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Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Milly the Millstone

That's a good sign but why stop there?

Central Valley Catholic

The letter also mentions Extraordinary ministers are just that, Extraordinary, if priests and deacons are available, they should be distributing communion since the are the ORDINARY ministers not the womens club. Just another letter the California bishops will put in the circular file

c.a. Marks

But this is a good thing, right? I'm a newbie, remember.


There are problems with this.

Some parishes in the Denver area will be swamped.

At a local parish here, there are 7 Masses being prayed every Sunday, each being attended by 1000 to as many as 1500 of the faithful.

With older priests and older deacons, they are lucky to have one of each per mass (and sometimes we have only the priest). There simply is no way to serve the faithful without the extensive use of EMHC.

Taking away the prification of the vessels will extend the mass - inducing even MORE behavior where people leave before the final blessing. Purifying 8 Chalices and 8 ciboria, and the acoutrements is not a small task, especially if it is to be done with the reverence and throughness it demands.

Also this raises the question: Do I have to get a priest to clean my pyx every time I do my shut-in or hospital ministry? The reason I do that is we dont have enough priests and deacons! Are we to deny communion to the shut-in, the imprisoned, and the sick just to satisfy a midaeval rule?

So I disagree with this - there does need to be an indult if the circumstances and Christian Charity demand it. Christian charity demands the Host be available for the faithful at the mass and that should override all the other measures that were undertaken in the middle ages to establish decorum. Indults are allowed for administration on the battlefield, and other areas where the Presence is dearly needed. Why not in the mass when circumstances warrant?

In a small parish, this enforcement is understandable - and desirable! But in a large one, one that is still growing, its only going to diminish the Mass by being strict on the fringes while chasing people away from the core. I see nothing here that has anything to do with holiness - if anything it is likely to lead to less care than currently practiced by the EMHC (especially with visiting priests form other dioceses).

That being said, I must obey. So I'll wait and watch while the Deacon or Father cleans up and the congregation leaves.

If thats what my Pope says, thats what I will do. But it doenst mean I have to like it, nor agree 100% with it.


I personally welcome this development. I too am in a pretty large parish. But we do not have to receive under both species at all masses. We receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ under either species. So we would need fewer extraordinary ministers and fewer chalices.

The "communion catchers" will leave early no matter what. The ablutions used to be part of the mass. There is no reason why father can't take 2-3 more minutes to clean the vessels after communion before the closing of mass. With any luck, the infernal diddling on the piano might even stop long enough for a few minutes of silent prayer. What a concept!

Father Arsenius

The 2000 General Instruction on the Roman Missal permits the purification of the sacred vessels (immediately) after Mass, so the proliferation of chalices and ciboria needing to be purified need not unnecessarily prolong the Mass. Moreover, Redemptionis Sacramentum (2003) specifically discourages the distribution of the Most Precious Blood to the faithful when the large numbers expected for Holy Communion make it difficult to anticipate the proper amount of wine to be prepared for consecration. Lastly, under current universal liturgical law (i.e., GIRM), the sacred vessels may also be purified by an instituted acolyte assisting the priest(s) and/or deacon(s). Pope Paul VI enacted legislation in 1972 (Ministeria quaedam) extending this permanent and stable ministry also to men who are not preparing for ordination. Several dioceses in the U.S. now employ this provision, facilitating obedience to the mind of the Church with respect to the sacred vessels (among other things).


Up until around 20 years ago, many priests found it difficult to explain why women were allowed to distribute the body and blood of Christ, but young women (i.e., girls) were excluded from being servers and handing the priest cruets filled with water and wine. Many priests today are likewise having a hard time explaining why Curia officials and the pope are insisting that extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, many of whom are women, can distribute the body and blood of Christ, but are unworthy of cleaning the chalices. If priests believed this regulation made theological sense, they would support the revised General Instruction of the Roman Missal 2000 that allows only men (i.e., priests, deacons and instituted acolytes) to purify sacred vessels after Mass. However, most priests cannot rationally explain why women are worthy of distributing the Body and Blood of Christ, but, at the same time, are excluded from helping the priest “do the dishes.” Instead of addressing the fact that the median age of priests in the U.S. is over 60 and there are more and more parishes without a resident priest, we have men in Curia offices publishing decrees reminiscent of the Pharisees who were preoccupied about “the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze.” (Mark 7:4) Why do you think some Curia officials want only men to cleanse the chalices? To what degree are women excluded from playing an important role in the Church based upon discriminatory theological formulations that “teach as doctrines the precepts of men”? (Mark 7:7)

James O'Connell

Purification and the Laity

James O'Connell

I have been looking at web sites of U.S. parishes. Many of them refer to Eucharistic ministers and give a list of their responsibilities, including cleaning the sacred vessels after their use at Mass. Yet at a recent meeting of American bishops a number of them asked Bishop Trautman who is chair of their liturgical committee if anything could be done about a Roman decision last June that refused an indult to American bishops and that restricts the cleaning to clerics. According to an internal survey, Trautman said, an "overwhelming" number of U.S. bishops disagreed with the ban. For the last three years, U.S. bishops had special permission from the Vatican, and had asked for it to be renewed, to allow lay eucharistic ministers to clean the sacred vessels. However, the ban has been explicitly endorsed by the Pope himself. Trautman told his fellow prelates that it was now a closed matter.

