The following comes from an August 6 Crisis Magazine article by John M. Grondelski:
Every three years as the Church is reading the Gospel of Mark, during the dog days of summer it stops for three weeks and turns instead to the Gospel of John for instruction on the Eucharist. We began this process July 26 with the account of the sign of the multiplication of the loaves, and will continue it August 2 and 9 as we make our way through Jesus’ “Bread of Life” discourse.
Earlier this year, I wrote an article in these pages about the ongoing abuse of extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, a phenomenon that become de facto established in the Church in the United States, clear norms of the Holy See notwithstanding. I have long maintained that this phenomenon feeds the vocation crisis by dissociating priesthood from Communion.
I also began to argue in that earlier piece that the ongoing abuse of extraordinary ministers engrains the functionalist and utilitarian mindset at the expense of symbolism. The functionalist/utilitarian mindset is so corrosive to modern mentality especially, e.g., in sexual ethics. In the present case, it reduces the symbolic act of the pastor who is “feeding my sheep” to a pragmatic act of “let’s get this done so as not to ‘unduly prolong’ Mass.” No wonder, then, that parenthood is also being progressively parceled up into generative, gestational, and upbringing “functions.” Priests, by neglecting the symbolic role of their spiritual paternity in feeding their people, do something analogous.
Jesus’s feeding the crowd with five loaves and two fishes is called a “miracle” in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke). John, however, has no “miracles.” The Fourth Gospel is instead constructed around “signs,” which point beyond themselves to the One signified. Thus, Jesus multiplies the loaves because “I am the Bread of Life.” He heals the blind man because “I am the Light of the World.” He raises Lazarus because “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” And he almost faces stoning from the Jews for his response, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” Of course, all of this is a clear allusion to God’s revelation of himself to Moses at the Burning Bush (Ex 3:14), the making of the old covenant.
Jesus’ acts in John are symbols. They are intended to contain what they point to while still pointing beyond themselves. They do something (e.g., feed the people) but they also point beyond themselves (e.g., to him who feeds and makes that feeding possible, as well as to foretell God’s future plan of institution of the Eucharist).
I note this efficacy aspect of Jesus’ work because I have heard, even in Catholic circles efforts to rationalize the sign. It’s not that the boy’s five barley loaves and two fishes fed the crowd. It was the love and concern that Jesus displayed which opened up the crowd’s hearts (and, apparently, their picnic baskets) to share their feed to meet the needs of all. Obviously, such a reductionist interpretation is foreign to the text and its generally received Catholic understanding. I cite it for two reasons: (1) to recover what John is trying to say and (2) to show the strong (and corruptive) strain of reductionist rationalism in some Germanic Catholic circles, especially in advance of the October Synod. Jesus’s priestly action feeds the people, not the people who are otherwise self-sufficient but only need a catalyst. The sign is that Christ feeds the people.
If the sign is that “Christ feeds the people” then so, too, should the alter Christus, the priest acting here and now in persona Christi, make Christ and His Saving act present to feed the people.
One might say that the Gospel presents Jesus blessing and breaking the bread, which the contemporary alter Christus does by offering the elements and consecrating the Eucharist. But John goes further. Jesus tells the apostles to get the crowd ready (“have them sit down”). He asks them to feed the crowd. He distributes the loaves and fishes, the gifts offered to Christ not directly by their little owner but through the mediation of Andrew the Apostle (“there is a boy here with five barley loaves…”). And, when the food is consumed, Jesus designates his Apostles as the clean-up crew, gathering the leftovers “so that nothing is wasted” into twelve hampers, a very apostolic number.
For John, the sign of the multiplication of the loaves is a profound symbol. It is not a social welfare or logistical problem, to be functionally met in merely pedestrian ways. It is not a technocratic problem, e.g., if only the Apostles had each put in 16.667 days of work to collect those 200 days wages! Jesus does not ask his Apostles (or, even less, the community-at-large) to tackle a supply chain problem efficiently. He asks them to do what he does: “feed my sheep.”
I suggest this sign has something to say to use about the banal use of extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. For one, it asks us to reflect on what we are doing: addressing a spiritual need of encounter by a functionalist mentality. (“How to buy food for such a crowd! How not ‘unduly to prolong’ the distribution of Communion!) It also reminds us that in that unitary spiritual encounter with a High Priest (and his priests), the priest has a key role that should not be substituted, diluted, or delegated, just as the Priest and his priests had a key role in the blessing and distribution on a grassy hill two thousand years ago in Israel.
Vatican II encouraged us to return to Scripture. Scripture is not just a dry exegesis of verbs as they were defined millennia ago: there has always been a tradition of searching for “spiritual sense” in the Word. Scripture perhaps has something to tell us.
Most of the parishes in my diocese have only one priest. Our churches are full to standing room only capacity during the tourist season. That means nearly 600 people are attending Mass. In addition to the one priest who is celebrating the Mass, we need 15 Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion in order to distribute the Holy Eucharist under both species..
Prior to Vatican 2, we had far more priests, and we had far less congregants receiving Holy Communion in only one form. Now, we have nearly everyone receiving the Holy Eucharist under both species, and we have far fewer priests.
Apparently, the author thinks it reasonable for Mass attendees to sit through a half hour of Holy Communion distribution by one priest in only one…
And how many of them have gone to Confession in the last year?
And how is your question in any way responsive or relevant to what Xavier posted? I suggest you stick to the subject, and refrain from judging the state of any soul other than your own.
Dear Charity. I’m sorry – “Whom am I to judge.” The revalence is that 99% of people attend Mass go to communion, yet very few confessions are heard. Confedssional times in most parishes are one-half hour to one hour per week. My previous statement was a comment, not about individual people, but on the lack of instruction regarding confession.
