Plans are underway in the Diocese of Phoenix to implement new local norms for the distribution of Holy Communion that will bring the local Church in line with universal Church guidelines.
As a result, the Precious Blood will not be offered at every Sunday Mass, but instead be reserved for special occasions, left to the determination of each parish pastor.
The change will bring local Catholic celebration of the Eucharist into union with the practice of the faithful around the world. Receiving Communion under both kinds is uncommon in most countries.
"What many people don't realize is that we've had experimental privileges," said Fr. Kieran Kleczewski, executive director of the Office of Worship. "We're now under the same norms as the Church in the rest of the world."
While I know many people who will be disgusted to read this, and tell me that Phoenix is backwards, and is not living in the reality of the day... I have to say that I am excited to read this news.
I grew up knowing only the modern Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, and did not know anything else until I joined the Seminary (one of my favorite liturgical hymns at that time was City of God). The Extraordinary Form of the Mass, as well as the Ordinary Form celebrated in Latin (or simply by-the-book in English), appealed very much to me (and to many of my peers) not only because it was different than the standard Mass, but because it was more focused and a more direct form of worship.
Things like everyone greeting each other before Mass begins, singing the same 70's liturgical tunes day in and day out (catchy, yes, but God-focused?), and watching priests let the laity perform almost all their jobs (what else is a priest to do, if not celebrate and offer the Sacraments?) are detrimental to my ability to worship the Lord through the Sacraments... and I'll be happy to see the day when liturgy is again universal and, well, Catholic, in every parish I visit.
That we in the United States do strange things like receive the Lord in the hand, have armies of Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist at almost every Mass, and consider youth worship to essentially involve drums and multi-thousand dollar sound systems is a sign that we have lost touch with the universal Church. None of these things are essential to the liturgy, and in fact, if one were to explore the world outside the U.S. and pockets of Europe and other first-world countries, one would discover that, no, these practices are neither universal nor practical (nor, in most cases, fitting).
Liturgy is about worship—of God—and it was made for the sole purpose of man uniting himself to God. Catholic liturgy is facilitated by a priest—a minister ordained to primarily bring God to man. Why do we feel the need to change things? We must stop holding on to so many 'innovations' of the Catholic Church in the U.S. since (and before) Vatican II, and refocus on the fundamentals.
It's my great hope that this Advent's coming revised translation of the Roman Missal will bring about a deeper look in the Catholic Church in the U.S. into what makes liturgy truly effective and meaningful.