If a priest acts ‘in the person of Christ’ (in persona Christi) then what does an extraordinary minister do? Are they acting in the ‘person of the priest’ who is himself acting ‘in the person of Christ’; in other words, are they now to be viewed as acting in persona sacerdotis? And since this is the logical conclusion, I suppose we can now call these lay persons ‘alter sacerdotus’ or “other priests”; as the priest is also known to be an ‘alter Christus’ or another Christ. Therefore, a lay minister of the Eucharist is acting in the person of Christ, twice removed which is total lunacy.
All of this, of course, is preposterous. But even more preposterous is the role of an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion who is a woman; a woman who is pretending to be a priest (priestess) and carry out the ministry of the ordained priest. Talk about a confusing mess. Is there any wonder why women and men are confused about their genders, their roles in life or their limitations and their abilities? Everybody seems to think that they can be whatever that want to pretend to be and we encourage it. So no reason to shake your heads at those who want to be female priests, or those people who want to be married to their own gender or who are not even sure what gender they are. You can be whatever you want to be and people should treat you exactly like whatever you have decided that you are; though you really aren’t and it is nothing more than pretending and wishful fantasy. We are what we say we are is the new maxim.
So Eucharistic Ministers is a fabricated, non-entity, that priests and bishops even utter though the Church has expressly condemned that phrase and instructed them to be called ‘extraordinary’ for they are to be used only in the most extraordinary circumstances. And women in this role seem to be totally out of place; at least in my mind.
Here are a few examples of what has been previously taught concerning the laity receiving in the hand and the use of extraordinary ministers and such:
To show that Communion in the hand was once a “universal practice”, a particular text of St. Cyril of Alexandria is habitually quoted, as to how we ought to make a throne of our hands to receive the King. What is not usually noted, though, is what any reliable patrologist could verify: THIS TEXT IS OF DUBIOUS ORIGIN. In fact, it is more likely from a Nestorian bishop. Further, we have VERIFIED texts of Leo the Great, and Gregory the great, and St. Basil, and many others, that prove the exact opposite.
– Pope St. Sixtus I (c. AD 115) “The Sacred Vessels are not to be handled by others than those consecrated to the Lord.”
– Pope St. Eutychian (275-283) Forbade the faithful from taking the Sacred Host in their hand.
– St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church (330-379) “The right to receive Holy Communion in the hand is permitted only in times of persecution.” St. Basil considered Communion in the hand so irregular that he did not hesitate to consider it a grave fault.
– The Council of Saragossa (380) Excommunicated anyone who dared continue receiving Holy Communion by hand. This was confirmed by the Synod of Toledo.
– Pope St. Leo the Great (440-461) Energetically defended and required faithful obedience to the practice of administering Holy Communion on the tongue of the faithful.
– The Synod of Rouen (650) “Do not put the Eucharist in the hands of any layman or laywomen, but ONLY in their mouths.” Condemned Communion in the hand to halt widespread abuses that occurred from this practice, and as a safeguard against sacrilege.
– The Sixth Ecumenical Council, at Constantinople (680-681) Forbade the faithful to take the Sacred Host in their hand, threatening transgressors with excommunication.
– St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) “Out of reverence towards this sacrament [the Holy Eucharist], nothing touches it, but what is consecrated; hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest’s hands, for touching this sacrament.” (Summa Theologica, Part III, Q. 82, Art. 3, Rep. Obj. 8)
– The Council of Trent (1545-1565) “The fact that only the priest gives Holy Communion with his consecrated hands is an Apostolic Tradition.”
– Pope John Paul II, Inaestimabile Donum, April 17, 1980, sec. 9 “It is not permitted that the faithful should themselves pick up the consecrated bread and the sacred chalice, still less that they should hand them from one to another.”
The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion
The non-ordained faithful already collaborate with the sacred ministers in diverse pastoral situations since “This wonderful gift of the Eucharist, which is the greatest gift of all, demands that such an important mystery should be increasingly better known and its saving power more fully shared”.(95)
Such liturgical service is a response to the objective needs of the faithful especially those of the sick and to those liturgical assemblies in which there are particularly large numbers of the faithful who wish to receive Holy Communion.
§ 1. The canonical discipline concerning extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion must be correctly applied so as to avoid generating confusion. The same discipline establishes that the ordinary minister of Holy Communion is the Bishop, the Priest and the Deacon.(96) Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are those instituted as acolytes and the faithful so deputed in accordance with Canon 230, § 3.(97)
A non-ordained member of the faithful, in cases of true necessity, may be deputed by the diocesan bishop, using the appropriate form of blessing for these situation, to act as an extraordinary minister to distribute Holy Communion outside of liturgical celebrations ad actum vel ad tempus or for a more stable period. In exceptional cases or in unforeseen circumstances, the priest presiding at the liturgy may authorize such ad actum.(98)
§ 2. Extraordinary ministers may distribute Holy Communion at eucharistic celebrations only when there are no ordained ministers present or when those ordained ministers present at a liturgical celebration are truly unable to distribute Holy Communion.(99) They may also exercise this function at eucharistic celebrations where there are particularly large numbers of the faithful and which would be excessively prolonged because of an insufficient number of ordained ministers to distribute Holy Communion. (100)
This function is supplementary and extraordinary (101) and must be exercised in accordance with the norm of law. It is thus useful for the diocesan bishop to issue particular norms concerning extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion which, in complete harmony with the universal law of the Church, should regulate the exercise of this function in his diocese. Such norms should provide, amongst other things, for matters such as the instruction in eucharistic doctrine of those chosen to be extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, the meaning of the service they provide, the rubrics to be observed, the reverence to be shown for such an august Sacrament and instruction concerning the discipline on admission to Holy Communion.
To avoid creating confusion, certain practices are to be avoided and eliminated where such have emerged in particular Churches:
— extraordinary ministers receiving Holy Communion apart from the other faithful as though concelebrants;
— association with the renewal of promises made by priests at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, as well as other categories of faithful who renew religious vows or receive a mandate as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion;
— the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass thus arbitrarily extending the concept of “a great number of the faithful”. __ On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of the Priest
I don’t know about you but it all seems a bit silly to me and detrimental to our understanding of the Holy Eucharist and of the priesthood as well. I also feel complicit to this abuse by receiving Holy Communion from the hands of these individuals though I am sure that none of them (or few of them) understand how foolish their feigned priestly ministry appears and actually is. It is pure buffoonery and an abuse of the teachings of the Church. Where are the acolytes of old when such situations arose for ministerial help . . . all of which were men of course? This pretend ministry needs to come to an end as we are turning Mass into a not so well hidden version of a clown Mass. And this is why I will not receive Holy Communion from a lay person.