I am writing in response to the Diocese of San Diego Pastoral Center Communication, dated April 15, 2021, which is attached below. As you may know, our law firm was successful in getting the United States Supreme Court to reopen the churches in California for indoor worship services. Among the evidence that we provided to the Court was the study cited in Real Clear Science involving over 1 million Masses at approximately 7,000 Catholic parishes .This study indicates that indoor church attendance is safe when reasonable precautions are taken.It is also worth noting that the rates of Covid-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths have been in a steady and steep decline in San Diego County. The crisis has passed and, as a result, the County and State are relaxing their Covid-19 restrictions. As a faithful Catholic, and along with many other devout Catholics in the Diocese of San Diego, I welcomed the day when we could return to Mass in our churches. Moreover, like many of the devout Catholics in your Diocese, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to reverently receive the Holy Eucharist at Mass. For many of us, this means the receipt of the Holy Eucharist on the tongue, rather than in the hand. Moreover, this reverent practice is our right under Canon Law.As the article at the link provides, there is no exception in Canon Law to the right of the faithful to receive Holy Communion on the tongue during a pandemic. And, as this article further illustrates, past Church practice and precedent indicates otherwise. Nor is there any scientific or medical evidence that receiving Holy Communion in the hand is safer than on the tongue. For that reason, there is no government restriction on receiving Holy Communion on the tongue.Furthermore, contact between the priest’s hand and the congregant’s tongue can be avoided by using a large Host which is divided in thirds. If there were any remaining concern, then the priest could even sanitize his fingers after the administration of the Holy Eucharist to each congregant, or after any inadvertent contact with a congregant’s tongue. I have experienced both methods of receiving a large Host, and having had the Host disinfected between congregants. Either method, separate or combined, would be preferable to depriving the faithful of their right to the reverent receipt of Holy Communion on the tongue.Finally, the Catholic “Working Group on Infectious Disease Protocols for Sacraments and Pastoral Care” has concluded that Communion on the tongue can be safely administered when such safeguards are taken: . In light of the foregoing, it would be greatly appreciated if you would please reconsider your decision to deny Holy Communion on the tongue to the faithful in the Diocese of San Diego.Thank you, Your Excellency, for your kind attention to this urgently important matter.Sincerely,Charles S. LiMandriThe above was sent on April 17.
The following update on Policies Governing Liturgical Life in the Diocese of San Diego was sent By Bishop McElroy’s secretary on April 15.
In accord with extensive consultations with the deans, as well as recent Supreme Court Cases and actions by the governor, Bishop McElroy has issued the following policy changes:
- The only capacity restriction for indoor worship will be that six feet of social distance must be maintained for all. There is no percentage restriction or aggregate numerical limit. Family members may sit together.
- Choirs and multiple instrumentalists may return as long as they maintain twelve feet of social spacing from one another and from the congregation. Congregational singing is not encouraged indoors, and thus hymnals should not be in the pews nor the lyrics of songs highlighted on the wall.
- Communion may be after the priest’s communion or at the end of Mass. This is a choice of the local parish.
- Offertory collections may return, as well as presentation processions for the gifts. This is at the discretion of the local parish.
- The sign of peace must remain without contact.
- Reception of the Eucharist on the tongue and distribution of the Precious Blood remain prohibited.
- Parishes which have suspended altar servers may return this ministry, as long as servers maintain six feet of separation from each other and from all other persons.
- Masking for everyone remains mandatory, as well as hand-sanitizing for all those involved in ministries.
- Cry rooms shall remain closed.
In addition, it is important to begin to expand once again the Eucharistic outreach to the sick, which is such a vital ministry. This should be carried out by priests/deacons/ Eucharistic ministers who have been fully vaccinated. Those visited should also be vaccinated. Family members, of course can act as Eucharistic ministers to their loved ones.
Priests are encouraged to anoint those who are seriously ill, governed by pastoral prudence.
So many priests have heroically carried out the ministry of Reconciliation during the height of the pandemic and are encouraged to expand the availability of this sacrament when possible.
In the Fall, the parishes of the diocese will be asked to carry out a coordinated multi-week catechesis on the Eucharist. It is envisioned that the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass will end on the first Sunday of Advent.
What times we live in when a lawyer is more competent in ecclesiastical matters than a bishop.
