Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has proposed in the most symbolic way possible that kneeling for Holy Communion is 100% better than standing to receive. At each and every Mass he celebrates, communicants approach the Holy Father and kneel in adoration for the One they receive in Holy Communion, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, who incarnate of the Blessed Virgin Mary became Man, but remained the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, but with two natures at the incarnation, human and divine, thus we call the Blessed Ever Virgin Mary, the "Theotokas" or Mother of God.

Kneeling to receive Holy Communion in the Latin Rite goes back more than 1200 years, so it is an established tradition and in terms of that tradition, standing to receive in the Latin Rite is novel and an aberration of a particularly corrupt point in Church history.

In the Latin Rite the reasons that liturgists gave after Vatican II (not the Council Fathers themselves during Vatican II) was entirely under the "spirit" of Vatican II to "clericalize the laity, beginning with Mass." In other words a novel "ecclesiology" purportedly taught by Vatican II meant that the distinctions between the "common priesthood" of all the baptized and the "ministerial priesthood" or the ordained priest had to be erased, minimized and diminished so that the priesthood of the baptized could emerge and eclipse the ordained priesthood.

These same liturgists, desired a low Church and low Christology expression of the liturgy built upon the ordinary and banal rather than the extraordinary and beautiful. So to promote this, there are no distinctions in the priesthood, altar railings were removed and described as barriers to the laity's full, conscious and active participation in the Liturgy. Like the clergy, the laity should stand and take the Eucharist because of their equal status and that it is more adult to do so. And the laity, like the priest, should distribute Holy Communion to express their ministry in the Church and the other forms of ministry they would take in the life of the parish in general. Full, conscious and active participation went from what the laity does in the pews, to what they should be doing at the altar, in terms of reading and distributing Holy Communion.

While all of these would be considered the "re-imagining of the Catholic Church" and its deconstruction of pre-Vatican II doctrine, dogma and theology to accomplish these goals and thus make us closer to our Protestant brothers and sisters and thus bring about organic unity in the Church, there were other results of this theology gone viral that has had a deleterious effect on the life of the Church, her faith, morals and discipline and respect and awe for the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, in fact for the Most Holy Trinity Himself.

Deacon Greg Kendra has written an article on bring back the altar railing and why he has had a change of mind. What he describes I have witnessed Sunday after Sunday. You can read his entire article by pressing the sentence below. I will pick some examples he describes and describe my experience of them too.

"Communion Rails: Restoring a Sense of the Sacred Would a change of posture at Holy Communion help to sharpen our perspective, as well? By Deacon Greg Kandra, January 14, 2013" Communion Rails: Restoring a Sense of the Sacred
Would a change of posture at Holy Communion help to sharpen our perspective, as well?
By Deacon Greg Kandra, January 14, 2013

My comments on the deacons examples:

"I've watched a mother receive communion, her toddler in tow, then take it back to the pew and share it with him like a cookie." I have seen this many times, and with either parent breaking off a piece to give to an older child not prepared yet for Holy Communion simply because the child said they wanted some! Others have reported this to me too, as they witnessed it from the congregation!

"At least four or five times a year, I have to stop someone who just takes the host and wanders away with it and ask them to consume it on the spot." This is common at St. Joseph Church and I would say our yearly number is much higher!

"Once or twice a month I encounter the droppers. Many are well-intentioned folks who somewhere, somehow drop the host or it slides out of their hands and Jesus tumbles to the floor." This is quite common in my parish too!

A couple times a year I get the take-out crowd. They receive the host properly, and then pull out a hanky and ask if they can take another one home to a sick relative.

"Beyond that, I'm reminded week after week that people have no uniform way to receive in the hand. There's the reverent "hands-as-throne" approach; there's the "Gimme five," one-hand-extended style; there are the notorious "body snatchers" who reach up and seize the host to pop into their mouths like an after-dinner mint; and there are the vacillating undecideds who approach with hands slightly cupped and lips parted. Where do you want it and how??" In my experience at St. Joseph Church, yes, yes, yes, ditto, ditto, ditto, to all the deacon writes!

"After experiencing this too often, in too many places, under a variety of circumstances, I've decided: it's got to stop. Catechesis is fruitless. We've tried. You can show people how it's done; you can instruct them; you can post reminders in the bulletin and give talks from the pulpit. It does no good. Again and again, there is a sizable minority of the faithful who are just clueless—or, worse, indifferent."

My Final Comment: Not all who receive standing and in the hand do so disrespectfully or cluelessly, many do so quite reverently. But why in the name of God and all that is holy did we change the method of receiving Holy Communion for the laity when it wasn't broke and there were none of the problems that the deacon describes above for the new way we've been doing it for about 40 years now?

At St. Joseph, we have written guidelines for how to receive Holy Communion in a prominent place on the back of our missalette. We catechize regularly, but regularly we find hosts discarded on the floor (as recently as Christmas Day!). We have to go after people who take the host to the pew or out of the Church, we have people who should know better, receiving with only one hand extended, grab it with two fingers and a thumb and others who don't know what to do!

The simple solution is to return to the altar railing, limit those who can be Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and make sure people kneel and receive the Host on their tongue. It really is quite simple and I would say that in less than two years of doing this, awe and reverence would be re-established in continuity with the pre-Vatican II liturgy and ecclesiology.

As for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, I have no issue with these in principle, but I think they should be installed acolytes and vested for this ministry. They should go through a diocesan formation program which focuses on the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the piety necessary and that their primary ministry is to assist the priest in bringing Holy Communion to the sick and homebound and the necessary pastoral skills for this.

