The norms, published by Bishop Wilton D. Gregory last month, were approved by the members of the bishops´ conference last June and confirmed by the Holy See on March 22.
The General Instruction of the recently revised Roman Missal permits bishops´ conferences to provide norms for the distribution of Communion under both kinds, meaning under the outward signs of both bread and wine.
The new norms replace the U.S. bishops´ 1984 directory on the matters, titled "This Holy and Living Sacrifice."
The first section of the new norms provides a theological summary of the Church´s teaching on Communion under both kinds, while the following section describes the authorized procedures by which such distribution can be accomplished at Mass.
Specific directives are given regarding liturgical roles, sacred vessels and the rites to be followed in distributing Communion under both kinds.
Included among the norms is an indult from the Vatican´s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments permitting the cleansing of sacred vessels by extraordinary ministers of Communion.
The indult was promulgated as "particular law" for U.S. dioceses at the same time as the norms and it became effective April 7.
The congregation declined, however, to approve an indult authorizing extraordinary ministers to assist with the distribution of the Precious Blood to other chalices during the singing of the Lamb of God.
The Vatican congregation also made clear that extraordinary ministers, or any communicant, might assist in the consumption of what remains of the Precious Blood after distribution of Communion has been completed.