3 November 2006

Purification of Sacred Vessels

Taken from Vivat Jesus

CDW On Purification Of Vessels

The following is the text of the letter sent by Francis Cardinal Arinze to Bishop William Skylstad, president of the USCCB, concerning the liturgical change in America such that extraordinary ministers will no longer be permitted to purify the vessels used at Mass.

Prot. n. 468/05/L
Rome, 12 October 2006

Your Excellency,
I refer to your letters of 9 March 2005 and 7 March 2006, in which, in the name of the Conference of Bishops of which you are President, you requested a renewal of the indult for extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion to purify the sacred vessels after Mass, where there are not enough priests or deacons to purify a large number of chalices that might be used at Mass.

I have put the whole matter before the Holy Father in an audience which he granted me on 9 June 2006, and received instructions to reply as follows:

1. There is no doubt that "the sign of Communion is more complete when given under both kinds, since in that form the sign of the Eucharistic meal appears more clearly" (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 240; Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 390).

2. Sometimes, however, the high number of communicants may render it inadvisable for everyone to drink from the chalice (cf. Redemptionis Sacramentum, no. 102). intinction with reception on the tongue always and everywhere remains a legitimate option, by virtue of the general liturgical law of the Roman Rite.

3. Catechesis of the people is important regarding the teaching of the Council of Trent that Christ is fully present under each of the species. Communion under the species of the bread alone, as a consequence, makes it possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace (cf. Denzinger-SchĂ´nmetzer, no. 1729; General Instruction of the Roman Missal, nos. 11, 282). "For pastoral reasons", therefore, "this manner of receiving Communion has been legitimately established as the most common form in the Latin rite" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 390).

4. Paragraph 279 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal directs that the sacred vessels are to be purified by the priest, the deacon or an instituted acolyte. The status of this text as legislation has recently been clarified by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. It does not seem feasible, therefore, for the Congregation to grant the requested indult from this directive in the general law of the Latin Church.

5. This letter is therefore a request to the members of the Bishops' Conference of the United Status of America to prepare the necessary explanations and catechetical materials for your clergy and people so that henceforth the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 279, as found in the editio typicatia of the Roman Missal, will be observed throughout its territories.

With the expression of my esteem and fraternal greetings, I remain, Your Excellency,
Devotedly yours in Christ,

+Francis Cardinal Arinze

Monsignor Mario Marini

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