Sunday, July 01, 2007

A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing

Is bestowing the laity who distribute Communion at Catholic Masses with the title of "Eucharistic Minister" a (subconscious) attempt to clericalize the laity? How many parishes use the proper terminology of Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion for lay people who distribute Holy Communion?

After all, a Eucharistic Minister is a priest, and the laity who distribute communion are supposed to be helping out in extraordinary circumstances, as spelled out in these Church documents: the original 1973 document IMMENSAE CARITATIS, the follow up 1980 document Inaestimabile Donum, and again in 1997 when Pope John Paul II promulgated "The collaboration of the non-ordained faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest."

10. The faithful, whether religious or lay, who are authorized as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist can distribute Communion only when there is no priest, deacon or acolyte, when the priest is impeded by illness or advanced age, or when the number of the faithful going to Communion is so large as to make the celebration of Mass excessively long.[20] Accordingly, a reprehensible attitude is shown by those priests who, though present at the celebration, refrain from distributing Communion and leave this task to the laity.

If you ever try to have a conversation with a lay person who doesn't understand this, it will probably go something like one of mine did:

PG: Good morning, Mrs. X

Mrs. X: Morning. I'm trying to find Eucharistic Ministers to serve at Mass.

PG: Oh, I just saw Father. He's in the sacristy.

Mrs. X: Yeah, good. I'm looking for Eucharistic Ministers. Where are they all?

PG: You're looking for a priest, then. Father is in the sacristy, I'm sure.

Mrs X: (rolls eyes) Never mind.

PG: Maybe I can help. You must be looking for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to serve at Mass. Is that right?

Mrs X: What?

PG: Well, a Eucharistic Minister is a priest, and the laity who are commissioned to help distribute Communion are actually referred to as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.

Mrs X: (rolls eyes) There's nothing extraordinary about us!

PG: Oh, but indeed there is. You are authorized to help the priest distribute Communion in extraordinary circumstances when the priest is unable to do so by himself; these extraordinary circumstances have been defined by the Church.

Mrs X: We don't have any extraordinary circumstances here, as you well know.
(Calls to another woman entering the church). Mrs S, have you seen any Eucharistic Ministers?


A little more education could go a very long way here...

9 comments:

Feathered Friends said...

did that happen today?

Unitas said...

How much longer until the EMHC's think their hands, too, are holy and venerable?

Or how much longer until people see such familiarity with our Lord that belif in the True Presence declines?

Oh, wait, that's already happening.

jim klasz said...

Just a question as I was reading through INAESTIMABILE DONUM I noticed that in point 18 in the section on the Mass,the last sentence reads, 'Womenare not, however, permitted to act as altar servers." Was this changed or is it just ignored ?

Karin said...

PG-
First let me congratulate you on keeping your cool with Mrs.X.
Second, can you please have Father (your Priest) speak to your congregation and set the record straight, shit like this totally pisses me off, I mean just who does Mrs. X think she is and just what does she think she is doing??

Simon-Peter Vickers-Buckley said...

Does anyone know the authority granting permission to extra-ordinary minions of unholy confusion the right to make the sign of the cross on the heads of children (who approach with parents) whilst giving them a blessing?

Who do any of them think they are, and what do any of them think they are doing?

Pompus asses, false humility.

Sit your lay ass down and get over yourselves. YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

If no one volunteered to encourage scarilege, waste time and get in the way...no one can be ordered to do it either.

Vir Speluncae Orthodoxae said...

In my Church only priests and deacons are allowed to distribute communion, and only they and altar boys are allowed on the altar. The Copts are even more strict, only priests and deacons on the altar.

Lay people have no business doing it, even if it means waiting a half hour. Then again it'd go quicker if they used the rail all the time and they never loosened the restrictions on precommunion preparation and who can receive.

Dymphna said...

The whole eucharistic minister and permanent deacon thing disturbs me. I thinks it's a sneaky way of protestantizing the church with lay ministers.

Simon-Peter Vickers-Buckley said...

" even if it means waiting a half hour."

It doesn't though. It takes forever for these extra-ordinaries to be receive, then we have to wait as they go to their stations to pander to the superstition that you have to receive under both kinds to receive Jesus at all.

This time issue is a red-herring.

Everyone file up the centre in good order, peel off left and right, on the word of command...execute (kneel)...next, next, next, next...

Done.

Stop this silliness of communion under both species, get rid of the extra-ordinaries, and try to act with a little more discipline and order than a plate of beans sliding into the trash...which just about sums up communion thesedays.

AquinaSavio: said...

Once, I had a woman tell me that extraordinary ministers meant "extra" ordinary ministers of the Eucharist. Seriously, she said that they are just "extra" ministers.

She had absolutely no idea that the meaning of the word "extraordinary" is not supposed to be broken down into the two words that make it.

It means "beyond ordinary," or "out of the ordinary."

It was complete ignorance.