Madison joins Phoenix in limiting Communion under both kinds — UPDATED

Madison joins Phoenix in limiting Communion under both kinds — UPDATED October 9, 2011

Weeks after Phoenix moved to restrict use of the Precious Blood during Mass, it now appears that Madison, Wisconsin is moving in the same direction.

Fr. Z. broke the news:

On the site of the parish of the Cathedral of Madison in Wisconsin, where His Excellency Most Rev. Robert Morlino is, by the grace of God, the ordinary, there is a pdf of the parish bulletin in which it is explained that they are ending regular distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds.

The bulletin announcement says:

In the last couple of decades, Communion under both species (with the congregation able to receive the Precious Blood as well as the Sacred Host) has become routine in our experience. I knew (as many of you do) that Communion under both species was first introduced, on a limited basis, after the Second Vatican Council, and that it has become much more common since. What I did not know was that the widespread American practice of offering both species at most Sunday Masses began here under an indult (special permission) given by the Vatican in 1975, which expired in 2005

…So, all over the United States, we now find ourselves needing to bring our practice into conformity with current regulations (and with the rest of the world). In his comments at Chula Vista, Bishop Morlino mentioned a few instances in which Communion under both kinds is still permitted: the Chrism Mass, the Feast of Corpus Christi, for the bride and groom at a Nuptial Mass, and for those so allergic to wheat that they cannot tolerate even low-gluten hosts. Beyond those occasions and circumstances, Communion can be offered under both species at celebrations of special importance. But it is clear that we will not be seeing Communion under both species as a weekly practice.

Read it all.

UPDATE: There’s an interesting dissection of the indult involved, and the GIRM, by Daniel Horan over at Dating God.  His take:

It strikes me as nothing less-than an clerical overstepping and unnecessary demarcation of the clergy and laity. What are these pastors (by which I mean the Canonical notion of pastor) thinking? It seems, at least superficially, that it is an “in” and “out” club — who is and who is not permitted to receive from the cup. The only shred of juridical support is the technicality about who can and cannot clean the cups after Communion. Seriously, we have more important things to be concerned about. Provided the extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, with some very simple instruction and supervision of the presider, know what they are doing and are respectful — as the law demands — of their duty, then there should be absolutely no problem with their purification of the sacred vessels.

It is, one must admit, rather humorous that these men are so very concerned about who “does the dishes,” as it were. If only the married women who are oftentimes the extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist could instill such a fervent desire in their husbands at home, there might be fewer fights between couples in the kitchen after dinner!

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73 responses to “Madison joins Phoenix in limiting Communion under both kinds — UPDATED”

  1. This seems so sad. I hope this won’t be a widespread trend; domino theory anyone? Who knew that receiving under both kinds would become controversial; even in rather conservative places it has been commonplace. I find the explanations given to be less than satisfactory, creeping clericalism comes to mind.

  2. It is sad to here how we are now putting limits. On the holy eucharist! To eliminate both species from the mass is like down playing the crucifixion of Christ and his resurrection. I’m glad to be part of the neochatecumenal way where we not only celebrate the Eucharist but also consecrate the bread of Christ.
    Sad for phoenix and Wisconsin for choosing to deny parishners the body and blood of the risen Christ.

  3. It does seem like a solution in search of a problem. The real reason we’re seeing more decrees like this, and similar things like bans on female altar servers, is that traditionalists are flexing their power. They’ve decided that all of the Church’s problems stem from what they see as hippie egalitarianism of Vatican II, and that “things have gotten too loose around here.” Anyone who knows corporate dynamics or politics will recognize this as one of those moves that is made primarily to remind people who is in charge, and that the only justification any decision requires is “because we said so.”

  4. The Bishops are exercising their authority and that is good. All the other stuff in Father Z’s post and the comments on blogs and facebook speak of an expired indult from 1975. The posts go on to say that in USA, communion under both species expired in 2005. However, well after 1975 the GIRM came out with instructions allowing each diocesan Bishop to make policy. I believe it is GIRM 281. Then the Cathechism #1390 speaks of a fuller sign if received under both species. Bottom line: the Bishop speaks we listen. Unfortunately all the high fives over this all fall in line with the agenda of those who still believe that only a pre-Vatican II church can offer worship proper to the Father. C’mon guys; we sure give plenty of fodder to our non-Catholic critics.

  5. I wouldn’t precisely call it sad. The emotions called for by this decision seem to require nuance above all.

    There is definitely advantage to receiving from the chalice (e.g. fuller participation in the sacramental signs — although not the sacrament itself, deeper content for meditation, experiential richness). There are also dangers (e.g. the feeling that you’re getting “more” when you receive the chalice, or that you’re getting “less” when you don’t; the failure to realize that the blood of Jesus is present under the appearance of the bread just as the body of Jesus is present under the appearance of the wine; the mental separation of the Eucharist into “body” and “blood” whereas the truth is that the Eucharist is the living Jesus who is fully present in both kinds).

