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“Extraordinary” Minister of Communion makes great points in resignation letter February 9, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, error, Eucharist, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, Revolution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Virtue.

Not my usual fare, but I thought this individual made excellent points in their letter to their pastor resigning from their position as EMHC.  I pray their faith is strong, they have only just cracked open the can of worms that often leads to discovery of stonewalling, bad intent, rejection of Tradition, and revolutionary mindsets deep within the Church.  That process of discovery can be shattering for some souls.  I excerpt what I felt were some of the stronger points below (I add some comments):

…….My decision comes down to a deeper discovery of Sacred Tradition pertaining to the Sacred Species. The desire to be obedient to the teachings of our Church Fathers and the Successors of St Peter throughout the centuries led me to this humble juncture in my spiritual journey. It is my conviction that Lay Persons like myself are in no position whatsoever to handle and dispense the Holy Eucharist. [Welcome to the club.  Of course the Eucharist remains just as holy and divine when handled by a lay person.  THAT IS PRECISELY THE POINT!  We have no business handling God present in His Flesh under the accidents of bread, as the Church firmly believed and taught for century after century. That is reserved for those hands set aside, ordained to that purpose.]

……About 12 months ago, I was curious to discover the preferred form prescribed by the Church down the centuries to receive the Holy Eucharist. I was determined to go back as long as possible, so I began my study on church documents. I was amply satisfied, from the Catechism of the Council of Trent that the preferred form was kneeling, on the tongue. Intriguingly, I also discovered from the Catechism that the Church has Always Prohibited Lay Persons from Touching the Sacred Species. The administration of the Holy Eucharist to the faithful has always been reserved to the consecrated hands of priests (acting ‘In Persona Christi’, ‘In the Person of Christ’), whereas lay persons have always been forbidden to touch the Blessed Sacrament. [This wasn’t something invented at Trent. The Council of Elvira in 5th (4th?) century Spain provides very clear pronunciations in favor of receiving Communion kneeling and on the tongue, and forbidding lay people from handling the Sacred Species]

……So the Cathechim of Trent affirms that the power to consecrate and administer the Holy Eucharist is reserved exclusively for a validly ordained priest (with the exception of emergency, as shown above, which I will address in detail later), and this practice is part of apostolic tradition, going all the way back to the Lord’s Supper itself. As we agree, it was at the upper room when our Lord instituted the Sacrament of Eucharist and the Priesthood – which explains why only a priest can self-communicate, as per the apostles.   [Sounds like there has been an argument going back and forth over whether EMHCs are a suitable practice or a grave abuse]

This practice has been echoed by many Holy Popes throughout Church history. For example, “There is nothing which belongs more to the Church and there is nothing Jesus Christ wanted more closely reserved for its shepherds than the dispensation of the sacraments He instituted.” (Pope Gregory XVI, Commissum Divinitus, 1835). Very few bishops today pay the least heed to the admonition of St. Pope John Paul II in his letter Dominicae cenae, 24 February 1980 “To touch the sacred species and to distribute them with their own hands is a privilege of the ordained”.

The decrees of previous Councils in church history, was even more decisive in its language:

> Council of Saragozza (380AD) had launched excommunication to those who dared to treat the Most Holy Eucharist as if they were in a time of persecution, a time in which even lay-people found themselves out of necessity, touching the Sacred Species with their hands. (SAENZ DE AGUIRRE, Notitia Concilorum Hispaniae, Salamanca, 1686, pg 495);

> Saint Eutichiano, Pope from 275 to 283 AD, so that laypeople would not touch the Sacred Species with their hands, forbade them to take the Blessed Sacrament to the sick: ‘Nullus praesumat tradere communionem laico vel femminae ad deferendum infirmo’ (Let no one dare consign Holy Communion to a lay man or woman for them to take to the sick) (P.L. V, coll.163-168); and

The Council of Rouen (around 650), forbade the minister of the Eucharist to place the Sacred Species in the hand of lay communicants. ‘Whosoever will have transgressed these nowms, disdain God Almighty and in doing so will have dishonoured himself and should be removed from the altar’. (P.G., vol. X, coll. 1099-1100)[Great bits of evidence for a proof.  If I knew these, I had forgotten them]

The author then derives more points from Aquinas and Scripture.  The argument is, in its totality, clear, convincing, and devastatingly effective.  It obliterates the false rationales used to justify massive, de facto use of lay people as so called “extraordinary” ministers of Communion, and demonstrates that this practice represents a grave novelty in the life of the Church and one which has played a huge role in undermining belief in the Real Presence (we get back to that feature or bug thing).

I thought this point from the conclusion really astute:

“I need you all to bring Jesus to the home bound because I am too busy” the priest would tell us during our formation session –  we are indeed living in strange times in which priests are engaged in activities which laymen could undertake, while laymen undertake their work of taking Holy Communion to the sick, is positively bizarre, a fitting epitomization of the ethos of Church today.

In traditional parishes, lay people do not handle the Blessed Sacrament, in my experience.  Priests routinely bring the Blessed Sacrament not only to those who are gravely ill, but even to those who might have a brief illness that prevents them from assisting at Mass on a single Sunday (as I experienced when I had a leg infection in 2013).

So my prayer is that this person finds their way to a traditional parish, where the Blessed Sacrament is treated with the reverence and adoration with which it is due (among a thousand other distinctions), and where priests are far more oriented to their role as pastors of souls and confectors of Sacraments than being business managers for Amchurch Corp.  That is indeed a harsh assessment, but one that long experience has indicated is the truth far too often than not.




1. Barry - February 9, 2016
Tantumblogo - February 9, 2016

Your book? Want to send me a copy to review and publicize?

2. Don - February 9, 2016

I have never received in my hand, though I have touched the Eucharist once, when a priest and I had the unfortunate incident happen and the sacred host fell as he was placing it on my tongue. I picked it up immediately, and consumed it immediately, and begged the Lord’s pardon to myself then and later. The place where it fell should have been covered and carefully cleaned afterwards, which was not done. Had there been an altar boy holding the communion-plate, the purpose for which is obvious, the host sacred host would never have fallen onto the floor.


“The General Instruction of the Roman Missal mentions the Communion-plate in the section concerning articles to be prepared for Mass: “The following are also to be prepared . . . the Communion-plate for the Communion of the faithful” (118).

Additionally, Remptionis Sacramentum encourages its use: “The Communion-plate for the Communion of the faithful should be retained, so as to avoid the danger of the sacred host or some fragment of it falling” (93).

3. Mrs. Maureen Avila - February 9, 2016

I grew up when all Roman Catholics were traditional…but having 5 priests in a diocesan parish was not unusual, and in religious order parishes there could even be a higher number. Also there was a fast from midnight from everything including water, so at the later morning Masses, quite a number of people did not receive communion; whereas now we have fewer priests to distribute Communion, and more people receiving at the Mass.
I am not an expert on early Church Masses, but my understanding from what I had always been taught was that in the very early Church , the faithful did handle the Eucharist… the earliest century you mention is the fourth.

Tantumblogo - February 9, 2016

It actually varied quite a bit, geographically. Comprehension of the nature of the Blessed Sacrament and its need for very careful handling developed first in the West. Communion in the hand was something that was fairly vital in the earliest Church, meeting under constant threat of persecution and with Masses often truncated to the minimum possible. There is evidence that Communion kneeling and on the tongue was developing in the West by the 3rd century, at least, if not earlier. Communion in the hand persisted longer in the East, even into the 5th century. Generally by ca. AD 500, however, Communion was received kneeling and on the tongue as the default method of reception, and a great body of theology grew up around that form. A body that has never been refuted or even substantially undermined.

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