Thursday, March 16, 2006

Pittsburgh weighs in

Catholic News Agency has a follow-up to the story of Matthew, the autistic boy out in the Diocese of Phoenix. The story is largely a recap of the details of the original report along with some response from the diocese. What is most interesting is the evidence provided by the Diocese of Pittsburgh, which at the time of the original story in The Arizona Republic was not yet known.

They say that although it has been reported that Matthew cannot receive communion without spitting it out, evidence from the Diocese of Pittsburgh disputes this.

That diocese provided Phoenix officials a statement from the boy’s catechist there which said that “After many practices in the classroom, (Matthew) was able to consume some unconsecrated hosts”, and “did sip the unconsecrated wine.”

Gutierrez and Rice also cited Fr. David Driesch, pastor of St. Bernard Parish in Pittsburgh, who stated, “On the day of his First Holy Communion, I gave Matthew the consecrated host, he received it and consumed it in my presence.”

The Diocese of Phoenix is now asking what happened? The editorial stated that “The documents from the Diocese of Pittsburgh clearly prove that Matthew is able to receive the Eucharist in the manner prescribed by the Church and in the manner in which he received at his First Holy Communion.”

Gutierrez and Rice added that “accordingly, the Diocese of Pittsburgh never endorsed the present practice of just touching the consecrated host to Matthew’s mouth or tongue. Therefore, Bishop Olmsted has never denied the Eucharist to Matthew.”

I don't want to be uncharitable towards the parents, but if all this is in fact true, then there's certainly something going on here. Maybe the boy's condition has changed or something? I don't know. But regardless, we should all remember Matthew, his parents and Bishop Olmsted in our prayers.

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