Monday, October 10, 2011

Quote of the Day

. . . The reasons to use both [bread and wine at Communion] are many. First of all, it plants us firmly in the Jewish roots of the liturgy. A good article on this can be found here. Second, it reconnects us, as Vatican II attempted to do, to the whole rich history of the early Church. For the first thousand years, Christians received under both species. This is not to say that they had any less respect for the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Tertullian notes in the 3rd century: ” The possibility of letting either our cup or our bread fall to the ground makes us painfully anxious.” Yet that did not prevent the reception under both species. It was more the effect of the Gregorian Reforms of the 11th century that created a more rigid class distinction between priest and assembly than any theology that began restricting the reception of the Eucharist to one species.

This leads directly to my second concern [about Bishop Olmsted's withdrawing permission to give communion wine to the laity except under certain limited conditions]. Why are seminarians singled out for special reception of both species? This only fosters the documented growing trend among young priests to shy away from lay collaboration in their ministry. The seminarian has no special place in the congregation. He is another member of the common priesthood of the faithful who offers along with the priest the sacrifice of Christ on the altar. Singling him out is particularly dangerous. More than half of the laity in recent polls say that priests don’t want them to be leaders, but only followers. The laity want to help their priests. They want to be a part of the parish and participate in its functions. They want an active part in the liturgy. Yet there is a decreasing interest among young priests to collaborate with the laity in their parishes, possibly out of a renewed emphasis in many seminaries on the “cultic” identity of a priest. The danger of the new guidelines is to reinforce that tendency and to downplay the common priesthood of the faithful at Mass.

– Nathan O'Halloran, SJ
"Liturgical Minimalism in Phoenix"
Whosoever Desires
September 23, 2011

Related Off-site Link:
The Case in Phoenix – Rita Ferrone (Commonweal, October 6, 2011).

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