by our previous bishop and the NCCB during the H1N1 epidemic a few years back).
2. By intinction (the minister intincts the Host into the Precious Blood)
3. Or by straw or spoon (which is not a part of the Western Church's method of offering the Precious Blood to the laity, but an Eastern Rite/Eastern Orthodox tradition).
I believe the new Anglican Ordinariate Roman Missal requires the Precious Blood for the laity as it is also required in the Eastern Rite of the Church. Intinction I believe is the preferred method. However if the common chalice is offered the minister must hold the chalice while the communicant drinks, unlike the practice of most Latin Rite parishes where the minister actually hands the chalice over to the communicant.Also in the Anglican Ordinariate, if the communicant receives the Precious Host in their hands, they do it properly (unlike most Latin Rite Catholics) by bringing the host in the palm of their throne-like hands to the mouth and licking the palm to be sure all particles are consumed!