BYO Precious Blood

BYO Precious Blood

The Massachusetts family that was recently in the news protesting that their daughter who can’t eat wheat should be allowed to receive a rice host for her First Communion are in the news again. They’re appealing to Pope Benedict to make an exception for their daughter. They just don’t understand—or refuse to do so—no one can make an exception, not even the Pope. This is a dogmatic issue, not one of mere discipline. Of course, seeing their responses, I’m not surprised they don’t get it because they obviously aren’t all that familiar with the Catholic Mass. The only option open to her daughter is to receive from the chalice.

“I just don’t think it’s feasible for them to expect a 7-year-old to walk into Mass with a chalice, a bottle of wine and a letter from the archdiocese every week she goes to Mass,” Coyne said, adding that her family is not just concerned about Victoria’s First Communion but beyond. “They’re not thinking past this First Communion.”

Um, do these people go to Mass? Do they realize that there is a chalice consecrated at every Mass? Do they realize that if their pastor knows them—as he surely does by now—that he will arrange to have the chalice available for the girl. And that when they travel, if they choose not to make advance arrangements with the priest, the girl can simply make a spiritual communion, which in these circumstances would most definitely be attributed as a meritous sacrifice worthy of great blessings?

Either these people are being intentionally obtuse about the chalice and Precious Blood, or someone at the parish or archdiocese has done a very poor job at catechizing and communicating with these people. Does anyone know Fr. Paul Clifford, pastor at St. Marguerite D’Youville Church in Dracut and whether it’s likely he hasn’t catechized these people well?

Technorati Tags: , , ,

  • In most Orthodox churches, the priest can refuse communion to visitors whom he does not know, on the chance that they are not properly disposed. Some of them go so far as to require making a confession (usually to the same priest) less than 24 hours before receiving.

    Personally, I think we get off easy.

  • I know Fr. Clifford. He married my sister and said the funeral Mass of my wife’s aunt. He is the pastor of the parish I attended growing up. He is extremely gracious and helpful. From what I have been able to discern from the homilies I have heard, he seems orthodox and knowledgable. Unfortunately beeing poorly cathecized is not uncommon in this parish or many others in the area. I was a CCD teach at this parish and the one I am currently attending. Probably about 90% of the children in the CCD program do not attend Mass. The parents have little knowledge of the Faith. Unfortunately, in my experience, the pastors of the parishes I have been involved with leave the catechizing to the DRE and Rel. Ed teachers. They assume they are doing their job. I believe they know that for the most part Rel. Ed is a disaster. How can you teach the Faith to children whose parents do not take them to Mass, do not know their Faith, and who by their words and actions do not give priority to God? I had to stop teaching CCD, because it was too frustrating.
    My opinion is that these parents fall into this category. They just want their daughter to receive the Sacrements because it is a family tradition and they don’t want her singled out in any way. They don’t care about the teachings of the Church at all. It is a sad situation on many fronts.

  • What is wrong with these people?  They seem bent on creating controversy.  I have never been to a single Mass in my life that the Precious Blood was not available. 

    Does their parish do something different??

  • They’re just nuts.  How would it be easier for a little girl to bring a rice wafer to Mass (even if it were theologically possible) than to receive from the chalice?


  • I’ve dealt with this situation in my prior parish.

    We had one man who would let us know he would be at daily Mass (I think he went somewhere else for Sunday; I never saw him); and we put a special cup, with special wine in it. (It was regular wine; it was a white wine he suggested.) I consecrated it, as usual, and since it was not the main chalice, there was no problem about the fraction. He came up along with the extraordinary minister, and I gave him communion from that cup. No muss, no fuss. All that was really necessary was his courtesy of letting us know he was at Mass.

    Likewise, we had a woman who both had celiac disease and an alcoholic. We used the low-gluten hosts, which we kept in the sacristy. We had a special pyx, and put the special host in it, and it was consecrated in that fashion. Then, when she came forward, she came to the priest, who opened the pyx over her hand (so I didn’t touch the special host). She wasn’t singled out; and she was, by the way, very happy.

    Now, I suppose there are priests who can’t manage such accommodations; but in my brief experience as a priest, there are lots of accommodations and adjustments you make—it’s just how it is. The idea that “bad ole Church” won’t be flexible is pretty ridiculous.

    I said this on a prior thread: if someone insists on a rice wafer, then I am tempted to say,

    “Fine! We’ve told you the Church has no power to change that rice host into anything, so as far as the Church is concerned, that is going to stay a rice wafer, forever—and if that’s all you want, then fine!

    “But here’s the thing: in that case, it really doesn’t matter if that rice wafer ever gets to the altar! The priest need have nothing to do with it! So, you hold onto that rice wafer, and believe whatever you like about it, and pop it into your mouth whenever you wish.

    “Will it be the Body of Christ? Not per the Catholic Church! But as that’s not essential to you, then what else is there to say?”