The bishops of England and Wales have announced that the distribution of Holy Communion from the chalice during Mass will resume on Holy Thursday.
This decision comes after a three-year pause in the use of the chalice to distribute Communion due to COVID-19 transmission concerns.
Auxiliary Bishop John Sherrington of the Archdiocese of Westminster has informed priests that the resumption of Communion via the chalice on Holy Thursday will give pastors a chance to educate the faithful on the importance of Communion in both forms.
“Important teaching, such as the totality of the body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Lord is received in either or both species, the personal disposition of those receiving holy Communion, and the reverence offered to the Blessed Sacrament should be included.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has not taken a position on the matter, and it is left up to individual bishops and dioceses to decide.
Father Andrew Menke, executive director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Divine Worship, explained to CNA that many dioceses have begun to allow pastors to decide. While several dioceses in the US have lifted COVID-era restrictions on the Communion chalice and resumed its use, the decision still ultimately rests with individual pastors and parishes.
“One of the downsides of the USCCB is that we’re just so big and it’s such a large geographic territory with such different circumstances. In the U.S. that is just not a feasible way for our bishops to operate.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that receiving Communion under the species of bread alone is sufficient, but receiving it in both forms is considered more complete.
“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” – CCC 1390
The third edition of the Roman Missal states that Holy Communion has a fuller form as a sign when it takes place under both kinds, and the faithful should be encouraged to participate more readily in this sacred rite.
“Holy Communion has a fuller form as a sign when it takes place under both kinds. For in this form the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is more clearly evident and clearer expression is given to the divine will by which the new and eternal Covenant is ratified in the Blood of the Lord, as also the connection between the Eucharistic banquet and the eschatological banquet in the Kingdom of the Father.”