Rayal, that’s a good question!
The Churches may be standing room only due to closures of the outlying churches that have had to be consolidated/sold. There are fewer priests as Catholic families are now eagerly limiting the size of their families – that does’t show generosity with God. This brand of generosity is the attitude that actually aids in spurring vocations.
And 30 minutes of adoration/prayer after the reception of the Blessed Sacrament, contrary to the utilitarian views, would actually demonstrate in action the belief in just who we are receiving in Holy Communion. It would give folks the opportunity to deepen their Faith at the time when they are in most intimate union with Our Lord.
Holy Mass and the reception of Holy Communion shouldn’t be…
…treated as just one more box to check on the ole to-do list, Xavier. Taking ‘time’ is precisely what people do with those things that really matter, the things they actually do treasure.
Perhaps the young men who see the lone priest doing his duty in tending the whole flock will be moved by his example and strive to help him in future…. in the right way. Not cutting corners to promote human involvement above grace.
Very cogent observations worth meditating on.
Very valuable observations/insights worth meditating on.
Xavier, what’s wrong with 30 minutes of Communion. It means more pray time for the congregation. Prayer after receiving Christ is some of the most beneficial prayer time that I’ve experienced.
Did you read the article? The author pre-empted your complaint: “I have long maintained that this phenomenon feeds the vocation crisis by dissociating priesthood from Communion.” In other words, your Eucharistic minister production line mentality is one of the reasons there is a priest shortage in the first place, thus necessitating the ministers (in your opinion). So, the post-Vat 2 reforms have solidified the ‘need’ for the post-Vat 2 reforms! Sounds like the endless cycle of addiction. What have you people done to yourselves???
The term is EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS OF THE EUCHARISH. The ordinary ministers are bishops, priests and deacons. Use proper terms or the laity will get confused, but that is what the modern church is all about.
The women that distribute the Host in my Novus Ordo parish are designated Eucharistic Ministers. Fortunately the parish priest still distributes, because I would not take the host (always on the tongue, kneeling not being permitted in that parish) from an unordained person. The only good thing I can point out about Vatican Council 2 is that now all can take communion without need for confession. It does create a very good habit.
“Gratias” what you say illustrates an enormous problem:
1. EMHC — Women Only: An abuse of the position, as a number of parishes (?Dioceses?) clearly see this as being reserved for women.
2. Kneeling Not Permitted: Wrong. Neither a priest, nor bishop, can deny you the right to kneel when receiving communion (and certainly cannot stop you from Genuflecting). See, GIRM 160; and see Fr. Z’s blog of June 24, 2011 here: https://wdtprs.com/blog/2011/06/what-does-girm-160-for-the-usa-really-say/
Gratias, your comments are strange.
First, you cannot receive Holy Communion WITHOUT Confession if you are guilty of grave sin: the Second Vatican Council did not change this rule, which comes from Scripture.
Second, your disdain for fellow disciples who are not ordained is disturbing. If you are “worthy” to receive the Blessed Sacrament, what makes you think the other person is not “worthy” to distribute Holy Communion?
Whether you touch the Body of Christ with your hands or your tongue, you are touching the Holy of Holies, and this calls for an examination of conscience beforehand.
Good comments Charles. Gratias is like many here who spread falsehood. His insinuations are not what the church actually teaches. He is being sarcastic and mocking. This is no joking matter not to take the time to speak falsehood by falsely misrepresenting the faith. Yes correct the abuses by stating what the church actually teaches but to insinuate otherwise, i consider that scandalous and as you would call it kindly “strange”
Ms. Oxymoronically-Named “Christian”, I can only marvel at your capacity to attack Gratias as a liar (you used “false/falsehood” 3x’s vs him), reflexively determining his motivation as malicious to demonize him for his perfectly valid comments. Exhibiting a barely veiled hostility against those who don’t subscribe to your particular dogmatism is one of your indictments of traditional Catholics. Yet that same hostility is more than “scandalous” (what you allege of Gratias).
And spare me the simultaneous attacks and prayers: I and most trad-leaning Catholics don’t think Novus Ordo people are malicious—but many are abominably ill-informed, and unwilling to question, even when there is ample cause for doing so.
The facts are: there is no actual justification in the many ambiguous documents of V2 for “extraordinary ministers of communion”—just as the Council’s actual documents never abolished the Traditional Mass: and yet here we are. In the New Church, you can make up whatever you want it to be.
Those, with some amplification, are the facts Gratias asserted.
God bless you! No need to marvel. It is a definite sign of the times that even faithful Catholics and faithful clergy will be very confused. There are posters who would foolishly prefer to attack other faithful Catholics rather than speak up or expose the corruption and error that is being taught. When the Church is underground and all faithful Catholics are huddled together at Mass, there will be no name calling because by then faithful Catholics will all know why they are there. There will be no Extraordinary Eucharistic ministers preaching about salvation coming from using the same sustainable coffee cup.
There is a reason why Bishop Athanasius Schneider is asking for clarifications. Faithful Catholics should be supporting Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s request for clarifications. No more ambiguity!
Bishop Schneider to Traditionalists: “You are the Real Ecclesiastical Periphery, Which With God’s Power Renews the Church.”
It is not necessary to have an ecumenical council of the Church to institute extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. Also, the “Traditional” Mass is the Mass of the Roman Rite. They can’t and didn’t abolish it. They can change parts of it and issue a new missal, which they did. Many priests sought and received permission to keeping say the “Traditional” Mass.
What do you find ambiguous?
Steve typical response from you. Im yawning.
Yawning indicates lethargy, Abeca. The very same that has led the ‘faithful’ to have to petition the Holy Father for a clarification of his position on marriage. Put the oxygen on and wake up. Then help those around you. This is no time to fall asleep.