    There are also practical problems with having the chalice. I was an EMHC for years and an altar server during the same period of time. Between the two experiences, I witnessed the precious blood spilled on the ground, on my shirt, on my hand, and other places. Thankfully, I never dropped the chalice.

    Even the presence of EMHCs is an argument against the popular reception of the precious blood. The administration of the sacrament is part of the sacramental action. This is why the Priest is the prime minister of the Sacrament. The Deacon administers the sacrament as an extension of the priest, who operates in the person of Christ the head. The EMHCs are also operating as extensions of the priest. This is why EMHCs are larely a necessary evil. Visually, you want to have the sacrament of orders connected with the administration of the sacrament. You want to be able to see visually how administering Holy Communion is a priestly action. You want that visual of Jesus, under the appearance of the priest, coming to you Himself and giving His own body to you, like He did at the last supper. The necessity of EMHCs is tragic. I feel this tragedy in a piercing way, and I hope that I might live to see the day when the diocese of the United States has enough priests and deacons to render EMHCs unnecessary.

    In fact, if every parish had enough ordinary ministers that they could administer the Blood every week (or every day) and not have to use EMHCs, I wouldn’t have nearly as much of a problem with it. As it is, the administration of the blood multiplies the number of the non-ordained who are acting as ministers of the Blessed Sacrament. I don’t think that this is necessary.

    Speaking for myself, as a young Catholic, I find the compromise that the Fathers of Vatican II worked out very nice. There are times where everyone can receive the communion under both kinds, and there are times when the normal practice is to not. That means people aren’t deprived of the benefits of receiving both sacramental signs, but the problems associated with it are diminished.

    It means that there will be less chance someone will think they’re getting “more” of Jesus, or mentally divide the body and the blood of Christ into two things; it will mean that there will be fewer opportunities for the precious blood of our Lord to spill upon the ground, or on people’s shirts, or down their faces. It will mean that there will be less need for extraordinary ministers.

    I agree that it is a little bit sad that there are reasons to restrict the reception of the blood. In a more perfect world, I think everyone would receive communion under both kinds every day of their adult lives. I think there is also problems associated with the current practice that ought to cause us sorrow.

  6. I also find this very depressing. GIRM 283 gives the Bishops the right to allow communion under both kinds. Phoenix and Madison could just as easily have allowed it. They are trying to go back to an earlier time when there were no Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist. It’s clericalism at its worst and is a sad day for the Church.

  7. The Church in America, much like American society at large, is full of spoiled rotten brats. Do what the Vatican says, sit down and shut up!!!

  8. Fran, after the consecration, It isn’t bread and It isn’t wine. I want to receive Communion from the ordinary minister of Holy Communion, the priest or deacon. I live in Madison and attend the parishes that are leading the way implementing Bishop Morlino’s directive, and I am delighted and so will be a large portion of the people here since there is generally good liturgical formation in these parishes and strong devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This will greatly help to reduce and often eliminate the need for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and that can only be a good thing for more reverent reception of the Sacrament and reducing profanation. It will also normally eliminate the difficulties some large parishes have with purifying large numbers of vessels. I think reserving reception of the Precious Blood for particular occasions such as Corpus Christi or the Bride and Groom at their nuptial Mass, and of course people with medical concerns such as gluten intolerance that cause the “accidents” of bread to be a problem for them, is exactly right. Bishop Morlino has made the right choice and it is going to make a difference in his diocese. Other Bishops will doubtless follow suit as they see everything going fine in Phoenix and Madison.

    The Council of Trent declared infallibly: “If any one denieth, that, in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ; but saith that He is only therein as in a sign, or in figure, or virtue; let him be anathema.” and: “If any one denieth, that, in the venerable sacrament of the Eucharist, the whole Christ is contained under each species, and under every part of each species, when separated; let him be anathema.”

  9. I cannot agree with Joseph Anthony and Elizabeth D that EMHC’s are a bad thing to be eliminated if possible.

  10. I’m not disappointed…but, ultimately, what I think about it is meaningless. What matters is that we obey.

  11. Dear Joseph Anthony,

    You are, of course, entitled to an opinion. However, I would hope that your opinion would be based on actual facts. Your understanding of sacramental theology, especially the theology of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, is terribly deficient.

