Question: Father, is it wrong to prefer to receive communion from the diocesan Bishop rather than an ordinary priest?
Someone asked me this recently. Obviously we do not receive more of the Body of Christ by receiving from a bishop, we receive Jesus Christ, whole and entire: body, soul, humanity and divinity whenever we receive Holy Communion.
The First Communion of a child or the Communion of a repentant sinner after many years away from the sacraments is likely to be more significant than a persons 396th Communion, the Church has always understood this. Likewise Easter Communion is supposed to be preceded by Lenten penance and the reception of the Sacrament of Penance, Easte Communion is supposed to be the Communion of whole Church. The reception of Holy Communion however is about even more than receiving Christ.
The reception of Communion from the Pope signifies a very real Communion with the Universal Church. The Pope giving Communion to the disident SSPX bishops would imply Communion in a more significant sense with the Mystical Body, something above and beyond what these bishops would receive in their own daily Mass.
The old practice of kissing the bishop's ring before, and the case of a cleric offering the Sign of Peace after, receiving Holy Communion from his hands ritually expresses the acceptance of his authority and one's submission to the Church. Are we here talking merely about sacramental fruitfullness or are we dealing with Sacramental Grace?
So the next question: is there a difference in reception of Holy Communion from a priest and an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion? Is there something lacking in Communion distributed by someone who is not ordained?Is it a matter of the reception of Holy Communion being also about being in Communion with the minister who distributes it, does an Extrardinary Minister of Holy Communion
undermine this expression of Communion?