Thank you Steve Phoenix for your on target summations. And Catherine, one can always count on you for team building where it matters. God bless :)
No, yawning not what it means to you.
Anonymous pretends to care and then asks …”What do you find ambiguous?” = “Russia Will Spread Her Errors” – Our Lady of Fatima
For the sake of any new readers, there are those infiltrators within the Church who will gladly polish up the exterior golden appearance of the interiorly rotten apple known as ambiguity. This tactic has served them so well. Always remember…” In The End My Immaculate Heart Will Triumph” Be on guard! Do NOT be a useful idiot when it comes to aiding and abetting those who do not truly believe in the Magisterial Teachings of the Catholic Church. continued…….
Yuri Brezmenov warns that “useful idiots” are the first to be eliminated when they finally discover how they have used to destabilize institutions and governments. Our faithful priests must place themselves under the protective mantle of Our Lady. Our priests must be holy in order to discern if they are being used to undermine Christ’s Church.
Yuri Bezmenov – KGB Defector on “Useful Idiots” and the True Face of Communism
God bless you and thank you Ann Malley for your wisdom. Especially when warning others who are falling asleep. If this is no joking matter then one should NOT be joking about “yawning”. That is inconsistency. When the early Church Christians were just about to be devoured by roaring lions, the onlookers in the colosseum said, “Look how much they love God and look how much they love one another.”
St. Teresa of Avila said, “When so much evil is surrounding, it is not enough to simply sit with your hands folded.”
That is exactly what we have been warning you about Catherine. That you and others are being used. And you attack those who try to clue you in.
Thank you, Catherine, and God bless you for reiterating the wisdom of St. Teresa of Avila. Would that more souls would be invigorated to fight for Christ and not continually attempt to chasten others for their own lack and/or fear of facing the fight that is so obviously devastating the vineyard.
We all have a duty to uphold the truth, not bits and pieces, but all of it. So when Catholics put themselves forward as being knowledgeable and in good standing, they should always back it up by a consistent use of logic.
One cannot absolve themselves and truly be in good standing with Our Lord if they see but do nothing.
MR. Oxymoronically-Named “Phoenix” Hows that for size. Just hoping you would smile. You are funny. I didn’t mind what you said, thought you were funny. Back to you.
Gratias wrote: “The only good thing I can point out about Vatican Council 2 is that now all can take communion without need for confession. It does create a very good habit.: SURELY YOU JEST!
I meant to say that weekly communion is a very good habit, which was very uncommon before VC2.
Gratias, I think it is only a good habit, to try to stay very close to Our Lord Jesus, in a state of grace- and always to examine one’s conscience, and be sure to keep the Eucharistic Fast– make sure one is well-prepared, before taking the great Sacrament, of Holy Communion! It is too HOLY! Good habits BEFORE Mass, are the best! And it was much better, before Vatican II– when Catholics were well-trained in their Faith, and were CAREFUL, to correctly receive Holy Communion! If not properly prepared– make a SPIRITUAL COMMUNION, and pray to do better, NEXT TIME!!
Gratias was observing in jest what is earnest in fact: confession is irrelevant in the Vatican II Church.
Fortunately, since we have no priests, Vatican II prescribed extraordinary ministers in the “Constitution on the Liturgy,” coincidentally just for that purpose. Or was it “The Church in the Modern World.” Or was it the “Decree on the Laity?” Or in fact, was it not, “None of the above.”
This is another trap-door of Vatican II (The first legislation was in 1969, well after the council close, in Fidei Custos, “when the usual ‘minister’ (note: not “priest”) was not available.”)
Another non-Vatican II, Vatican-II-mandate! Hooray!
Ever hear of St. Tarcissius?
St. “Tarcisius”, ( properly spelled)?
Yes: he, according to a 6th C. account was an ordained acolyte (one of the 5 minor clergy orders prior to priesthood in the pre-Vatican II ordination rite-system: orders reserved only to those eventually who would be ordained to priesthood). And his martyrdom occurred during Valerian’s persecution (259 AD?), meaning that even then, during dire times, only ordained persons could transport, in a container—and an acolyte could not even touch—the Eucharist.
So, if you want to “go Neo-Primitivist”, or practice Archeologism (a tendency condemned by Pius XII in Mediator Dei), I am grateful for it proving the point that there WERE NO LAY EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS prior to or even during…
I also will only take Holy Communion from consecrated hands at Mass.
I will stand in the line for the Priest or Deacon only.
I can’t kneel because of arthritis in both knees and no kneeler, but I do make a low bow, and receive on the tongue only.
Psalm: 95:6 – “O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker”.
Phil 2:10 – ” that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth”
Rom 14:11 – ” for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
Gratias– were you asleep, when you wrote your post? Surely you know, that regular Confession is a necessity, for all Catholics! One must always run, ASAP, to Confession, if one has committed a grave Mortal Sin, and receive God’s loving help, mercy, and forgiveness! Plus, God gives the penitent the needed grace and strength, to be a better person, overcome sin, and return to a state of grace, close to God! (And, God help us– one must die in a state of grace!) If one has committed Mortal Sin, and has not gone to Confession, one cannot receive Holy Communion– as it is a sacrilege, to do so!
I once used that term and was told oh that is so much puff, extraordinary as you point out is correctd.
I ALWAYS make it a point to go to the line where the Priest is giving Our Lord to the flock! His hands are the only hands that have been consecreted!
According to Cardinal Emeritus Arinze of the Office of Worship, ALL the Priests of the parish are to be giving Our Lord to the flock, and ONLY when it is absolutely necessary do lay people help out!! I was in a parish and have seen it in other parishes also, where the EM’s get a email/hard schedule for the month of when they are to participate.
