allowed to all
IN an article in the Vatican City newspaper Osservatore Romano, underthe heading " An Historic Document," Cardinal Ottaviana. Pro-Secretary of the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office underlines the fact that the new fasting regulations for Holy Communion in the morning or at evening Masses apply to all Catholics everywhere, The Cardinal also insists on the point that the Holy Father's exhortation to priests and the faithful to observe the old form of Eucharistic fasting does not involve an obligation but leaves everyone free to take advantage of the new rule.
Cardinal Ottaviani writes:
" It is enough to abstain for three hours from solid food and alcoholic drinks and for one hour from non-alcoholic drinks.
" There is no longer any question, neither in the morning. nor in the evening, nor of distance to travel to get to the church, nor of heavy work: there is no longer any obligation to consult a confessor to see if one is in the proper condition to make use of the perm ission.
" We are no longer concerned with a concession applying to this or that class of persons, but of a law applying to all the faithful in every place.
" The exhortations which are made at the end of the Motu Proprio, precisely be-Cause they are simply exhortations. leave all free to adhere to the law or, out of devotion or a spirit of mortification, to observe the full fast as they used to do. It will be a question of wishing to acquire greater merit but no longer one of carrying out an obligation."
Cardinal Ottaviani says that the formula with which it is confirmed that water does not break the Eucharistic fast (at first ' natural water' was specified) leaves it to be understood that every water is meant, in the common meaning of the word, even waters into which gas has been put to make them effervesce, or natural water which has been disinfected or immunised with chemical substances.
The Cardinal continues: "It is also interesting to note how the paternal goodness of the Holy Father has yet again had special care to help sick people: indeed, when true and genuine medicines are concerned, it is no longer necessary to see from what they are made, so that even if
they contain alcoholic elements, so long as they remain in the category of those which in the common sense of the word are qualified as real and genuine medicines, these can be taken by the sick without any limitation of time.
For the rest, the new Papal Act, while it will benefit people of all kinds, will more directly help those classes of the faithful who are for the most part close to the sacrifices of poverty, of hard work and the difficulties of life."
" For these the afternoon Mass will be especially useful as will the possibility of taking solid food three hours before Communion.
" It is, in fact, those who have least who find themselves most tied by certain pressures of time, and without the concessions now liberally given they would be impeded from approaching Holy Communion or assisting at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
/ HAVE PITY' The Pope, like Jesus when He distributed the multiplied loaves as a symbol of the Eucharist, feels that fatherly concern which makes him say to the Divine Master: Misereor super turbam ' have pity on the multitude ')."