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Annette M. Shabbits wrote:

Dear Sir,

I recently attended a Catholic Church in my area for Mass and the baptism of my niece's baby daughter. During Holy Communion, the priest sat down! and allowed the lay Eucharistic Ministers to distribute Holy Communion.

  • Do the rubrics allow a priest to sit down at this time?

He is neither old nor handicapped.

Thank you very much in advance for your answer and God bless.

Annette

  { Do the rubrics allow a priest to sit down at this time while Lay Ministers distribute Communion? }

Mike replied:

Hi Annette,

This is totally inappropriate and prohibited by Church Law.

The priest is the ordinal ministry who does represent Christ himself. He is the primary minister and administer of the Eucharist at Holy Mass. His actions, or lack there of, are a scandalous abuse.

What you call Eucharistic Ministers, the Church calls Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist.

  • Why?

Because they are used in extraordinary circumstances, not ordinary ones. The priest himself is a Eucharistic Minister; he is the primary Eucharistic Minister.

The only time when Extraordinary Ministers may be considered by the priest is if the numbers at Holy Mass are too many that distributing Holy Communion within a reasonable period of time would take way too long. Many times, this directive is abused.

I, myself, have run into an identical situation at a neighboring parish during daily Mass.  I vaguely remember hearing the priest say that he had some disability with his legs or with standing for prolonged periods of time. For this reason, he also sat while Lay Extraordinary Ministers distributed Holy Communion.

In my personal opinion, if he was really interested in being a model witness for the Catholic priesthood, after consecrating the Blessed Sacrament at Mass, he would instruct a lay person to bring a chair to the front of the church, in the place where he would usually distribute Holy Communion, if his legs were unhealthy, and distribute the Blessed Sacrament while sitting down. Simple!

After talking in charity with the celebrant about this, if appropriate, I would make the local bishop aware of this.

I hope this helps,

Mike

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