View all Ask a Priest | June 12, 2020
“Ask a Priest: Why Communion for Only a Select Few?”
Q: I am dismayed during this time when the churches are closed and you cannot attend Mass. In viewing the Mass at my church online, it is noted that there has been readers and various others at the Mass who are able to receive the Eucharist. They seem to be a select group. Should the Mass only be said with just priests and deacons during this time? Others in the church have also commented on this, and feel angry and hurt that a select group are able to take Communion. Some have asked the pastor about this and he wrote in the bulletin that it was his decision who he would allow to partake in the Mass. Please give me your thoughts on this. I am certain other parishes are doing this as well, though not all. It is very depressing that in this unprecedented time the Eucharist is made available to only a select few. – T.P.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: The obligation to attend Mass is suspended because of the pandemic, obviously.
Beyond that, it is simply a prudential decision by each pastor or bishop about how many people can attend a Mass that is being televised.
This is an exceptional situation, and I’m sure the pastors are trying to make the best decision they can.
It might be a good moment to pray for all the Church. If conflicts arise over who is about to receive Communion, that is a sign of disunity — and probably a sign that the devil is around, stirring up trouble.
In other words, it might be good to give your pastor the benefit of the doubt for now. This is a time of unprecedented crisis.
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