Monday, December 5, 2016


MY COMMENTS FIRST:  The good bishop is conflicted when it comes to "ad orientem" for the Ordinary Form of the Mass. But as primary liturgist for his diocese he rightfully requests that a priest who wishes to celebrate the OF Mass ad orientem have a discussion with him prior to implementing it and to make sure the parish is properly catechized prior to implementing it. This makes sense to me as I properly catechized my former parish on ad orientem years before I implemented it at one of our 5 Sunday Masses, our 12:10 PM Mass. But prior to that many in the parish had already experienced for years the EF Mass which is ad orientem of course.

I applaud the bishop on his comments on the common chalice and eliminating it during the flu season in his entire diocese. He acknowledges, as I have sounded the alarm for years and years, that there is a very real possibility of contracting a disease from the common chalice and that if we as a Church were under the health department, we would be shut down for this unsanitary procedure which liturgy ideologues continue to promote and in the most fundamentalist and Protestant way as it concerns the laity have a right to the chalice. 

I now know of two people with compromised immune issues who believe and for good reason, that they contracted a serious intestinal bacterial infection from the common chalice. One is a GI doctor who almost died from it and the other is a priest who became seriously ill with a bacterial intestinal infection while on a continuing education pilgrimage to Italy and the Holy Land. That priest is me!

At St. Joseph Church I seldom purified the common chalices as these were cleansed after Mass in the sacristy. At daily Mass I would do the first cleansing by diluting any remnant of the Precious Blood with water so that the Precious Blood was no longer present as the wine was no longer, just water. This was then poured into the sacraium which drains to a secure ground area.

Since arriving at St. Anne, at daily Mass I cleanse my chalice and the two common chalices at Mass after Holy Communion at the traditional time. I do so by pouring almost a chalice full of water in one of the common chalice and then pouring that into the other common chalice and that into my chalice which I then consume.

BINGO! My already compromised immune deficiency disorder which manifests itself in ulcerative colitus which I have been diagnosed for the past 20 years (and for the past four years in almost total remission with medication) came out of remission over night with a "stomach or indigestion issue" I had the Friday before I departed for Rome on the next Monday which caused my ulcerative colitus to come out of hibernation.  At first is was mild by difficult for me on the flight over but gradually beamed unmanageable by the last week of the program. 

In addition, I had fever with it (which I have never had with my disease) and I felt like a Mack Truck had run over me. I had severe pains in the my stomach. The day before our departure for home, I felt that I might not be able to go because the issues surrounding my disease were so severe that I needed to stay close to a restroom. But with the help of God and shear determination, I got back to Richmond Hill with my motto, "Come Hell or High Water!"

The next morning I was in a panic because my symptoms had increased! I called by GI doctor who sent me to a "immediate care" clinic and was told what antibiotic to get along with a strong steroid. He said my symptoms pointed to a serious bacterial infection that could lead to C-diff!

While there were signs of C-diff from some of the lab tests, it turned out that it wasn't and thanks be to God. I am on new medication for my ulcerative colitus which the intestainl infection reopened and on a month long steroid which usually treats only the colon.

I blame the manner in which I have to consume contaminated ablutions at our daily Mass for this infection that could have changed my life forever if it had led to C-diff!


The Ordinary Form of the Mass Celebrated “ad orientem

On July 5, 2016 Cardinal Robert Sarah, in speaking with priests during a retreat conference,
spoke of the Holy Season of Advent being an opportune time for those priests in attendance to begin celebrating Mass “ad orientem”. On July 11, 2016 the Vatican spokesman Fr. Frederico Lombardi, S.J. issued a statement declaring that there were no new liturgical directives being issued from the Vatican in this regard.

As some of you know, I have on a few occasions publically celebrated the Ordinary Form of the Mass “ad orientem”. Celebrating Mass “ad orientem” in the Ordinary Form means that the priest stands at the altar facing the same direction together with the people from the Preparation of the Gifts until the Communion Rite turning to the people when indicated by the rubrics. 