Not sure this is irony. It’s hard to tell given your comment below about giving Jesus covid, The coronavirus has been around for many years and the death rate for most age groups is very tiny. True, it’s no fun to get it, but more people are dying from suicide and opiod abuse than covid. Most of the deaths were from medical malpractice, sending people home, telling them to take Tylenol and then coming back when they got worse and killing them on ventilators..The sad part is real doctors, not the experts who stand to gain financially, have successfully treated covid with safe meds that have been used for years. Fauci, in the Aug.22, 2005 issue of the Virology Journal, wrote that the coronavirus could be cured with chloroquine from which hydroxchloroquine is derived. Big Pharma, in collusion with some really nasty people have “mysteriously” suppressed off-schedule meds while certain political entities have tried to destroy our economy, infringe on our constitutional rights and outlaw our faith. Pray for the purification of our Church.
Bishop Alberto Rojas of the Diocese of San Bernardino has specifically allowed for receiving Holy Communion on the tongue.
Also, why is Bishop McElroy not planning to end the dispensation not to attend Mass until more than six months from now at the start of Advent?
Lazy clergy are viewing the lockdowns as an extended vacation. Many of them don’t want the bother of ministerial work, so as long as they can put off reopening, they will. Just like the teachers putting off reopening schools.
Weak bishops with a propensity for coddling homosexuals are failures at leadership. The San Diego prelate is one such example.
This is where I come to the fork in the road: To me, receiving the Holy Eucharist from the hand of the priest or EM to my hand, is as spiritually worthy as receiving the Eucharist on the tongue. I just can’t get all in knots about it. Also, I wouldn’t lose a bit of sleep if the Sign of Peace, i.e., the glad-handing that temporarily interrupts the Mass, is assigned to the Novus Ordo vaults.
Mr. LiMandri’s letter is an excellent example of canon 212 in action. And if only one line should be repeated to every bishop, it might be this one: “there is no exception in Canon Law to the right of the faithful to receive Holy Communion on the tongue during a pandemic.”
Hear, hear! Bravo to this good Catholic man (and obviously competent attorney)!
What the good Mr. LiMandri may be missing, however, is that COVID *does* bear a higher (though relatively still insignificant) risk to those with suppressed immune systems.
You know, like active homosexuals.
Referencing a Real Clear Science article to Bishop McElroy is like asking Richard Dawkins to provide a proof for the existence of God. Real Clear Science is not a reputable peer-reviewed science journal and the study referred to is fraught with methodical issues in terms of the scientific process. Mr. LiMandri is merely engaging in a not-so-veiled attempt to chastise and harass the good Bishop over a very minor issue.
Poor Katholic Science Guy. He thinks he’s competent to criticize, as much in matters Catholic as in matters scientific, yet he calls McElroy a “good bishop” and the above issue “minor.” How competent can he be?
Matthew 12:48-50 “”…Who is my mother and who are my brethren?” And stretching forth his hand towards his disciples, he said, “Behold my mother and my brethren! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven, he is my brother and sister and mother.”” No need to social distance if we are doing the will of the Father in Heaven! The only place where social distance should be practiced is at the reception of Holy Eucharist. 1 Corinthians 11:29. CAUTION!
Would you give Jesus Covid? Just wondering, because it would be tragic if he died of a respiratory virus instead of crucifixion.
If you read 1 Corinthians 11:29, you would know that I was referring to refraining the holy eucharist if in the state of mortal sin. One should always examine one’s conscience before receiving the Eucharist; hence social distance from putting oneself in the hands of Satan.
Three cheers to LiMandri. For what good it will do I do not know. To my mind, McElroy is a CINO.
Holy Communion is distributed on the tongue
at the following parishes: St. Anne’s, St. Margaret’s, and St. Mary’s (Escondido).
Watch out for Covid at those places.
Anonymous: “Watch out for Covid at those places.”
You mean the COVID with a survival rate of almost 100%?
To Patty Jo — and a few other parishes, but I don’t want to name them and get the priests into trouble with the bishop. Although, I think the bishop has “spies” out who tattle to to him…
How sad that the Catholic church is like this now.
Bishop McJabber ordered that all of priests in the diocese had to get vaccinated. Individual appointments were scheduled for then at the pastoral center.
How quick would’ve McElroy sided with Henty VIII, he is no John Fisher