Elizabeth, you are correct. Most parishes have someone, usually a volunteer, who puts out the schedule for the next three months. How else could you ensure that there are enough Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist? When you have one Priest and 500+ people at one of the five to seven Masses each weekend, you can’t just hope someone shows up to help the Priest. The Church, has recognized the need for some practicality in the distribution of Communion. At any church I attended in the last thirty years these EME’s have always been serious and devout in their duties because they were well trained.
Bob One, did you ever get your question answered on the difference between NFP and artificial birth control?
xavier,, gently part of the solution is to discontinue the practice of communion under both species. that will give great relief to the ‘time and logistics’ issue.it will take another generation to quietly untie all the knots.
Pope Francisco uses the practice, common in the Latin American Church, of intinction.
Intinction is not permitted in the US, and although I personally like the practice, it really increases the possibility of dropping the Eucharist upon the floor.
To the earlier post of eliminating communion under both species, that would go against the wishes of Christ himself, who explicitly said, “take, drink”. He didn’t mean that figuratively, as the protestants might have us believe.
No, that would not go against Christ’s command, Anonymous. Christ is present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in either species. (To say otherwise is to court a Medieval heresy.) The push to receive the Precious Blood (because the priest does) was much to do with making Protestants feel that the priest wasn’t being treated differently than the people. And that’s a lot of what our current crisis revolves around. For priests, by virtue of Holy Orders, are absolutely called to a different role.
Kind of like adults when they marry and subsequently have a child are called to a different role than if they were priest, religious, or still single.
I agree that the entirety of Christ is present in both forms, so there is no heresy on my part, ironic though that you should pretend to be one who speaks out against heresy.
But are you saying that Christ had his fingers crossed, when he said, Take, Drink? He said it, then he said, “Oh, just kidding, I didn’t really mean that?” Are you saying that the Evangelists put an asterisk next to the words, with a footnote that said, “Well, you don’t really HAVE to if you don’t feel like it”. Which of these Ann Malley?
…are you saying, Anonymous, that the Catholic Church was denying Christ when only the priest drank the Precious Blood? That’s the real question, Anonymous. And it is absurd.
Your understanding of heresy is similarly skewed. And the only irony here is that you assert to be an authority while, by virtue of your own posts, you are accusing the Church of centuries of denying Christ’s command.
In other words, go forth and learn, ask questions, and seek the fullness of Truth, Anonymous. Not just what you think you know or what you read the mindless horde copying and pasting on CCD because they don’t know schism from a hole in the head.
“Anonymous” ??? Intinction is certainly lawful in the USA. The sole issue is the common mistake (often permitted by the “Extraordinary” and sometimes by a priest) of permitting “self Intinction” which is outlawed. Redemptionis Sacramentum (at 104), and see GIRM 245, 285b, 287.
The Eastern Rite Catholics receive Communion by intinction all the time. There is an altar server who holds a sacred cloth under the chins of the communicants to receive any particles of the Holy Eucharist that might drop, just as an altar server holds a paten under the chins of the communicants in the Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Mass). I myself have lawfully received Holy Communion by intinction right here in California.
The times I received by intinction, though, was in an Eastern Catholic Rite church.
The TLM where I attend Mass is always by intinction and it is a very large church. What makes it move along amazingly well is that everyone comes forward at once so that when someone has received the host he is replaced immediately. It’s so smooth there is no awkwardness and one has time for peaceful contemplation and the joyous feeling of being one body with our fellow communicants. Often there is a circle of prayer warriors praying, as well. The Gregorian chants are like music from Heaven and there are exquisite windows and icons on which to feast the eyes.
ive never timed the Mass so I’ve no idea how long it takes but it seems all too brief. No one is sitting in a back pew looking at his watch waiting to be led…we’re all…
..actively involved and there’s no confusion or distractions.
..but of course, having substantial altar rails aids in keeping it organized and easy to kneel. Removing the altar rails was probably one of the greatest losses in all of this..they ensure kneeling, community and sacredness. You’re kneeling rubbing elbows with one another, not standing alone.
…it reminds me of the image of a nest of hungry baby birds with our beaks open waiting to be fed.
Thank you for the correction. The method described in the norms for the US in paragraph 49, however, would seem to make it difficult to employ in most parishes due to a lack of sufficient priests. My read is that no only is self intinciton not allowed, but it would seem that only a priest may do it (not an EMHC). Is that your reading too? https://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/the-mass/norms-for-holy-communion-under-both-kinds/
And yes, I know the eastern Catholics frequently use intinction. I was being a bit Latin Rite centric, my bad.
What? A TLM with intinction? What?
“Removing the altar rails was probably one of the greatest losses in all of this..they ensure kneeling, community and sacredness. You’re kneeling rubbing elbows with one another, not standing alone.”
Dana, That is so true. Many Catholics remain un-catechized and they do not realize that this sacred tradition brought unity to the Church.
pS for those who think Eucharist Extraordinary ministers are the same as a priest in giving you the Host, who would you rather have treat you when you’re ill, a doctor or a trained volunteer?.Who would you want teaching your children, a certified teacher or a trained volunteer? If an actor dressed as a cop says you’re under arrest, would you let him take you to jail? It’s even more important when treating eternal things….it is the intent, the very nature and calling of a priest that gives authenticity to his actions during the Mass, even if he’s a sinner. A sick doctor can still help you get well. EMs can have the best of intentions but they’re simply not qualified. Period.
Thank you, Catherine. For anonymous, we learn something new everyday…since apparently you didn’t know intincture is the preferred form…read this https://www.adoremus.org/0903Intinction.html
Dana, the correct analogy is not between a doctor and an EMHC, but between a nurse and EMHC. While a doctor may prescribe medicine, it is almost always the nurse who administers it. If the nurse started prescribing medicines or performing surgeries, then your analogy would be correct. Nurses are not qualified to prescribe medicine, but they are qualified to dispense it. Same with EMHCs.