    Deacons, for example, do not operate as an “extension” of the priest; not in the least, and a look at any official church teaching document (including the Catechism) would help you a lot. Deacons, in virtue of their sacramental ordination, are ORDINARY ministers of communion. Furthermore, everything and anything that deacons do flows from their sacramental identity flowing from both baptism and ordination. NOTHING derives from the presbyterate to the deacon. Deacons, like presbyters, are empowered by the Holy Spirit through ordination and are, with presbyters, as Cardinal Walter Kasper has said, the “two arms of the bishop.”

    Lay ministers, including extraordinary ministers of holy communion, are serving as a result of their baptisms, and not as “extensions” of the ordained. Again, any review of the teaching documents of the Church — including the Catechism, and especially the documents of the Second Vatican Council — would make all of this abundantly clear.

    Hope this helps a bit.

    Deacon Bill

  12. With the GIRM authorizing each bishop to pastorally determine the discipline in each diocese, who am I sitting a great distance away from Phoenix or Madison to speculate upon the appropriateness of a bishop’s exercise of his pastoral and apostolic authority? I likewise can only speculate (assume and hope) that such a decision was made with great discernment and prayer, and with discussion and consultation from across the many and varied views found in each diocese. It does give me confidence that these decisions are made by the bishop at the diocesan level, rather than on an ad hoc basis by a few priests and pastors here and there. With the latter I have had some first-hand experience, and the divisiveness and “parish shopping” that comes with it. Communion it truly is, not just in concert with the parish but with the universal church. And the church, at least across the diocese, should celebrate Eucharist in harmony with the bishop.

  13. Just a few random thoughts here.

    1. The Body of Christ, and the Blood of Christ, are not improved one iota by the person giving them out. The Blessed Sacrament is the same, whether it’s dispensed by the pope, a bishop, a priest, a deacon or an EMHC.
    2. “More reverent reception” and “reducing profanation” are a result of proper catechesis, not the minister of communion — though, very often, I find that EMHCs approach the sacrament with greater awe and humility than some ordinary ministers (both priests and deacons.) It’s the lay people who are more disposed to see this function as a great privilege, and I keep hearing again and again from them how unworthy they feel to be doing it. Too often, we ordinary ministers who do it every day end up taking this privilege for granted.
    3. I can’t recall a time in my tenure as deacon or as an EMHC before that when I saw someone spill the Precious Blood. I’m sure it happens, but just not in my experience.

    Dcn. G.

  14. Wait a minute here. I thought that obedience to the bishop was the essential to Catholic teaching for everyone, priests and layity? Anyone remember Bishop Zurek and all the posts damning Father Pavone for his failure to obey despite the fact he did indeed obey the bishop? Doesn’t all this dissent sound a little hollow when these bishops have made a decision for their diocese? And where is the canon law specialist who could clarify these issues on the GIRM and the expired indult from 1975 that occured in 2005?

    Frankly, I like to have both the body and blood of our Lord at mass, but if the bishop said this had to stop, I would hope our priests would stop and obey.

    Elizabeth D, I also hate to see someone, especially a Eucharist minister refer to the Body of Christ as Bread or the Blood as wine. When they are provided it to distribute, they should not even be thinking of the Body and Blood of our Lord in those terms.

  15. Personally I am all for it. I never cared for the receiving from one cup. Not very hygienic. As the teaching on transubstantiation states. the substance changes the accidents remain. To think that because it is the Blood of Christ you won’t get sick is ridiculous. I think that is why many dioceses suspend the cup during flu season.

    I think having the Precious Blood on the occasions expressed by Bp Morlino would make the reception more meaningful.

  16. As many commentators have pointed out, bishops have a great deal of autonomy in their own diocese when it comes to matters of “Good Order and Discipline.” Frankly, I am no more concerned about this issue raising its head in Madison as I am concerned that Archbishop Chaput discouraged the use of the “blessing” for non-Catholics in communion lines of Denver or even hat Bishop Bruskewitz has banned “Call to Action” from meeting in his diocese. These are all disciplinary matters — not matters of doctrine or dogma. The bishops involved have the right to make those decisions. The right to countermand or even challenge those directives is “way above my pay grade” as it is among most (if not all) of the commentators on this blog.

    BUT the counter-point is also true. A local diocesan ordinary has the total right to encourage or mandate exactly the opposite position that might be mandated by one of their neighboring bishops. The fact that a number of commentators cite that this “temporary” exception about Communion with the Cup has expired is irrelevant. Bishops have a great deal of authority to over-rule specific provisions like this — even to abrogate certain provisions of universal Canon Law — but only for his diocese. If a specific bishop wants to continue to allow the practice of Communion in the Cup, he may do so. If a specific bishop tells his soon to be ordained deacons that he has no financial responsibility for their retirement welfare, even though in Canon Law he does have that responsibility, his decision applies in that diocese. The same is true for that whole continence issue that raised its head maybe six months ago.

