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Asa Bryant wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Is it wrong for me to avoid receiving the Precious Blood from the cup during Holy Communion when it is administered by an (EMHC) Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion?

This particular parish as two Priests and two Deacons.

  • Rarely are there more than 200 communicants per the average Mass
  • On Sundays there are less than 150 communicants
  • During weekday Masses there are rarely more than 20 communicants

There is always one EMHC at the weekday Mass and up to 8 EMHC's along with the celebrant and deacon at Sunday Masses. There are three Masses on Sundays — one that is bilingual. Specifically during all Masses, there are two to four EMHC's, even when the Priest and Deacon serve, except during the weekday Masses.

Sunday Masses run on average of 48-52 minutes. Weekday (Chapel) Masses average 20-22 minutes. The parish priest told me that the Bishop ordinarily does not allow intinction in his diocese.

  • Is this discretion granted to the Bishop?

Thank you!

Asa

  { Do I have to receive Holy Communion from an (EMHC) Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion? }

Mike replied:

Dear Asa,

Thanks for the question.

I did a little research and came up with the following answers:

  1. On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist
    2. The distribution of Holy Communion
    from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline Of The Sacrament

    [91.] In distributing Holy Communion it is to be remembered that

      “sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who seek them in a reasonable manner, are rightly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them”. (Code of Canon Law, Canon 843 § 1; cf. Canon 915.)

    Hence any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to Holy Communion. Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.

  2. On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist - Extraordinary Functions Of Lay Faithful
    from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline Of The Sacrament

    [147.] When the Church’s needs require it, however, if sacred ministers are lacking, lay members of Christ’s faithful may supply for certain liturgical offices according to the norm of law. (cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 230 § 3; Pope John Paul II, Allocution during a Symposium concerning the collaboration of laypersons in the pastoral ministry of Priests, 22 April 1994, n. 2: L’Osservatore Romano, 23 April 1994; Congregation for the Clergy et al., Instruction, Ecclesiae de mysterio, Prooemium: AAS 89 (1997) pp. 852-856.) Such faithful are called and appointed to carry out certain functions, whether of greater or lesser weight, sustained by the Lord’s grace. Many of the lay Christian faithful have already contributed eagerly to this service and still do so, especially in missionary areas where the Church is still of small dimensions or is experiencing conditions of persecution, (cf. Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Letter, Redemptoris missio, nn. 53-54: AAS 83 (1991) pp. 300-302; Congregation for the Clergy et al., Instruction, Ecclesiae de mysterio, Prooemium: AAS 89 (1997) pp. 852-856.) but also in areas affected by a shortage of Priests and Deacons.


  3. Norms For The Distribution And Reception Of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds In The Dioceses Of The United States Of America
    from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

    24. The General Instruction then indicates that the Diocesan Bishop may lay down norms for the distribution of Communion under both kinds for his own diocese, which must be observed. . . . The Diocesan Bishop also has the faculty to allow Communion under both kinds, whenever it seems appropriate to the Priest to whom charge of a given community has been entrusted as [its] own pastor, provided that the faithful have been well instructed and there is no danger of the profanation of the Sacrament or that the rite would be difficult to carry out on account of the number of participants or for some other reason.

    In practice, the need to avoid obscuring the role of the Priest and the Deacon as the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion by an excessive use of extraordinary minister might in some circumstances constitute a reason either for limiting the distribution of Holy Communion under both species or for using intinction instead of distributing the Precious Blood from the chalice.

    Norms established by the Diocesan Bishop must be observed wherever the Eucharist is celebrated in the diocese, which are also to be observed in churches of religious and at celebrations with small groups.

    Catechesis for Receiving the Body and Blood of the Lord

    25. When Communion under both kinds is first introduced by the Diocesan Bishop and also whenever the opportunity for instruction is present, the faithful should be properly catechized on the following matters in the light of the teaching and directives of the General Instruction:

    • the ecclesial nature of the Eucharist as the common possession of the whole Church;
    • the Eucharist as the memorial of Christ's sacrifice, his death and resurrection, and as the sacred banquet;
    • the real presence of Christ in the eucharistic elements, whole and entire—in each element of consecrated bread and wine (the doctrine of concomitance);
    • the kinds of reverence due at all times to the sacrament, whether within the eucharistic Liturgy or outside the celebration; (cf. Congregation of Rites, Eucharisticum Mysterium: On Worship of the Eucharist [EM] (May 25, 1967), part I, "General Principles to Be Given Prominence in Catechizing the People on the Eucharistic Mystery" (DOL 179, nos. 1234-1244). and
    • the role that ordinary and, if necessary, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist are assigned in the eucharistic assembly.