Dana, I’m telling you right now, I’m using that 10:07 analogy. Excellent. The birds in the nest, too. As for that, I think it’s a good visual for the faithful AND to remind priests just how dependent we are on THEM to feed us well.
David, Jesus told us to “take and drink,” not “look but don’t touch.”
Holy Mother Church clearly teaches that receiving Holy Communion under BOTH forms is ideal, not bad, not extraordinary, not only for rare occasions: “281. Holy Communion has a fuller form as a sign when it takes place under both kinds. For in this form the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is more clearly evident and clearer expression is given to the divine will by which the new and eternal Covenant is ratified in the Blood of the Lord, as also the connection between the Eucharistic banquet and the eschatological banquet in the Kingdom of the Father.” [General Instruction of the Roman Missal]
There’s a lot of pushing the people to ‘feel’ like the priest – communion under ‘both’ species for all, not just the priest. Distributing communion by the lay faithful, not just the priest. Lay lectors.
These practices were put in place to make Protestants feel better, not to promote Catholic teaching.
Has NOTHING to do with protestants or how we feel about the priest. It has everything to do with wanting the fullness of what Christ himself asks of us.
Please stop belittling the spirituality of catholics who want the fullness of the Eucharist. It’s unbecoming.
Please stop belittling the Catholic Church, Anonymous. The Catholic Church used the host only for communicants for centuries. YOU don’t know your own history or the theology behind what you’re saying. That is the problem.
The switch has and had everything to do with the attempt to appease Protestants. Why? Because Protestants do not like to think there is any difference whatsoever between the faithful and the ordained priesthood. And there most definitely IS. It’s past time everyone, priests included, recalled that.
What is unbecoming here, Anonymous, is your belief that learning the history/facts/truth about the Catholic Church is somehow belittling. That is not only unbecoming, which is rather unimportant. But your…
… adhering to ignorance and denouncing those who could and would help you to understand is DANGEROUS. Not only to you, but to those around you.
” … Holy Communion has a fuller sign ……. .”.
Therefore, by reception of The Host only one has a lesser quality of sacrament?
Absolute rubbish! An argument concocted to justify the present situation of enhancing lay involvement.
It does not matter if distribution of the Precious Blood was discontinued, there would still only be one priest to distribute Holy Communion Hosts to approximately 600 people. Even at 3 seconds per person, which would only work if they were lined up as at a railing, it would take a half hour just to distribute Holy Communion. Every Mass would need to be 1 1/2 hours long which would mean that the Sunday Mass schedule would have to extend well into the afternoon. That does not even address the matter of many congregants walking out rather than sit there for a half hour.
A nearby parish has a Latin Mass every Sunday afternoon. Only the priest can distribute Holy Communion. It takes him about 15 minutes to distribute Holy Communion to…
The problem, post Vatican II of course, is the laicization of the clergy and the clericalization of the laity. Pope John Paul II said so back in 2002:
John Paul II warned that the involvement“by the laity becomes a form of clericalism when the sacramental or liturgical roles that belong to the priest are assumed by the lay faithful, or when the latter set out to accomplish tasks of pastoral governing that properly belong to the priest.”“It is the priest who, as an ordained minister and in the name of Christ, presides over the Christian community on liturgical and pastoral levels,” the Pope pointed out.“The laity can assist him in this in many ways.”
However,“the premier place of the exercise of the lay vocation is in the world of…
…economic, social, political and cultural realities. It is in this world that lay people are called to live their baptismal vocation,” the Holy Father stressed.
David is right on target. As it is, the laity do not know WHAT they are receiving, since they have little or no knowledge of the Divine Presence. Come to think of it, the way many priests celebrate Mass, they also do not know. I have been to several Masses when there are many priests present, and they are told to sit down while laity distribute Holy Communion. Abuses, abuses, and the situation gets worse, and not any better.
Yes, catechesis in the parishes varies from excellent to terrible/scary. One thing that catechests need to remember is that repetition is the key for concepts to be remembered and internalized.
Pilar, I disagree. Every EME that I know, myself included, knows about the Divine Presence. None of them think they are doing something other than helping the Priest “feed his flock.”
I think Pilar was referring to the laity in general: not EMEs specifically.
The words of Consecration were said both over the bread and then over the wine, ‘take this…’ , not just one. In a large parish with multiple qualified ‘volunteers’, scheduling permits all to serve on a fair rotating basis. Both electronic and hard copy schedules permit all to know their assigned tasks and when. As to other priests assisting, I’ve encountered retired priests celebrating three Masses on a Sunday, each in a different parish separated by twenty freeway miles. So during the next Mass at one parish, they’re literally long gone.
There is no “proper” role for them, they are not to touch the Holy Eucharist they are not priests and their hands are “unclean” to even touch the sacred host!!!
and from what doctrine/discipline of the Church do you draw that conclusion?
Janek, that is your opinion, though wrong in the eyes of the Church. Stop making up your own rules. Rubbish!!!!!
Would you think an EMHC for the sick and homebound ought not to touch a Consecrated Host?
I serve as a Catholic Chaplain’s Assistant at one of our local hospitals. I had to go through background checks and training programs from the hospital, the diocese, the hospital’s Catholic chaplain and the State of California.
We visit, or attempt to visit, every Catholic patient every day except Saturday. There are 3 or 4 of us Catholic CAs each day (we also have Protestant and Jewish CAs.), and I visit from 20 to 30 patients every Thursday and one Sunday a month. Would you have us not do so because of our need to use our hands to distribute Holy Communion to the sick?
What a blessing your are, Xavier! Do most states have such a practice? There could be no greater balm for those who are ill or dying than your visits bringing our Lord to them indeed!