  17. I only see both species on weekdays. I notice that less than half of the daily attendees receive from the chalice. It seems the same few receive daily. I think limiting the reception of both species to certain occasions would emphasize that this occasion is special.
    I know of some folks who think receiving both species gives them more of Jesus. That is sad and also heresy.

  18. I do know a story that may add a bit of color to this discussion about the Diocese of Madison.

    Deacon Len (an accountant for a major multi-national firm) had been ordained in 1984 for a diocese in Ohio — one whose first permanent deacons were ordained in 1973. During Deacon Len’s tenure in Ohio, he was the chaplain/Spiritual Director of a large group of folks attached to the Ministry for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

    Sometime in 1988 or so, he retired from his secular employment and moved from Ohio to Stoughton WI — Diocese of Madison — so that he and his wife could live in retirement near their grand-children. As is appropriate in cases like this, he sent his letter through to then Bishop O’Donnell (1967-1992) to apply for diaconal faculties in that diocese.

    Deacon Len was turned down. Madison did not have any permanently ordained deacons (and would not have until 2004) and Bishop O’Donnell was not really interested in accepting any from other dioceses. That was well within his authority.

    What Deacon Len did, then, was to contact the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The team there welcomed him in open arms and he was assigned to the pastoral staff attached to a fairly large community hospital that was within driving distance of Stoughton yet still within Milwaukee’s territory.

    Two bishops — who were neighbors — taking two totally different positions on a matter of “Good Order and Discipline (as “F” so neatly called it) and both decisions were well within the rights of their specific positions of authority in our church.

    Deacon Len went to his eternal reward in January of 1992.

  19. This is a move in the right direction, Now if only more bishops would eliminate the Sign of Peace so all of my neighbors who see each other all week in the community can quit waving to each other at Mass.

  20. Donal…

    I don’t think it’s up to individual bishops to decide whether to eliminate the Sign of Peace. The GIRM says it’s up to the Conference of Bishops in each country.

    The Sign of Peace has a rather elaborate and beautiful history, which many of us tend to forget. Read more about it here.

    Dcn. G.

  21. @Elizabeth D. – I am quite aware of the transformation into the Body and Blood of Christ, forgive my poor choice of language in my earlier comment.

    Having said that, it does not matter, as Deacon Greg has pointed out, who you receive the most precious Body and Blood from.

    And for those who seem to be unaware, the indult did expire but the GIRM has been updated so that this is not a necessary change.

    Greta, I agree, you are correct and we should be obedient to our bishops. If I lived in that diocese or in Phoenix, I would have to submit, but I do not. Now so many people are critical of my own bishop, but I am here and I am obedient to his shepherding of this diocese. If and when this change were to come to this place, my heart would break further but I would indeed submit.

    I forget which commenter put it is this way but this is a solution in search of a problem. God forgive me my judgment but this seems an exercise of power and control.

    My heart is stuck in Sunday’s first reading from Isaiah, rich food and choice wine. God help us all.

  22. “I wouldn’t precisely call it sad.”

    Well, of course not.

    This is a cheerleading moment. Bishop Morlino sets aside his chasuble and take up the pom-poms for “devout and grim” Catholicism.

  23. Greta…

    I don’t think anyone “damned” Fr. Pavone for his “failure to obey.” He
    did obey. And he never shut up about it. He fought it, loudly and publicly, and did nothing to discourage his supporters from comparing his stay in Amarillo to “house arrest.” Then, in the next breath, Fr. Pavone was reminding everyone how obedient he was being.

    Anyway: the obedience of Holy Orders is different. At ordination, priests and deacons make a formal promise of obedience to the ordaining bishop and all his successors. I’m not aware of anything similar for the laity.

    Dcn. G.

  24. I cannot understand why these bishops are doing this. Regardless of the theology involved, we are to eat his body and drink his blood. You cannot “drink” a consecrated host. To me, this pratice of denying the precious blood under the form of wine diminshes the sacrificial participation of the laity in the mass. In medieval times, the latiy were even discouraged from receiving the host and so the rule of receiving once a year had to be instituted.

  25. Accepting the Eucharist by hand came about by the ground up. In other words, Catholic communities in Europe started celebrating this way. This brought change to the rest of the world several decades later.

    Who knows if the Vatican will choose to extend the limit or enforce the expiration?

  26. When bishops can’t be bothered to express “the fullness of the sign” of the “source and summit of our faith” because, oopsie, an indult expired and we kinda didn’t realize it, I mean, let’s not bother seeing if the Vatican will renew it–well. I think my point is made.

    p.s. if this is all about receiving eucharist via a priest or deacon, I’d be willing to take a little extra time to do it this way. Although properly trained extraordinary ministers don’t bother me. And the priests can the dishes, for crying out loud. We’ll spend the extra time in prayer for the craziness of our church practices.