    The Minister of Holy Communion

    26. By virtue of his sacred ordination, the bishop or Priest offers the sacrifice in the person of Christ, the Head of the Church. He receives gifts of bread and wine from the faithful, offers the sacrifice to God, and returns to them the very Body and Blood of Christ, as from the hands of Christ himself. [GIRM Number 93] Thus bishops and Priests are considered the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion. In addition the Deacon who assists the bishop or Priest in distributing Communion is an ordinary minister of Holy Communion. When the Eucharist is distributed under both forms, "the Deacon himself administers the chalice." [GIRM, Number 182]

    27. In every celebration of the Eucharist there should be a sufficient number of ministers for Holy Communion so that it can be distributed in an orderly and reverent manner. Bishops, Priests, and Deacons distribute Holy Communion by virtue of their office as ordinary ministers of the Body and Blood of the Lord. [GIRM, Number 108]

    Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

    28. When the size of the congregation or the incapacity of the bishop, Priest, or Deacon requires it, the celebrant may be assisted by other bishops, Priests, or Deacons. [GIRM, Number 162] If such ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are not present, "the Priest may call upon extraordinary ministers to assist him, that is, duly instituted acolytes or even other faithful who have been duly deputed for this purpose. In case of necessity, the Priest may depute suitable faithful for this single occasion." (GIRM, Number 162 cf. also Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments, Immensae Caritatis: Instruction on Facilitating Reception of Communion in Certain Circumstances, section 1.I.c (DOL 264, no. 2075).) Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion should receive sufficient spiritual, theological, and practical preparation to fulfill their role with knowledge and reverence. When recourse is had to Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, especially in the distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds, their number should not be increased beyond what is required for the orderly and reverent distribution of the Body and Blood of the Lord. In all matters such Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should follow the guidance of the Diocesan Bishop.

  4. From the Canon Law of the Church.

    Canon 910

    §1 The ordinary minister of holy communion is a Bishop, a priest or a deacon.

    §2 The extraordinary minister of holy communion is an acolyte, or another of Christ's faithful deputed in accordance with Canon 230 §3.

    Canon 230 §3 Where the needs of the Church require and ministers are not available, lay people, even though they are not lectors or acolytes, can supply certain of their functions, that is, exercise the ministry of the word, preside over liturgical prayers, confer baptism and distribute Holy Communion, in accordance with the provisions of the law.

    Canon 911

    §1 The duty and right to bring the blessed Eucharist to the sick as Viaticum belongs to the parish priest, to assistant priests, to chaplains and, in respect of all who are in the house, to the community Superior in clerical religious institutes or societies of apostolic life.

    §2 In a case of necessity, or with the permission at least presumed of the parish priest, chaplain or Superior, who must subsequently be notified, any priest or other minister of holy communion must do this.

You said:

  • Is it wrong for me to avoid receiving the Precious Blood from the cup during Holy Communion when it is administered by an (EMHC) Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion?

You have every right to receive the Blessed Sacrament from any priest, as number 91 states in:

“On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist” under
2. The distribution of Holy Communion:

[91.] In distributing Holy Communion it is to be remembered that

    “sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who seek them in a reasonable manner, are rightly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them”. (Code of Canon Law, Canon 843 § 1; cf. Canon 915.)

Hence any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to Holy Communion. Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.

If you have problems in this area you should notify your bishop but only after first talking in charity to the pastor about the issue. The first thing the bishop will ask you is whether you have talked to your pastor about whatever issue concerns you.

You said:
The parish priest told me that the Bishop ordinarily does not allow Intinction in his diocese.

  • Is this discretion granted to the Bishop?

Yes!

I hope this helps,

Mike

Asa replied:

Hi Mike,

Thank-you for responding!

My understanding, despite the diocesan Bishop having much authoritarian leeway, is that, to say the least, this use of EMHCs is not proper.

I'm just looking for some clarification.

Thanks for any help!

Asa

Mike replied:

Hi, Asa —

You said:
My understanding, despite the diocesan Bishop having much authoritarian leeway, is that, to say the least, this use of EMHCs is not proper.

Part of life is picking and choosing the correct fights. Even if you have a good point, the local bishop still decides.

Sorry.

Hope this helps,

Mike

Asa replied:

Hi Mike,

I agree with your statement:
Part of life is picking and choosing the correct fights.

But on your comment,
Even if you have a good point, the local bishop still decides.

Sorry.

I'm somewhat doubtful that a diocesan Bishop has that much discretion but I'll look into it.

Below are several other references I found that were interesting in light of this [use/abuse] of EMHCs.

Thanks for your input! If you can [add/correct] anything on my end, please do!

I need to understand all this.

Asa

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
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