LUKE 9:16 “Then Jesus took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them, and brake, and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.”
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church points out, all the baptized are commanded to be true DISCIPLES of Jesus, not merely spectators.
Even as Jesus told the disciples long ago to ‘feed’ the multitude (with bread), He tells us in this 21st century to ‘feed’ others in our ministry as catechists, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, Catholic school teachers, parents, etc.
This peculiar notion of the author’s that only the priest should distribute Holy Communion goes against Scripture, Tradition, and common sense: our priests cannot do…
No, Charles, he told the Twelve Disciples, the Apostles, to feed his sheep, and He ordained them to do so. Read from the first verse of the Chapter Nine you quoted, and you will see what I mean. Extraordinary ministers — and that is what they are — are only to be used if there are not enough priests or deacons.
I have never understood why some Catholics are so opposed to priests doing their job. Often some laypeople seem so envious of the priestly position, even though these men have had to go to seminary and study for years and give up a family. If a priest is a good and faithful priest, doing his job and not living in luxury and overspending, for heaven’s sake, don’t be so nasty about taking away his rights.
A long time ago, I stopped being a Eucharistic Minister– and returned to the Tridentine Mass! The BEST!! Except, yes, there are still problems, with the laicization of the clergy, and the clericalization of the laity, in Vatican II!! And yes– everyone must go to Confession regularly, to correctly and reverently receive Holy Communion! One must also always be well-prepared, with the Eucharistic Fast, and prayer. Best to receive Holy Communion kneeling, at the altar rail, on the tongue! I have always thought the lay Eucharistic Ministry to be an ABUSE!!
The Council of Trent was a dogmatic council; the Second Vatican Council was pastoral. Trent correctly informed us that when we receive the Sacred Host we are receiving the Body and BLOOD of Christ. Vatican II said the sign of Christ’s presence is more adequately shown to us when we receive under both species. While we MUST accept Trent because it was dogmatic, we do not have to accept the ambiguous teachings of Vatican II which too often are confusing and contradictory.
I would say that Second Vatican didn’t contradict Trent. It simply stated that the symbol of the Body and Blood is more fully demonstrated under both species despite the fact that all of Christ is present in either. Maybe what you’re driving at is why we need the fuller symbolism at a regular Sunday Mass.
It is not necessary, for laymen to receive Holy Communion, under both species. Christ is fully present, under both species! The older way is much better (and more sanitary!) for only the priest to drink from the chalice! Laymen do not have to “feel more equal,” and join the priest, in drinking from the sacred chalice! The Church has lost her sense of HOLINESS, with Holy Communion, in the Vatican II Novus Ordo Mass!! It is often regarded, and received– so casually, since Vatican II, often without proper preparation, or correct religious training! So sad!
I agree. Only the host should be distributed except for special occasions such as Christmas and Easter. I strongly intuit that distributing the host, alone, would help to restore a greater sense of awe for the Eucharist.
I completely disagree. Communion under both species, as explained in the Vatican Council, gives more full witness to the realities being celebrated, and I believe that communion under both species ought ALWAYS to be the norm, unless there are health reasons, such as a flu epidemic in a particular community, that would make it unwise.
Christ did, after all, command us to take, and drink. I don’t much like ignoring the central commandment he gave at his last supper.
Regarding your comments (below), I rendered my opinion solely because I think this is best for the care of souls. Receiving under both species is good and certainly has its place, but I think it needs to be scaled back.
One survey showed that only 16% of people attend mass every sunday..yet, almost 100% receive communion..in our catholic schools the children never hear the word SIN…in some parishes the extraordinary ministers lay their hand on the person’s forehead or shoulder to give a blessing!!!! (to those people not receiving communion)..they should get in the line where the priest is distributing communion…. a lot of priest’s are Lazy today!!!
THERE IS ONLY ONE EUCHARISTIC MINISTER…THE PRIEST…..
Honestly, some of the entries here leave me almost speechless. There are people who seek to have an equivalence with the Ordained Priesthood and I have to say encouraged by some in the episcopates. I can name one bishop who, at an ordination anniversary Mass for a priest friend, actually preached against the Ordained Priesthood in favour of the ‘priesthood of the laity’ – opining “you have seen nothing yet”!.
Elements of the laity have emasculated the clergy. In a sense they have ‘eaten of the forbidden fruit’ and are consumed with pride and self-righteousness as a result.
Sounds much like Martin Luther, “Sixupman”. There is no such thing — except among prostestants — as a “priesthood of the laity.
Yes, we all are members of a Royal Priesthood, as Peter says, but this does not mean we are authorized to be priests. Explaination of the meaning of “royal priesthood” takes more space, but it revolves around the new value to our lives and work, due to our belief in Jesus Christ, and the right to speak of the Gospel to others.
But, one thing is clear — the priest of whom you refer should immediately seek to be laicized. His preaching is a scandal.
Christ called His disciples apart from the rest of the world, and they left everything, to follow Him! He gave them special teachings, and a special religious training. They were not like the other followers! The Priesthood is very special and unique, in the Catholic Church! The Priest is our “alter Christus,” doing the work of Christ, continuing His mission, on Earth! The Priest gives all the Sacraments, to help Our Lord to sanctify His people, and the Priest teaches them, and guides them to holiness, to prepare us all, for Heaven! The Priest’s job is very HOLY!!
It would be better, if the Church would stop all the crazy novelties, of the post-Vatican II Mass! Very disturbing, and too confusing, for worshippers! It has been a horrible thing, to see the modern Church destroy her beautiful old Latin Mass, and her centuries-old traditions, that mean so much to people! The beautiful hands of a priest were meant to consecrate the bread and wine at Mass, to give all of the Sacraments, to bless people, and to be an instrument of God’s love and grace in the world! The main job of the priest, our “alter Christus”– is to say Mass, teach, preach, give the Sacraments, and sanctify the Catholic Faithful, to prepare us for Heaven!