  27. Many excellent comments.
    Seems there’s ‘clericalism’ and there’s ‘clericalism’. Priests simply doing what they’ve always done, sans indults = bad clericalism.
    Laity doing formerly priestly actions = good clericalism.
    But the priesthood of all believers is our ministering to all creation in our various lay vocations- not taking on quasi-priestly functions, as the popular definition of the term suggests. A misleading construct of the idea.

  28. Here’s a practical concern: what are people with gluten intolerances supposed to do? I’m thinking of celiacs, in particular…

    [Garpu…we have had a couple people like that in my parish. They were able to get specially-made hosts, which they placed in a pyx and gave to the priest or deacon before Mass. They then came up into the sanctuary to receive when the EMHCs came up. Dcn. G.]

  29. Win #29

    Your comment reminded me of something I had forgotten. It was way back in the mid-late 1970’s and our parish was going to be the Sunday worship site of a fairly large group of exchange students from France. My pastor at that time, at all Weekend Masses for two weeks prior to the visit took time to explain in some detail that in Western Europe, receiving Communion-in-the-Hand was customary and approved by the bishops involved. He also said he fully expected the visitors from France to request communion that way; they did, in fact, request communion that way; and everything worked out fine.

    On the other hand (bad pun intended), I was in Poland and Slovakia in June 2004 and the custom of communion-in-the-hand had not yet caught on there. Most of my group of Yanks, however, did go forward with hands open as is the custom of much of Europe and the priests, while somewhat startled, took our request all in stride.

  30. First I read about banning of female altar servers at the cathedral in Phoenix. Next I read about Phoenix limiting Communion under both kinds. Then I read about Madison doing the same. In reading about that topic I read a lot about “flocks” of EMs and that to the chagrin of some, a lot of them were women. Finally I read that there are those who want to limit the functions of permanent deacons.

    In the past change has seemed to come slowly to our diocese. I hope that it will be no different now.

  31. Is this another area in which Catholics are too busy being Catholic to be Christian?

    My goodness, Christians are supposed to be helping people in need. Everything a Christian does, I believe, should be related to the application of charity. And here we sit discussing a rule that is seemingly disconnected from that mission.

  32. Fran

    Your heart would break?

    What are (we) Catholics basing our belief system on? It seems more to do about feelings. If we believe the bread transforms into the body and blood of Christ what else do we need? You just received Christ who is everything we could ever imagine or feel. Is that not good enough for you? I don’t get it.

    Listening to my fellow Catholics I think of what Lucifer said. “I will not serve”. Unless you agree with me and only do what I want I will not serve.

    “…an exercise of power and control”

    Whose control and we talking about here? Ours?

  33. The American bishops of the Catholic, Orthodox and Episcopalian churches all had the Center for disease control to study any cases of infection, disease from the reception of
    Communion, from the cup. In a review of over 40 years, not a single case reported. Cup wiping and the alcoholic content of the Precious Blood seem to have prevented it. Let us not leave out the possibility of Divine Care as well!

  34. Some basic questions that keep bugging me:
    1. Who owns God?
    2. Who owns the Church?
    4. Who owns the sacraments?
    5. How hard is it to tell the difference between serving and lording over?
    6. Who owns me?

  35. Jake,

    I’m not sure what your comment has to do with this.

    That is your problem, you see only what you believe. In all honesty, for the Church to continue, everything should be examined on a continuing basis for it’s consistency, for it’s charity, for it’s adherence to Holy Scripture and for it’s alignment with Christ’s mission become New Covenant on Earth.

    You see a single tree and call it the forest. The Church has many responsibilities, one of which, is charity.

    Details matter, they always have, they always will. How else would the Church persisted over the years against heresies, schisms, etc. It persists because it takes a stand. I’m not advocating that this issue is schismatic in nature but that any Bishop that makes an effort to institute more reverence and care regarding the blessed sacrament should not be viewed with contempt.

  36. First of all, how many hundreds of thousands of babies were maimed and murdered today because Fr. Pavone is STILL imprisoned?? That needs to be every Catholic’s priority ASAP. And secondly, we must protect the Holy Eucharist from EMHCs so it can never again be corrupted by unworthy, unholy folks who are possibly using birth control and committing other murderous acts. Our Lord must only be distributed by clergy so it can never be tainted by laypeople’s sins.

  37. It’s all about a role-back of women EMs. nothing more to guess about. Roll back Deacons too.. If the women EMs take it in stride they will be given more restrictions such as no more lectors.. Maybe mantillas next year too. The 200 other bishops will remain silent too.

