The bishop of Santa Rosa, CA, has ordered an immediate end to religious services in which the Holy Eucharist is distributed to the faithful without a priest present, declaring that this practice “is not consistent with the Instructions from the Holy See.”
“It has become common in a number of Parishes and Institutions in the Diocese of Santa Rosa for Deacons and Laity to hold Communion Services in the Absence of a Priest on both Sundays and weekdays,” wrote Bishop Vasa in a statement published on the website of his diocese on July 25.
“While popular,” wrote the prelate, this practice “is not consistent with the Instructions from the Holy See".
Bishop Vasa ordered these communion services without a priest on Sundays and weekdays to cease completely everywhere in his diocese, effective August 1, 2018.
The bishop of Santa Rosa’s decision is praiseworthy; but will it be enough to put an end to a practice whose principle is unfortunately permitted by the Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1983, that says the faithful can distribute communion “when the need of the Church warrants it and ministers are lacking”? (Canon 230,3)
This liberal legislation of 1983 corresponds with what was practiced just after the Council, as the Dominican Fr. Calmel described in his letter of September 15, 1972:
No more tonsure, no more sub-diaconate; they begin with the diaconate; and the Eucharistic ministry (Communion for the sick, distributing Communion) can be entrusted to laymen; and the (‘collegialized’) national conferences could spread this practice even more. The Modernist system of devaluating and ruining the priesthood is at work thanks to Paul VI.