Bishop Robert Morlino Concerned With Spillage And Swilling

Damn that Second Vatican Council in 1963!

Madison Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino has asked priests in the diocese to move toward using only bread during regular communion services, reserving the use of both bread and wine for more solemn or special occasions.

The use of consecrated wine at regular Masses often requires non-ordained parishioners to assist priests in helping with distribution. Some believe this increases the likelihood of unintentional mishandling of Christ’s blood through careless treatment, spillage or swilling.

In its early days, the Catholic Church distributed both bread and wine to the faithful, a tradition that continued for more than a millennium, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. In 1415, the church decreed only bread would be distributed, with the use of wine reserved largely for clergy.

The Second Vatican Council in 1963 restored the use of both bread and wine at a bishop’s discretion. Morlino contends the council never intended it to become a regular practice.

Bartylla said communion under both forms is meant to be“exceptional rather than normative.”

Holmes, in his note to parishioners, said the widespread American practice of offering both forms began here under temporary special permission from the Vatican in 1975 and expired in 2005. U.S. bishops were denied an extension, he said.

That rationale for dropping wine was hotly debated Monday by Catholic scholars.

Anthony Ruff, a Benedictine monk and associate professor of theology at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., said the failure to get an explicit extension just means the universal rules of the church kick in.

“Nothing in the universal rules of the church requires the bishop to restrict both forms,” he said. “This decision is absolutely unnecessary. The bishop has full authority to allow communion under both forms at all Masses if he wishes.”

Ruff called the move “demoralizing to dedicated priests and lay ministers in the diocese.”

But Dennis Martin, a theology professor at Loyola University in Chicago, said any U.S. diocese routinely distributing both forms“is in violation of church rules.”

“A renewal was requested and not given,” Martin said. “I’m sorry, that sounds to me like a pretty deliberate and intentional statement of bread-only.”

He praised Morlino’s move as “quite reasonable and quite practical.”

Officials with the Madison diocese said examples of when both wine and bread might be used include marriage ceremonies, ordinations and occasions that are solemn in nature for the diocese or individual parishes.

Last month, the Phoenix Catholic Diocese announced it would stop offering wine at most Masses, becoming the first diocese in the country to make such a change and kicking up a controversy. No date for implementing the policy has been announced.

5 thoughts on “Bishop Robert Morlino Concerned With Spillage And Swilling

  1. Jim Ski

    I still find it hard to believe that this organization could exist for 2000 years. If I was watching any protestant churches behaving like this I could never consider becoming one of their members. What did Wisconsin Catholics do to be burdened with this bunch of bishops?

  2. Kurt

    Funny, sharing the chalice is something to be done for solemnity and only on special days. But conservatives keep saying the want every Sunday Mass to be more solemn.

  3. Solly

    no surprise that Morlino would be following his fellow troglodyte in Phoenix. Can’t have the lay people feeling like they have a part in the mass or are worthy. Phoenix Diocese found $50,000 to send to Maine to overturn the same sex marriage law. Glad they had a few bucks left over after paying off the sex abuse lawsuits for sheltering and concealing the abusers. Maybe their tax free status should be re-evaluated if they want to directly engage in political campaigns, just like Morlino having lawn signs for the Wis. consitutional marriage amendment in the back of the churches for distribution the weekends before the election in 2006. Oh and get this, a Parish in Green Bay is doing some remodelling, and now “new church rules” say they have to replace the hanging sculpture of the risen Christ in front of the cross with one being crucified. Nice use of pew rent, instead of using it for the poor or the least of us. For me, I’ll take John XXIII over John Paul II or Benny for inspiration any day (and I’m a recovering Polish/German-American catholic).

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