  38. Profetus…

    You’re so off-base, I should delete your comment. But it needs serious correction.

    1. Fr. Pavone is NOT being “imprisoned.” The nuns at the convent say he comes and goes as he pleases, he has a kitchen, full Internet access, whatever he needs. They describe the conditions there to be very hospitable, and say those who are insinuating otherwise are just trying to cause trouble.
    2. If you think liberating Fr. Pavone needs to be “every Catholic’s priority,” you are really off the rails. Check your catechism. The priority of every Catholic needs to be the salvation of our immortal souls.
    3. Re: the Eucharist. “Our Lord must only be distributed by clergy so it can never be tainted by laypeople’s sins.” Do you have ANY idea of the sins committed by some clergy? Do you read the papers? Get a grip. Please. And if you go off the rails again, you’re going to have your comment deleted.

    Dcn. G.

  39. garpu, I belonged to a campus community for a few years where, generally speaking, communion was never distributed under both species. When a student had a gluten intolerance he or she simply had to let the chaplains know and they would give that person the Precious Blood from the main chalice after everyone else had received under the form of bread. Didn’t cause any trouble at all and most people probably didn’t even notice.

  40. “I am sorry – as an Minister of the Eucharist I see more “abuses” around the bread than around the wine.”

    Fran Rossi, you have just said in one sentence everything which is leading the Bishops to do just this.

    You are an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, not a Minister of the Eucharist.

    It is no longer bread and wine after the Consecration.

  41. FS:

    I am sure that Fran meant: “I see more ‘abuses’ around what my eyes see is the appearance of bread than around what my eyes see is the appearance of wine.”

  42. A quick Google search tells me that Fran is not alone in using the term “Minister of the Eucharist.” There are web pages of Catholic organizations that use the term Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist on the first page of results.

  43. Joseph W, did you read the rest of Fran’s comment, that she would obey her bishop even if she didn’t like what he decided? Our feelings are our own. No one can tell another person what he or she “should’ feel.
    And re: comment #47; I think all of us here are cognizant that the consecrated bread and wine is the Body and Blood of Christ, and that lay ministers of Holy Communion are classed as extraordinary and not ordinary. We do not have to do a “gotcha” every time someone forgets to say it exactly that way in a comment.

  44. Ukeedukee: Having created you from nothing and redeemed you as a new creation, I would say that God owns you.

    Furthermore, God owns the Church, which he has created and redeemed, joined to himself, endowed with authority, and continues to preserve. Our calling, as church and as individual persons, is to holiness — to be conformed to God according to his unique will for each of us. Your creation in God’s image, including free will, enables you to make a genuine response to this call, affording you the possibility of referring glory back to God in eternity.

    God has created us not for ourselves, but for himself, not out of any need for us but as an act of love for us. Our nature finds its perfection in God, the Alpha and Omega. To misunderstand this call and God’s will for our response to it as an encounter with “lording it” over us, as a squabble over “rights”, is to misunderstand everything, including the meaning of one’s existence, of all existence.

  45. One of the biggest misconceptions people have is not being aware that the Deacon is the Ordinary Minister of the Eucharist. That being said, I witness people at my parish refusing to receive from the Deacon. This notion that one must receive “just” from the priest is a form of prideful disobedience where the laity determines the rules for the reception of Holy Communion. I always like to remind people who think like this to say to them, “is Jesus freely giving Himself to all, or is He considering their worthiness?” Our obligation is to examine our conscience before we receive to determine if we are in a state of grace. I am certain that there are many communicants receiving from the hand of the priest who are not in a state of grace. So, where is the greater sin?

  46. Fran wrote: “Having said that, it does not matter, as Deacon Greg has pointed out, who you receive the most precious Body and Blood from.”

    It does not change anything in regards to the substance of the Eucharist, which IS the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. It often DOES matter in other ways. Often EMHCs are dressed immodestly or otherwise inappropriately (sports jerseys, shorts, etc), this happens frequently in my parish which is full of young people, and it is upsetting and disturbing to me to receive the Bridegroom of my soul from a woman who visually is sometimes presenting an image like a prostitute. Whereas receiving from a priest or deacon who is a chaste and consecrated icon of Christ, is the ordinary and ideal situation (our priests here are very excellent, but even if he is failing in chastity he is still a priest of Jesus Christ). My preference for receiving from an ordinary minister is not about whether his manner is exceptionally reverent or attentive, and his being used to it is much more comfortable than the varied manners of many EMHCs. Since my preference is reflected in the preference for use of ordinary ministers of Holy Communion in liturgical law I don’t think I need to justify it. I have had some very bad experiences like having an EMHC profane the Eucharist right in front of me by crushing a consecrated Host in her fingers (while smiling at me!) when there was only one left in her ciborium and she wanted to break It into fragments, never is an EMHC allowed to do this, and the priest, who had returned to the altar, had plenty more Hosts. Someone coughing a large amount of Precious Blood onto the floor and nobody doing anything about it until I received Communion and was able to get over there and wipe His Blood carefully from the floor with my cotton shirt sleeve which I later washed in the appropriate way and poured onto the earth.

