US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Power to the people! Outcry restores the cup to the baptized in Phoenix

Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

I'm not sure I care what the official reasoning for Bishop Thomas Olmsted's change of heart about communion from the cup--his own misunderstanding of the law, miscommunication by the diocese (blame the PR guy!), or "upsetting" articles in the religious and secular media--but congratulations to the faithful in Phoenix for mobliizing and getting a wrong-headed decision overturned.

In response to my December column on the Phoenix (and Madison, Wisconsin) situation, U.S. Catholic got a terrific letter informing us that parishioners flooded the chancery with letters and calls, and got their priests on board, too--always a good idea, since pastors take most of the heat when the bishop screws up and upsets people. USC's correspondent said many writers received "patronizing responses indicating that the diocese will make an effort to do more education around the topic so we will come to understand the policy." (Oh, those ignorant faithful...) But that didn't deter them: Parishioners were in the right on this one--both on the point of law and on liturgical principle--and they were right to insist on access to the full eucharistic symbol.

"The church is not a democracy," the old saw goes, but that doesn't mean it isn't "democratic." The people of God can and should have a deliberative voice in many matters concerning the way the church organizes itself and celebrates its liturgy. Indeed, they should insist upon it.