Writing to CDW?

A few weeks ago, I started a thread asking for (among other things) Church documentation directly stating that COTT is the Church’s universal norm. Although a lively discussion has ensued, the original question seems to have been answered with a resounding “there isn’t an official document that says so directly, although CDW might, at some point, issue one in the future.”

I’m wondering whether it would be appropriate for me to write to the CDW and just ask them?

If the answer is yes, can anyone offer any pointers or examples in terms of style and approach? (Beyond, that is, what is suggested here.) For example, to whom would such a request be directed—Card. Llovera, the prefect, Archbp. Di Noia, the secretary, or someone else?

Yes, it would be appropriate to write and ask. (and that is easy to document :wink: )

If you don’t get a reply on this thread, PM benedictgirl.

Another way is to ask the Bishop’s office of yoru diocese. He should have Commissions that would handle this (perhaps a Liturgical Comission).

I would certainly say that concerns and grievances should be taken up at the parish and diocesan level before bothering Rome, but I think this query is in a different category, because it doesn’t implicate the hierarchical constitution of the Church. Since it’s a question of universal law, I tend to think that the CDW has primary jurisdiction. Moreover, I’m concerned that any response from a single bishop—not even from a bishop, but more likely their curia! Cf. Gaillardetz, Teaching with Authority 171 (1997)—would inevitably be challenged by whichever side it cut against.

Redemptionis Sacramentum has already stated: “[92.] Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue…”

The CDW reiterated this during the H1N1 scare, you can see their letter on the matter here.

I’m wondering whether it would be appropriate for me to write to the CDW and just ask them?

The CDW has already been as clear as possible on the matter. What else would you be looking for?

NewEnglandPries, with respect, that is off-topic here and non-responsive to the substance of the referenced thread. If you’d like to talk about the underlying issue, please click through to the thread linked in the OP, skim it, and chip in. If you’d like to talk about the mechanics of contacting CDW (or any dicastery, for that matter), this is the thread to do it.


I wonder if this answers the question?

No. Again, we’re off-topic, but while this document’s routinely-cited, it doesn’t clearly and directly state that the Church’s universal norm is COTT; neither does Memoriale Domini, on which it rests.

It’s not that I’m not convinced; the inference is straightforward, in my judgment. But reasonable people continue to challenge the point, and I want something that I can cite which clearly, directly, and unambiguously states what we already know (because it is implicit or presupposed in documents like the above): “the universal norm of the Catholic Church is Communion on the Tongue, whence dispensation is given in many countries,” or a formulation no less clear. That document doesn’t exist, so writing to CDW would be an attempt to elicit one.

This is the sort of issue that one might expect canon law to resolve in a single, terse statement—but it doesn’t. You’d expect a Vatican document to do so. You’d also expect that the implication is so clear that an explicit statement would be unnecessary, but it ain’t so: if you look through the linked thread, you’ll see plenty of people arguing, presumably in good faith, positions that are entirely contrary to what seems manifest to me.

Since I’m already off-topic, I may as well answer NewEnglandPriest. The issue isn’t whether COTT or CITH is permissible. Both are. We know this. The underlying question that I’m working on is which of two permissible methods I should use; that’s hashed out at greater length than is needed here in the linked thread. A relevant consideration in answering that question is the subsidiary question of whether COTT is, as it appears to be, the universal norm of the Church from which dispensations are made. And while CDW has been crystal clear that COTT may not be denied, it is emphatically not correct that “[t]he CDW has already been as clear as possible on the matter” actually at hand.

The problem is that this statement is simply false. In the Latin Church (maybe), though that isn’t the same thing.

Oops, I’m off topic.

Well, of course, if your are right, an answer from CDW that clearly and ambiguously says that will help too, although neither is as desirable as a full and comprehensive treatment of the issue in a public document.

In the absence of a clear statement from the Vatican, you will cite the documents that you think clearly (if implicitly) support your position, and I will cite the documents that I think clearly (if implicitly) support my position, and both of us will wonder why the other is being so obtuse in rejecting what is clear (if implicit) in the same old parade of tired citations. Circling one another and growling is not a productive use of anyone’s time. CDW can fix that.

Two by-the-way points. First, If you have materials supporting the insinuation that matters are different outside of the latin church, they would be very much on-topic in the other thread, since one of the questions was a request for information on practices outside of the anglophone world.

Second, I don’t mean to sound brusque in insisting that we stay on-topic. If this thread gets dragged into an argument about the substance of the debate, that is not only duplicative (there’s already a thread about it), it’s likely to get this thread—which is about an entirely distinct issue—merged into the other one.

You seemed to state that the underlying issue is where the CDW says that communion on the tongue is a the “universal norm.” Perhaps it doesn’t use those words, but its explicitly clear when it states its a “right” to receive on the tongue and receiving on the hand is a “dispensation.”

I’m not sure writing to them is going to give you a different response…

You would think so—me too!—but people continue to resist that conclusion. They say, for example, that GIRM constitutes legislation that supersedes the 1977 indult and directly authorizes CITH; for two examples, see Diggerdomer’s comments in the post linked in the OP or FrDavid96’s comments in this thread.

Now, I’m not endorsing their reasoning, which I think is incorrect. But they can fairly argue that it is an interpretation of the documents to say that COTT is the universal norm whence CITH is dispensed, rather than being the explicit holding of the documents. Personally, I think that argument is like arguing the statement “x=(5-1)=(2+2)” doesn’t actually say that x=4, but it keeps being made.

The best resolution would be a full and comprehensive treatment of the issue in a public CDW document. A distant second, but sufficient nevertheless, would be a CDW letter saying that COTT remains the universal norm of the Church, in haec verba. That would demolish the sort of objections that I’ve mentioned. (Assuming, pace Mark, that it’s true.)

(I just want to add, as a postscript, a reiteration that my purpose here is solely directed to determining my own practice. I have no agenda to attack the prevailing Westphalian settlement on CITH.)

You misunderstand my post. I was not saying that Communion on the tongue is anything other than the universal norm. What I said is that the particluar quote from the Indult of 1977 no longer applies because the liturgical law itself (the GIRM with its US adaptations approved by Rome) now permits Comm. in the hand. I was making the point that the Indult required the bishop’s permission for CITHand, but the GIRM has removed that requirement that the bishop must expressly give his permission.

Even in the GIRM, and even though the bishop no longer needs to authorize CITHand, the tongue is still the universal norm while the hand is the legitimate exception to the norm (circumstances permitting).

The difference I was pointing-out is the fact that the other-than-ordinary way (on the hand) was previously restricted to only those places where the bishop himself permits it. Under the current GIRM, it is no longer necessary to seek the bishop’s permission before doing this other-than-ordinary method, because the GIRM itself allows it. Please understand, that when I say that the GIRM allows it, I also mean that it is allowed as a variation from the universal norm of Comm on the Tongue.

I’m sorry if I did not come across more clearly in that earlier thread.

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