This is the rule of the Church:
” When the size of the congregation or the incapacity of the bishop, priest, or deacon requires it, the celebrant may be assisted by other bishops, priests, or deacons. If such ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are not present, “the priest may call upon extraordinary ministers to assist him, i.e., duly instituted acolytes or even other faithful who have been deputed for this purpose. In case of necessity, the priest may also depute suitable faithful for this single occasion (GIRM 162).”
Of course, “Bob One” this “rule” is one of the most abused in the Church. Some errors commonly experienced:
1. The “extraordinary ministers” are lay people, not ordained, and have no authorities given to them (except to administer communiion where “ordinary” ministers cannot do it). They cannot “bless” anyone, which is a common scandal among the EMHC.
2. The EMHC should not be regularly scheduled, as is common, but are to be used where needed.
3. Women should never give out communion if men are available to do so.
4. A priest cannot insist that people “evenly” go to available lay EMHC, instead of lining up to receive from a priest; some priests use only women to show “respect”.
This practice should end, or be…
(Continued) “redefined. Too many pastors simply make up their own rules, and often step back from giving out communion so that lay people can do it.
How many of you go to churches where there are only priests/seminarians that give out communion? Or that prefer men EMHC (which is proper)? The differences among parish churches, literally adjacent to each other, is often stark; a key wrong among VII implementation. There should not be such rampant experimentation left to the “discretion” of the bishop or pastor.
St. C, where do you live? What is your reality? I agree that when there is a Priest, Deacon or Bishop available at Mass that they participate in distributing Communion. Now, for reality. Most parishes have only one Priest who is saying Mass for 2-500 folks or more. Reality is that you have to have people scheduled for Lectors and EMEs. Where do you get the idea that only men should help this ministry? I have been going to Mass for a long time, and I don’t find abuse in any of this. Read GRIM.
It’s true that the laity can not give a blessing (i.e. God bless you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit). Are you also saying that EMEs are not to request God’s blessing either? (i.e May God bless you).
Bob One this is another liberal dictum that is abused on wholesale scale…thank you Lord Christ for the Pope BXVI and the Summorum Pontificum
Mr. Grondelski could benefit from a basic course in Logic, preferably one taught at a Catholic University. The use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion at Mass is a response to the decline in vocations to the priesthood, not the cause of it. The reasons for the decline in vocations to the priesthood are manifold and Mr. Grondelski provides his opinion about this decline – but no data. Having been asked by my parish priest to serve as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, I have enthusiastically done so to support our overworked priest, the parish and the Church. I have no desire to be viewed as “clerical” and consider the dedication of my time, effort and energy as service…and nothing else!
Actually, you are fundamentally wrong, “Fred Jones”: the use of the EMHC is to further enshrine the policy of making the Catholic liturgy more Protestant-like. This is so for a number of reasons, including:
1. Making the priest seem less important and central.
2. Emphasizing priest-like functions of the congregation (like Lutherans, to start).
3. Making the Eucharist a meal, and not the reenacted sacrifice of Calvary.
4. Having a formal place for women (who often also “bless” babies and the infirm as they come up).
5. Further imbedding communion in the hand and standing, which are anathema to respecting Christ.
Thank you, St. Chris. Unfortunately, too many have been subject to the courses in ‘Logic” Fred recommended, and at those universities that erroneously advertise themselves as Catholic.
Just keeping the name doesn’t ensure that what is offered at a certain business will remain the same. This is true in corporate America and it is also true at any restaurant to be sure. That is why shifting management or ‘shifty’ management is often the clue to check the ingredients and all particulars.
We must not be pharasaical. We get so wrapped up in rules and regulations and what people wear that we forget that the purpose of the eucharist is to memorialize Christ’s sacrifice not to make certain that we all go through ritual perfectly. Receiving the host from the hands of a priest does not make it any more sacred. Nor does wearing jeans make anyone less reverent. Yes we need to be mindful of the awesomeness of Christ and his gift of salvation, and in a perfect world all communicants would come to the table with sainted halos; but we don’t live in a perfect world. I’m sure that many of the people with whom Jesus associated were not beautifully dressed nor wearing halos.
Human beings are frail, Michael, and subject to their senses. So while you advocate that we need to focus on Christ and the Sacred, it is precisely the outward signs of respect and deference that uphold that sense of respect. Much like one dresses up for a special occasion precisely to mark the occasion with an outward sign that it is something special.
This is why we have outward signs that accompany every Sacrament. So that we recognize and can understand what is going on.
And whereas Christ while He walked the earth no doubt associated with the general populace, the modesty and dignity of the culture at that time precluded much of the laziness and immodesty of today. People clothed themselves. They showed outward signs of…
…reverence to those in authority.
How much more reverence should we show Our Lord who we know to be God? And by so doing, showing those who do not know that something very special is going on.
Would we go to meet the Queen of England in jeans and a t-shirt at Buckingham Palace? Would we use our hands to eat? Or would we follow certain protocols out of respect for her office?
These outward signs are very necessary to forgetful humans.
I think the author has forgotten CCC 783:
Jesus Christ is the one whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and established as priest, prophet, and king. The whole People of God participates in these three offices of Christ and bears the responsibilities for mission and service that flow from them.
Only a Priest or Deacon (consecrated) hands may distribute Holy Communion, unless it is very difficult due to a very large crowd, and should it not be done on a regular basis.
See GIRM (GENERAL INSTRUCTION of the ROMAN MISSAL)
Part II, # 28
– regarding Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.
I have no problem with the instruction in GIRM.