We need to notice that this restriction forms part of a pattern of limiting lay roles under John Paul and Benedict. I appreciate the value of order and the worth of obedience. Yet I can't help calling to mind Tennyson's line in the Idylls of the King: "And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true". The ban is one more move to undermine the status that the laity take from baptism. It also seems to come from purity conceptions that the New Testament rejected.

It seems useful to put this kind of decision in an ecclesial and sociological context to evaluate its worth and intent. Obviously in an organisation it may be important to have a distinction of roles and a separation of powers. But it is important too not to divide its members unnecessarily. In considering social roles in relation to organisations such as the Church, there are three dimensions in structuring and operations. First, there is status which is usually given by the organisation. Second, there is capacity or competence. Third, there is utility, feasibility, and/or convenience. Running through all three dimensions is the ability of an organisation to achieve its goals – the latter in the case of the Church is to deepen worship, enhance witness and generate community – which it can normally do best in activating all its members.

Let me suggest three things. First, if the Church – or any organisation – overstresses status, it is in danger of stasis because those in authority tend in good measure to look after their own interests or to follow patterns that are congenial to them rather than necessary or useful to the organization. In the case of the Church in Western countries this emphasis is dangerous, not only because clerics, especially those at Rome, in their style of living are constantly in danger of becoming isolated from the laity and the latter's ways of life but because in being much older than average (gerontocracy would not always be an inaccurate description for the governance of the Church; and even most bishops were they subject to the rules head teachers follow would be retired) they are apt to lose touch with contemporary concerns. Moreover, in a period when the Church is on the defensive from secular cultures, from various scandals, and from a failure in clerical recruitment there is an even greater temptation than usual to close ruling ranks. Second, in terms of ability who would claim that the Eucharistic ministers in my parish were not competent? And, third, it is, in fact, the case that in terms of convenience and utility the presiding priest by delegating the cleaning task is enabled to meet people leaving the church where certainly in our tradition and in the American tradition people seize the informal opportunity to raise a matter with the pastor, to make a fuller appointment for later on or to exchange friendly words. In short, it seems to me extraordinary that the good men and women who have just been handling the body of Christ and who have cleaned the sacred vessels for years should now be deemed unsuitable or ineligible for a Eucharistic task and that the service they offer should be rejected.

Let me finish with three remarks. First, in the churches that I attend the prohibition which comes from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (par. 279) is not followed or enforced. That is usually a sign of bad law. Second, you cannot build up the status of the clergy by demoting the laity (or vice versa, for that matter). Third, the reasoning in the Roman decision comes close when a large congregation is present to playing down in the name of convenience the value of receiving the cup.

It is all a sad commentary on the understanding that Roman administrators have of what Christ did at the last supper, the progress in worship that we have made since the Council, and the right bishops have to legislate for their own people. It would be so much better for everybody if Rome worked with the bishops, and if the clergy moved forward in collaboration with a better educated and more devout laity. At the moment we are danger of marching backwards towards the future.


As a former Catholic and former extraordinary minister, I can tell you all that the exclusion of women in this manner will only result in the alienation of millions of people, further isolating the church and sending it packing back to pre-history. The pope is making a serious mistake by not being more inclusive. My children figured out how bogus the Catholic church is all on their own. Why should we listen to a bunch of old men in Rome who have no idea how the rest of us live?

There was a paster that became very sick and needed assistance at the altar and during procession. he is no longer in the parish. however, the extra-ordinary ministers has kept themselves flanking the celebrant at the altar, during procession and at the chair. they do not recieve communion with the the other community of faith. they have taken the role of performing the duties of the altar servers and the deacons and or acolytes. i need some help, or direction, or church teaching on what an extra-ordinary should be allowed to do in the sanctuary. although it was very good that they provided assistance to the old pastor, i feel they went too far and now has created confusion in the congregation. can you help me with this.


Perhaps my reading of the basic article and the comments above is cursory, but it seems the pope is merely obviating traditional forms, i.e. Communion under the single species of bread, rather than both bread and wine. If he actually had any guts he would just do away with the entire "extraordinary minister" fraud.

The innovation of "extraordinary ministers" didn't enhance devotion to our Faith, it merely pandered to secular-Feminist desires to destroy the Church (e.g. witness the testimony from the "former Catholic" and "former extraordinary minister" Claire, who praises her precocious children for rejecting the "old men" even before she was able to destroy the Church in her own life.

I've found the secretive insinuation of Homosexuals into our clergy to be the most notable and deliberately destructive action immediately following the Vatican II Council. And it seemed obvious that, right at the moment of the emergence of AIDS, the (now heavily Homosexual-polluted clergy) Catholic Church would shift over to passing around a chalice for a thousand stangers to communially drink from.

This was perfectly consistent with the absolutely bogus fraud of "unawareness" about how and to whom AIDS was spread and the huge effort by the Homosexuals to create the fraud-fiction that AIDS was also a heterosexual desease (i.e. just another part of the "normal" homosexual lifestyle).

The Homosexual bishops most certainly actively and aggressively promoted every aspect of these truely "extraordinary" corruptions and attacks upon our Church.

This pope and his predecessor are-were absolutely responsible for ALL of the resulting destruction.

Benedict XVI has a long way to go in reparations.

Heaping "praise" on his long overdue corrective actions to only partially undo his own destructive misdeeds just makes me sick.

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