After some discussion I did support the proposal of one priest to celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass “ad orientem” in one of our local churches with the understanding that it would be done with proper catechesis. Even though the Ordinary Form of the Mass may be celebrated “ad orientem” the norm since the Second Vatican Council has been to celebrate this form of the Mass “versus populum” (facing the people).

My expectation is that our priests will continue to celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass “versus populum”. I would not expect or encourage a priest in our Diocese to begin celebrating Mass “ad orientem” at parish Masses without having a personal, in-depth conversation with me.

Even though there are many options in the Roman Missal some options do need and continue to be properly explained and implemented in order for the faithful to enter more deeply and participate more fully in the Church’s Liturgy. Which leads me to another option which is Distribution of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds.

Holy Communion Under Both Kinds

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal states with regards to “Holy Communion under Both Kinds”, that “whenever the opportunity for instruction is present, the faithful should be properly catechized...”(25). We all know that the flu and cold season raises all sorts of questions with regards to the transmission of germs when the faithful receive the Precious Blood from a chalice. I feel that it is most timely to address these concerns now.

There are two issues, as I approach this:
  1. Health (the possible spread of contagion vis-à-vis the approach to the Sacred with an
    attitude of heroic faith. “Because it is Precious Blood, in Faith, I won’t get sick or
    transmit sickness to another.”)
  2. The doctrine of concomitance (one never is denied reception of the Precious Blood when
    one receives Holy Communion under the appearance of Bread since the Body and Blood of Christ are both fully present as one under either Form) vis-à-vis the admonition that receiving Holy Communion under BOTH forms is a “fuller sign”.
These two discussions rest on both Faith and Reason and, as in most theological discussions, opinions can be strongly held on several levels.

It is my contention that our belief in the concomitant Presence of Body and Blood must be reiterated in these days. Our people need to know what we believe and hold as truth and, in this matter, the truth is greater than the “fuller sign”. Therefore to receive under ONE Form is a true reflection of our true doctrine. 

Traditionally the one form to be received is the form of Consecrated Bread, not the Precious Blood under the appearance of wine, though for one whose manner of obtaining nutrition is by liquid administered through a feeding tube, this stands to perfect reason and is acceptable.

For the seasons beginning with the First Sunday of Advent and, in fact, until Holy Thursday, Holy Communion is to be distributed only under the form of the Consecrated Host (except as noted for the special feeding need).

Prior to Holy Thursday a renewed catechesis on the practice of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds will be made available under my direction from the Office for Worship.

Liturgical Music and Environment

Music Directors, Musicians and Liturgical Art and Environment individuals and committees really need to work, as always, with their pastor’s input and pastors ought to be attentive to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and diocesan guidelines. Particularly when decorating the church, please take special note of the altar itself, the free standing altar is freestanding so that the priest can walk around it. Displays of flowers or the Nativity or other decorations are not in keeping with the directive of the Second Vatican Council which intended the altar to be beautifully decorated but not obscured.

With regards to music, again, I leave it to the pastors to work with your liturgical music ministry to plan according to the Liturgical Seasons.

In the end we believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is of the utmost importance for us as Catholics. And so, we should be vigilant in ensuring that the dignity of our celebrations be enhanced. In promoting such dignity, the beauty of the sacred place, of the music, and of art should contribute as greatly as possible. 


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Of course, the "I'll get leprosy/AIDS/pneumonia/lice/heebie-jeebies/cooties from the common cup" appears again after a long rest.

The evidence - the scientific, clinical evidence - is out there for anyone who wants to know it.

TJM said...

Fr. Kavanaugh, then in the spirit of the Christmas Season, please share the research. Thanks

John Nolan said...

Interestingly, in Continental Europe offering the Chalice to the laity is not routine, which seems more in the spirit of the original instruction. The UK, Irish and US bishops have opted for a wider interpretation and so it is far more widespread.

I don't know what the situation is in the US, but the English bishops let slip a few years back that their opposition to intinction was that it would make redundant the large army of (mostly female) EMHC they had so assiduously recruited.

