Going his way

Going his way

When is a definitive statement from Rome not a definitive statement, but a “recommendation”? When you’re Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles.

Gerald at Closed Cafeteria has received a copy of a memo sent out by the LA Archdiocese regarding the recent order from Pope Benedict that ends the indult granted temporarily to the US Church that allowed Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to purify the sacred vessels (thereby resulting in many sacrileges, incidentally). The memo gives the facts and then ends with the following directive:

Until Cardinal Mahony and the auxiliary bishops have the opportunity to discuss the new recommendations, both locally and at the general meeting of the USCCB in November, no changes will be made regarding the present policy for the distribution of Holy Communion and/or the purification of the sacred vessels.

These weren’t “recommendations”; this is an exercise of the Pope’s authority to ensure uniformity of worship through the legislation of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Nowhere in the Pope’s remarks, Cardinal Arinze’s notification, or USCCB president Bishop William Skylstad’s letter to US bishops does it say this is a recommendation or that implementation can be delayed.

Once more, Mahony shows that he ignores all authority but his own. 

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  • In 1997, Rome said that the regular use of extraordinary ministers for Communion, given the presence of the ordinary, was to be “elimniated.” The American bishops have had it buried in committee ever since. So long as they do, can you really imagine this recent edict standing a chance? No, the little things will be observed only when The Big Thing is taken care of.

  • ”…this new memo requires further study.”

    Wow. You think?

    If I were a bishop, and the use of extraordinary ministers were a bit too ordinary for a strict reading of the Holy See’s discipline, I would “require further study” of the recent announcement as well. To comply with it, I would have to seriously curtail the use of the laity to administer Communion in order to ensure practical compliance.

    That’s the part that’s harder than it looks.

  • “It certainly makes sense that way.”

    Frankly, I don’t know how else this could work, given what is already allowed. You can’t very well put people in a position of great responsibility and then turn around and say, oh, you can still do this, but you can’t follow through on it. Common sense will tell you that’s an invitation to disaster.

    As for instances of sacrilege, Dom, I personally know of a case where the intervention of a layman in the handling of the sacred Species had the effect of STOPPING sacrilege on a grand scale. I should know; I was there.

    In the face of this announcement, given the circumstances of the time, I’d do it again.