New Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities

Just two days ago, the USCCB voted on revised Guidelines for the Celebration of the Sacraments with Persons with Disabilities at their semi-annual meeting. The Guidelines passed by an overwhelming majority  (180 in favor, 1 against, and 0 abstaining), ratifying a much needed update to a rather brief document that was last updated in 1995.

According to the USCCB’s news release, “These new Guidelines take into account medical and technological innovations of recent years, and emphasize the importance of the inclusion of all members of parishes.”

The National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD) press release explains in some detail what some of the updates include:

In addition to stating general principles to be followed for the celebration of the sacraments in this revised document, the Bishops address each specific sacrament and the issues pertinent to that sacrament for persons with various disabilities.  For example, with respect to the administration of Holy Communion, the Guidelines provide specific guidance where an individual uses a feeding tube, is gluten intolerant, or is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s or other age-related dementias.

There’s no indication as to when the Guidelines will be released, but it’s certainly one to keep an eye out for!


    1. Anything that prevents a person from performing an important life function qualifies as a disability, and receiving the Eucharist is a most important life function for a practicing Catholic. Therefore, in the absence of a liturgically approved low-gluten host, gluten intolerance is a disability for a devout Catholic.

  1. In our diocese, persons with disabilities are denied the Precious Blood, if the extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist need to come to them. And, oh yes, they are often seated in the back (where they can see nothing). I think this is a serious and very, very sad act of discrimination against those who bear visible marks uniting them to the suffering Christ. The doctrine of concomitance is used to justify this practice, but I think it is an abuse of that doctrine.

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