Phoenix Diocese Will Adopt Updated Communion Norms

The chalice will soon be offered during Mass in specific instances.

St. Mary's Basilica in Phoenix.
St. Mary's Basilica in Phoenix. (photo: Wikipedia)

PHOENIX (EWTN News)—The Diocese of Phoenix announced its plans to adopt the updated norms for Communion, which will allow the chalice to be offered during Mass in only three instances or at the discretion of a parish priest.

“The new norms will promote unity in the celebration of the Eucharist all around the world,” the diocese said in a Sept. 21 statement.

In June of this year, the third edition of the General Instruction on the Roman Missal was released, which reduced the number of times — 14 down to 3 — when the chalice could be offered during Mass within the U.S. Church.

The updated ritual states that the chalice can be offered to the faithful during Holy Week’s chrism Mass, the feast of Corpus Christi, and for Catholic couples at their wedding Mass. The cup will also be available to first Communicants and their family members, confirmation candidates and their sponsors, as well as deacons, non-concelebrating priests, servers and seminarians at any Mass.

“In addition, a priest may select other important solemnities in which it may be offered,” the diocese clarified, such as “parish patronal feast days or the celebration of the dedication of the church building, provided the conditions are met.”

The Phoenix Diocese said that the new norms are a positive advancement, since they serve to protect the Blood of Christ from “profanation,” such as careless treatment and spills, and allow greater emphasis to be put on special feast days and other important moments in the lives of the faithful.

The norms will also help maintain “normal circumstances” during Mass, as only priests and deacons are ordinarily allowed to distribute the Eucharist. As the diocese pointed out, “When both forms of Communion are used frequently, ‘extraordinary’ ministers of holy Communion are disproportionately multiplied.”

The statement explained that the Church in the U.S., the United Kingdom and Oceania have had special permission to experiment with Communion under both forms for the last 25 years.

Despite the practice of both forms becoming common in certain parts of the country, “the vast majority of the parishes throughout the world have not had Communion under both forms.”

Although American Catholics — “a very small segment of the Catholic population” — might see the new norms as a restriction, from “the broadest, most inclusive perspective, the new norms are a great expansion of the practice,” the diocese said. “The norms invite us as U.S. Catholics to a more global and inclusive perspective, especially with those poor countries which cannot afford large amounts of wine for frequent usage.”

The diocese announced that local bishops have held meetings and that a time frame for adopting the norms will take place in the next few months.