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Thursday, 3 December 2009

A Day Late and a Dollar Extra?

I was a bit confused by this story
Weekday Word and Communion services in the Diocese of Little Rock were discontinued Nov. 29 to order to comply with a Vatican document.

It has been a common practice in some places for a deacon or trained layperson to lead the Liturgy of the Word and distribute Communion if a priest was not available. On weekdays, the services were often held on the pastor's day off.

Father Shaun Wesley, director of the Office of Divine Worship, said the services can still be held on Sundays or holy days of obligation because receiving the Eucharist on these days are "of utmost importance."

There relevant portion of "Redemptionis Sacramentum" would be this, I believe:

[166.]Likewise, especially if Holy Communion is distributed during [Celebrations carried out in the Absence of a Priest], the diocesan Bishop, to whose exclusive competence this matter pertains, must not easily grant permission for such celebrations to be held on weekdays, especially in places where it was possible or would be possible to have the celebration of Mass on the preceding or the following Sunday. Priests are therefore earnestly requested to celebrate Mass daily for the people in one of the churches entrusted to their care.

Is the chancery in Arkansas just getting around to reading Redemptionis Sacramentum now, five and a half years later?
And I don't know the circumstances in the diocese of Little Rock, perhaps the practice has been abused, but "not easily granted permission" is not the same as a ban.
On the other hand, the attitudes of some lay people quoted or referenced seem to imply a misunderstanding of sacramental theology, and of course, the "They are defying the Spirit of Vatican Two!" cry is raised.
Liturgy of the Hours is rightly suggested as the most appropriate liturgy for a community when a priest is not available for weekday Mass.

Reading the actual diocesan guidelines, we see that "Weekday Word and Communion services in the place of Mass are not permitted within the diocese without the explicit permission of the Bishop or Vicar General."

Soyes, discontinued, but is that actually because the explicit permission has not been granted? or simply not specifically requested? or not requested yet?

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