CNA Staff, Dec 11, 2020 / 15:19 pm
The secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship wrote to a petitioner last month rejecting their appeal against the Bishop of Knoxville’s decision to ban temporarily reception of Communion on the tongue because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The congregation “received and attentively studied [the] petition making recourse against the decision of Bishop Richard F. Stika to suspend reception of Holy Communion on the tongue at public Masses throughout the Diocese of Knoxville for the duration of the public health emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” Archbishop Arthur Roche wrote Nov. 13 to the petitioner, whose name has been redacted from the publicly available copy of the letter.
Archbishop Roche, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, cited a letter sent in August by the congregation’s prefect, Robert Cardinal Sarah, in which the cardinal wrote: “in times of difficulty (e.g. wars, pandemics), Bishops and Episcopal Conferences can give provisional norms which must be obeyed … These measures given by the Bishops and Episcopal Conferences expire when the situation returns to normal.”
Roche interpreted this letter as saying the provisional norms can be “even clearly, as in this case, to suspend for whatever time might be required, reception of Holy Communion on the tongue at the public celebration of the Holy Mass.”