    Elaine, regardless of the high amount of poor phrasing that is actually used in parishes, the document Redemptionis Sacramentum (which has force as liturgical law) firmly requires us to call them precisely “Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion” and not “Ministers of the Eucharist” or anything else of that sort. RS explains the reason for this, there must be no confusion about the distinction between them and the Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, and that their use is strictly extraordinary, must be as limited as possible, and not meant to be routine. We all do need to try to always say “Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion”.

  47. If any EMHC is presenting themselves in an inappropriate way in dress or action, we have only the Pastor to blame. If he can permit such profane behavior I would not feel any better when I was receiving Holy Communion from his hands.

  48. Having been an EMHC for over 25 years now (I began in college), I can assure you that we are NEVER allowed to serve if we are not appropriately dressed. And, at my current parish, that means that women are wearing skirts or dresses and the men are in at least a sport coat and tie (but usually wearing a suit). That has been true at every campus ministry and parish where I have had the honor to serve.

    In addition, I have yet in all my travels to ever see a EMHC treat the host or the cup with anything less than reverence and respect. Most of the EMHC that I know and have worked are humbled by what they do. We are all called to service and that includes those of us who function as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.

  49. @HJP

    “I cannot understand why these bishops are doing this….To me, this pratice of denying the precious blood under the form of wine DIMINISHES the sacrificial participation of the laity in the mass.” (caps added by me)

    I am telling you this out of charity: that’s heresy. Maybe it’s just an issue of using precise language, but we must remember that Christ’s body, blood, soul and divinity are fully present, even under just one of the species. Receiving one species does not diminish anything, and the clergy should be careful to properly catechize the laity of this fact.

  50. Katie and Fran: I am quire prepared to believe that your experiences of EMHCs are of reverent, dutiful people of good faith, prepared for their service as well as they can be.

    The question remains, however: how well is that? Observations about an extraordinary minister’s technical competence and reverent demeanor are all very well, but do not speak to one’s ontological character. The Church is incarnational: we have been given signs as a means to grace. The sacramental character of the priest or deacon includes graces pertaining to ministering as Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. Lay people do not participate in these graces of ordination, no matter how well-intentioned. Moreover, through their ordination, clerics are configured to Christ in a permanent, indelible way: they are signs of the Lord in ways the rest of us cannot be. At the sacramental summit of the liturgy, why would we want to fill the sanctuary with countersigns?

  51. the Deacon is the Ordinary Minister of the Eucharist.

    Not so, Amy. Redemptionis Sacramentum 154 says: “the name ‘minister of the Eucharist’ belongs properly to the Priest alone.”

    [Unless I’m mistaken, “Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion” applies to the Deacon. Dcn. G.]

  52. I’ve seen many more hosts dropped than occasions on which the Precious Blood was spilled. Maybe people should be asking to have distribution of Communion under the species of bread stopped rather than under the species of wine.

  53. While it is true that one receives the entire Body and Blood of Jesus under the form of bread, and does so equally whether the Sacrament is received from a priest, deacon, or extraordinary minister — it’s the same Jesus, folks — one also receives the full Body and Blood of Jesus under the form of wine, whoever the minister is.

    So why do both, if either suffices? Because it’s what Jesus told us to do.

  54. Call me crazy but I was taught that the Eucharist was instituted during the Passover Meal which Jesus celebrated at the Last Supper, wherein He ate and DRANK with His disciples. During that same Passover meal today there is traditionally a blessing for both bread and wine, just as there is in our Eucharist. We were also taught that the altar was a table around which the faithful ate and drank. Now my questions is, with so many references to “meal” “supper” “table” and so on, who eats a meal without drinking? To me it’s obvious Bishops Olmsted and Morlino not only are not liturgical theologians they also refrain from drinking anything at breakfast, lunch and dinner…….

  55. In many parishes especially larger ones it is totally impractical to distribute Communion under both speciesat SUnday mass. When it is offered on weekdays with a small congregation, few people receive from the cup–about one third.
    Recently an EMHC for over 20 years ran out of the Precious Blood and went to the credence table to put more WINE in the chalice from a cruet. When questioned by the priest she said she “ran out”–not a clue that it had not been consecrated.When the purification rules were changed it was because some EMHC were pouring the Precious Blood into the sink rather than consuming it.
    We do not NEED to receive both species at every mass.