I do have a problem with your interpretation of it. The instruction does NOT say what you claim it says. It does not say anything about the size of the “crowd” nor does it say that it should not be done on a regular basis.
very unusual or remarkable.
“the extraordinary plumage of the male”
synonyms: remarkable, exceptional, amazing, astonishing, astounding, sensational, stunning, incredible, unbelievable, phenomenal; striking, outstanding, momentous, impressive, singular, memorable, unforgettable, unique, noteworthy; out of the ordinary, unusual, uncommon, rare, surprising; informalfantastic, terrific, tremendous, stupendous, awesome; literarywondrous
“an extraordinary coincidence”
So where comes the use of extraordinary to modify ‘Minister of Holy Communion’? Is it unusual? Unforgettable? Unbelievable?
outside of or additional to the ordinary staff; having a special, often temporary task or responsibility:
And I just read in a parish bulletin here in the San Francisco Archdiocese , that there will be a training session for readers and Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist and the person who is doing the training is a WOMAN who heads the Office of Worship! At the VERY LEAST it should be Priest doing the training!!!
To reply to the post of Elizabeth– I have always thought this kind of situation to be tragic– the Church has lost her respect for the HOLINESS of God, and His priests! There is too much of the secular, sinful world, today, in the Church, and too much interest to conform to secular ideas, beliefs, and customs! Catholics are called to a life of HOLINESS, with Christ, apart from the secular, “fallen” world, that does not know Christ, and rejects Him! The Mass is very, VERY HOLY!!
There is a good biblical basis for using ordinary people to distribute communion. Do you think Peter was a well trained priest, in Latin and Greek? He was a fisherman, with work worn clothes and hands, as were many of the Apostles. Read St. Paul in Corinthians. He is addressing ignorant Christians who were still involved with pagan rites, on how to do a Mass. (And this with ordinary townspeople, and without ordained priests!) Obviously, it took many years to even approximate a Mass, with the Christian community. And let’s be realistic, the Church in many locations has reached desperate straits – attendance has dropped drastically, priests are few, and many priests are aged or sick. And EMs are also often in short supply. In my…
Joe, Christ trained Peter and the Apostles to be priests. They trained others. Of course a priest can be ordained after having had another job. St. Paul was a tent maker even after having been ordained, but some priests back then did not have other jobs.
Read the writings of the early Church Fathers, such as St. Ignatius and St. Justin the Martyr. There were priests all along after the Church started at Pentecost. You can look up the early Catholic Church Fathers on line and read some of their writings and not even have to buy a book.
First of all, it is necessary to know that everyone should NOT be receiving Holy Communion every Sunday.
CCC: ” 1415 Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance.”
CCC: 1451 & 1355; Sacred Scripture 1 Cor 11:27-30.
Otherwise they are committing another mortal sin of Sacrilege against Our Lord.
Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers (lay people / unconsecrated hands) are NOT permitted unless their is a large crowd of people receiving Holy Communion, and the Priest can NOT distribute himself.
GIRM (General Instruction of the Roman Missal) – PART II, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion #28.
” 28. When the size of the congregation or the incapacity of the bishop, Priest, or Deacon requires it, the celebrant may be assisted by other bishops, Priests, or Deacons, If such ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are not present, the Priest may call upon extraordinary ministers to assist him. …….
In case of necessity, the Priest may depute suitable faithful for this single occasion. …….. “
Considering that Vatican II wanted to simplify things, it certainly brought confusion to most Catholics. The way things are going, and from what I have read and heard from many priests and experts in the matter, fifty years from now only 5% of the population will be practicing Catholics, and probably the only Mass around will be the TLM.
If it’s not too personal, in what diocese do you live?
Could not have said it any better Mr. Osgood!!
Janek, when you wrote: “There is no “proper” role for them, they are not to touch the Holy Eucharist they are not priests and their hands are “unclean” to even touch the sacred host!!!” I wondered if you are truly sincere, or just trying to stir up debate.
Since The Fall, we are ALL ‘unclean’ and yet can become justified by the Blood of Christ.
Even some of our Priests have shown themselves to be very ‘unclean’ indeed by the crimes against children; so what makes you want to call your neighbors unclean.
I want to go back to a topic: a rightly-Anonymous poster in notes above archly implied that S. Tarcisius was an extraordinary minister. Since Anonymous thought he was being clever and Neo-Primitivist (like Joe above, that there were no ordained clergy in the early Church), let’s address that.
A 6th C. account of Tarcisius says he was an acolyte, who was murdered while transporting the Eucharist in a container to imprisoned Christians during the Valerian persecution (ca. 259 AD). An acolyte was one of the 5 ordained “minor orders” prior to the destruction of priestly orders initiated in effect by V2. S Tarcisius’ life proves the point: even in times as dire as persecution, only an ordained person (under minor orders, yes, but…
..but an ordained person, nonetheless, could CARRY (mind you), not even directly touch the Eucharist. It is implied that one of those imprisoned was a priest and could distribute the Eucharist: but that was the actual norm in the Early Church.
As for Joe, in notes above, who avers that S Peter and the other apostles were non-ordained, I guess he doesn’t believe (like Bp. PJ McGrath of San Jose) in the historicity or validity of S John’s Gospel): Christ breathes on them, saying “Receive the Holy Spirit…etc, ” (John 20:21-23) It is a position (that there were no ordained priests in the Early Church espoused by Edvard Schillebeeckx in his tome, “Jesus” (published ca. 1985).
The Roman Catholic Church teaches that one may:
(a) receive only the Precious Blood, if, for example, you suffer from celiac disease, and still receive Christ, whole and entire.
(b) receive only the Host, and still receive Christ, whole and entire.
The Roman Catholic Church ALSO teaches that receiving under BOTH forms is the IDEAL, for reasons stated in the G.I.R.M.