Shaking hands with one's neighbours and then receiving Communion in the hand is a greater health risk. Not to mention handing round the collection plate.

As Fr Z would say, reason # 217498 for Summorum Pontificum.

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Fr. McD, on a separate but related topic: you may want to try taking coconut for your ulcerative colitis. Coconut is known to help in a variety of digestive issues, but most especially for the disorders of the colon. I'm not saying you should stop your medications, but that you can try this to help heal your colon.

Several years ago my elderly mother developed severe diarrhea for which she was prescribed antibiotics, which did not resolve the infection or whatever she had. We were very worried, and started giving her a tablespoon of shredded coconut in yogurt. Within two days she was much better, and within five days the problem was resolved. We continued to give her the coconut as a preventative measure and never had any other issue with her bowel after that.

You can get shredded unsweetened coconut in some grocery stores in the ethnic food aisle. I find my amid the Arabic foods. Middle Easterners use it to make coconut macaroons. You can also used the sweetened coconut found in the baking aisle, but may not want the extra sugar in your diet.

God bless.

Joseph Johnson said...

The reference you made to the English bishops' "slip" about their real reason for opposing intinction is EXACTLY (along the practical effect of banning Communion in the hand) the reason I have suspected U.S. bishops have been opposed to the regular use of intinction by priests and deacons (the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion).

Rood Screen said...

I like it whenever Bee comments. It just simply a very pleasant, even calming, experience. "Bee here", "God bless, Bee": I love it! We could all do with being a bit more like Bee in our commenting.

Mark Thomas said...

Father McDonald,

University of Maryland Medical Center

"Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has been used for 4,000 years to treat a variety of conditions. Studies show that turmeric may help fight infections and some cancers, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems.

Ulcerative colitis

"Turmeric may help people with ulcerative colitis stay in remission. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of the digestive tract where symptoms tend to come and go.

"In one double-blind, placebo-controlled study, people whose ulcerative colitis was in remission took either curcumin or placebo, along with conventional medical treatment, for 6 months. Those who took curcumin had a significantly lower relapse rate than those who took placebo."


Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

I have not been a big fan of the receiving under both species, especially during a Mass with a large congregation. The over abundance of Eucharistic ministers seems to be disruptive to the Mass and offers little in saving time. The handling of the Eucharist and especially the extra vessels also often seems haphazard and irreverent. I have often wondered why Intinction was never used in this country, although others have given speculation to the reason. I would add that receiving under both species during a Mass with a few people doesn't raise the same objection as Sunday Mass. I am wary of medical advice from the internet unless it comes from a reliable MD. The same is true of liturgical advice gathered from the same internet, unless it comes from a reliable Priest.

Mark Thomas said...

Is one more likely or less likely (or about the same) to contract an illness from the common Chalice or shaking hands with several people during the offering of peace (Novus Ordo Mass)?

During the cold/flu season, is one more likely to become ill via the common chalice or placing one's hand on a doorknob or door opener?

It amazes me that throughout a Mass, people will sneeze and/or cough into their right hands, then shake hands with one person after another during the exchange of peace.

As that rite is optional, I would think that at least during flu season, the rite would be suspended or the priest would announce, for example, to bow to each other rather than shake hands.

Suspending the rite would be a good way to proceed as that would eliminate the possibility of somebody offering a handshake out of habit. (There is joke in there about habit...the only habit you won't encounter at most parishes is a "traditional" one worn by a nun.)


Mark Thomas

TJM said...

Shaking hands at Mass is so pedestrian and cheapens the Rite of the Pax. Intinction would be a far more reverent way of receiving both species than the current carnival approach.

Rood Screen said...

A "Eucharistic minister" is a priest, and there's no such thing as an "extraordinary minister of the Eucharist". There are, however, "extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion".

As for intinction, how can it be that a bishop prohibits something the Holy See says is always permissible?

Anonymous said...

Bee here:

Aw, thank you Dialogue. I'm blushing... :-)

God bless,