Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Re: Regurgitating Christ

It's been a few days with this story floating around and Dr. Peters has weighed in with a look at what canon law allowes and does not allow. There is a lot of effort made to ensure that special needs persons have the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the reception, but that does not mean as the doctor points out that it is at all costs.

But a clear canonical preference for sacramental access, augmented by the accommodations that special needs persons deserve, does not amount to a "reception under any circumstances" rule. There are other important values that need to be considered here, and some of these necessarily guard against the profanation (intended or not) of the Eucharist. Both the parents and pastoral ministers in this case have, it seems, sincerely tried to find a way to let this boy receive the Eucharist and avoid profaning the Host. Still, the bishop, among whose duties is to monitor the celebration of the Eucharist in his territory (See, e.g., 1983 CIC 389, 392, and 838), has determined that those efforts were not successful. That is a reasonable conclusion within the scope of the bishop's authority. The situation is no one's fault, but it does mean that parents and parochial ministers will have to think of something else.

As a layman, that makes absolute sense. I would also like to see Dr. Peters comment on the issue of if swallowing is needed for the 'take and eat/drink' definition of Communion, though I think think that while it is pretty 'technical', it's pretty clear-cut. You're not consuming Christ, therefore you're not receiving Him...

In associated news, Critics speak out against Phoenix Bishop in Controversial Eucharistic practice.

Phoenix, Mar. 07, 2006 (CNA) - Bishop Olmstead of Phoenix has put into question a controversial practice to administer Communion to an autistic child, a decision which has sparked critics against the Church from people unfamiliar to Catholic teaching.

The publisher of 'The Church Report' Magazine and CEO of Christy Media Questions the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix for its decision on this practice. Jason T. Christy, an evangelical, unfamiliar with the questions and practices within the Catholic Church about Communion said that “Once again, the Catholic church has demonstrated its inability to relate to its parishioners and error on the side of good.”

Another comment came from Denise Resnik, board chairwoman for the Southwest Autism Research Center and the mother of a boy who is dealing with autism. "We often seek comfort in our religion, and it would be nice to think the church would support them to the best degree possible."

I read the other day about how the Catholic Charities issue in Boston is a 'teaching moment for Cardinal-to-be O'Malley. Bishop Olmstead has an excellent opportunity here to come out and explain not only to the diocese, but those who live in the area who aren't Catholic just what we believe when it comes to Communion.

Transubstantiation is not a well-understood concept in the best of times and this particular example is a good way of illustrating why we do what we do when it comes to receiving Christ.

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