  56. The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston seems to not have the controversies of other dioceses.

    I think stable leadership is the key. Bishop Jospeh Fiorenza and now Daniel Cardinal DiNardo have been very instrumental in seeing to that.

    Our diocese is one of the most diverse in the nation and one of the most active.

    Thank God.

  57. Romulus,

    It seems to me that you a confusing the consecration of the Body and Blood with the distribution. As Deacon Greg has repeatedly stated, it doesn’t matter from whom one receives the Body and Blood – it is the same Jesus. If you feel more comfortable recieving from a priest, then so be it – but I hope you understand that the Body and Blood of our Lord is no more or less sacred because of who is distributing it to you.

  58. Katie, it seems to me that certain others are guilty of that confusion. I have been at some pains to call attention to the distinction. I regret if my efforts have been misunderstood by some.

    If Deacon Greg believes it makes no difference whether or not the minister of Holy Communion is a cleric, he is mistaken. RS 154 is quite clear on that point as well:

    by reason of their sacred Ordination, the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are the Bishop, the Priest and the Deacon, to whom it belongs therefore to administer Holy Communion to the lay members of Christ’s faithful during the celebration of Mass. In this way their ministerial Office in the Church is fully and accurately brought to light, and the sign value of the Sacrament is made complete.

  59. Romulus,

    While the sign value may be complete when Communion is ministered by an ordinary minister, that does not mean that the intrinsic grace is in any way diminished when it is received from an extraordinary minister.

    But it does give an instructive parallel. Just as the sign value is complete when ordinary ministers administer the sacrament, so too the sign value is complete when it is administered under both species.

  60. Deacon Greg,

    I thank you for posting the rich history of the Sign of Peace. But I frequent three parishes and the display that occurs after the Our Father and prior to receiving Holy Communion is a little less than a Wave in a stadium by sports fans, if you will excused a touch of hyperbole.

    I don’t see any way to modify this display among lay Catholics as they are constituted today–poor in catechetics and rich in fellowship.

    The Sign of Peace has reduced, in my opinion, respect for the Sacrifice of Mass (or the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist as the Sacrifice of the Mass is now called).

    But then I am a refugee from the Latin Mass who attends Novus Ordo Masses because he is too lazy to drive to the Latin Masses available in his area. Perhaps the Sign of Peace is telling me to drive to the Latin Mass or pay the price of witnessing the Sign of Peace, which so many seem to enjoy so much.

  61. that does not mean that the intrinsic grace is in any way diminished when it is received from an extraordinary minister.

    Well that’s rather my point, isn’t it? In #58 above, I attempted to observe that the personal disposition of the minister is irrelevant to the graces of the Sacrament.

    I am aware of what GIRM 281 says about both species, and am not surprised to see it pitted against RS 154 (and GIRM 154). The answer of course is that we must search for a way to reconcile them. I call your attention to the following, from the Congregation for the Clergy et al., Instruction I>Ecclesiae de mysterio, Practical Provisions, art. 8 §2: (1997)

    To avoid creating confusion, certain practices are to be avoided and eliminated where such have emerged in particular Churches:

    the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass thus arbitrarily extending the concept of “a great number of the faithful”.

  62. I am so fortunate to have St. Monica as my name sake. Once, when she was disturbed by different church customs while away from home, the great bishop St. Ambrose set her heart at ease with his wise counsel: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
    If my Bishop decides to implement the distribution of communion in one form then I will obey- simply, humbly, and joyfully. My personal preferences are secondary to the Magesterium of Holy Mother Church. Jesus put them in charge for a very good reason and I have no intention to dispute that.
    All the Bishops and priests are in my prayers.
    God bless you!!

  63. It seems that a lot of people are concentrating on the rubrics and not on the mission – a critique, not a criticism.

    I wish that everyone would take up a mission task of their own and see where it goes.

    Perhaps we would all worry less about the form and more about the spirit.

    God bless.

  64. I find this an interesting topic. I am Orthodox and we take both the body and blood by spoon. The priest takes a small portion of the body (which is leavened bread immersed in the blood in the chalice), and serves it on a small spoon.

    As a possible solution to your problem, why not do what the Armenian Church does? (the Orthodox Church is not in communion with the Armenian, but how they serve communion is interesting for this discussion). The Armenian Church uses similar wafers to what the Roman Catholic Church does; the priest dips part of the wafer in the blood, then places it on the communicants tongue. This allows the recipients to receive both kinds, and only the priest actually touches the chalice.

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