I am not opposed to women being included in this ministry.

We don't need hundreds of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, just enough to assist at Mass and every Sunday if need be and to bring Holy Communion more frequently (every week) to those who are homebound. Let's face it a priest can hardly get to all the homebound once a month or once a year!


Marc said...

"As for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, I have no issue with these in principle, but I think they should be installed acolytes and vested for this ministry."

"I am not opposed to women being included in this ministry."

How do these two statements work together in a practical sense?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

These would be "permanently" installed by the bishop after the required course work is accomplished. These would vest for their ministry at Mass. If there is only one priest at the Mass, then I could see, with an altar railing re-installed, four sections to that railing, so that four "ministers" are distributing, as the installed acolyte is an "ordinary minister" of Holy Communion in the absence of another priest or deacons.
But most of all we need people who are pastoral to bring Holy Communion more frequently to the home bound and sick in the hospital.

Henry Edwards said...


Simple. If and when the pope allows the institution of women as acolytes, then they're "included in this ministry". Until then, all men.

BTW, Father M, the link to the deacon's article needs to be fixed.

Marc said...

So you suggest the Church should "install" women as acolytes?

Unrelated: Why does the non-celebrating priest (or even Deacon) not come to other Masses to assist in distributing Holy Communion? Would that not be more proper (when possible) than deploying EMHCs?

Unknown said...

Fr. McD,

I completely understand your sentiment and I generally agree with it, with one major exception, but I'll leave that til the end. However, I think that I have to continue to take issue with the overall attitude.

Let me preface this by clearly saying two things. 1. I applaud your efforts insofar as you have applied them. It takes some courage to stand up to your peers and I think that to an extent, you've done that. And 2. I appreciate your attitude. I think that it is one which truly, truly embraces Benedict XVI's hypotheses. That too takes some courage for the very same reason.


By and large Father, your words are just like the Holy Father's. They are mostly hypothetical. It has long been my contention that in order to truly enact the "reform of the reform" we cannot embrace the Novus Ordo. Here is why. The reforms of Vatican Council II were flawed. You say it yourself in the above post, in so many words. If we begin from a flawed position, the Church cannot be authentic. We know that this cannot be the case. The Church must be authentic in all that she does. My first point:

1. The reform of the reform must start from the TLM. That is what the Council Fathers intended.

I believe that in order to properly accomodate the reform of the reform, we must have a pope who is a reformer. Benedict XVI is not. He is an academic. There is nothing wrong with that, but we must understand what he is and accept that. I think that most traddies do, I think that most neo-cons don't. I know that most mainstream conservatives are just trying to "tighten up" the Mass as we have it now, so they love him. I know that most liberals don't care, because they are too busy opposing him at every turn. My second point:

2. There must be a reformer pope.

With the proper reform of the reform, there has to be a theological clarification on many aspects of Church life, not just the liturgy. The Church must re-evaluate Ecumenism and religious tolerance. The churchmen who lead have forgotten what true ecumenism is. The Church must re-evaluate it's position on Ecclesiology. The Church must re-evaluate it's position on the Magisterium of Vatican Council II. If Vatican Council II is only pastoral, to what end is it binding? Can a purely pastoral statement with no dogma or doctrine attached to it be binding on the faithful? And are those pastoral statements which are contrary to proven and accepted dogma and doctrine binding? Can they be? My third point:

3. The Church must re-evaluate it's positions on a) liturgy, b) Ecclesiology including ecumenism, c) Religous freedom, and d) the Magisterium of Vatican Council II.


Unknown said...

Finally Father I need to say this, I take major issue with this idea:

"As for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, I have no issue with these in principle, but I think they should be installed acolytes and vested for this ministry. [...] I am not opposed to women being included in this ministry."

Under no circumstances can this be acceptable. IF (and it's a HUGE if) women are allowed to be installed into a minor order, where does it stop? This view is contrary to John Paul II's clarification that women are not called to Holy Orders. You speak of this being an ordinary ministry. Women are not capable of being ordinary ministers of anything. That is 100% contrary to Catholic teaching. If you are to allow women to be installed as acolytes, why not ordain them as deacons? If you ordain them, why stop at deacon? Shouldn't they then be allowed to be ordained to priesthood? An installed acolyte is an official ministry of the Church and it is an infallible teaching that this is reserved only to men. To do what you are suggesting is to undermine the infallibility of the Church. I do firmly, firmly believe that the ministries of the Church ordinary or extraordinary should be reserved to men only. Why? Because they are DIRECT extensions of the power of the bishop. This includes ushers (porter), readers (lector), servers (acolyte), deacons, and priests. We must return to a proper understanding of our roles within the Church. My fourth and final point:

4. The Church must reaffirm it's positioning on ministry and definition of priesthood.


Unknown said...


"How do these two statements work together in a practical sense?"

They don't. Incidentally, any pious layman can act as a vested acolyte. However, 99.99999999% of pastors will not utilize a "straw acolyte or subdeacon" for the edification of the Mass. It is one of the few times when the liberals will draw a line in the sand regarding the "clericalization of the laity."

The use of laymen as subdeacons/vested acolytes has been a practice of the Church for centuries. There are provisions made and to be honest, in the Novus Ordo, a layman does most of it already, but in a three piece suit (sometimes in a Havana shirt and bermuda shorts). I boggles my mind why a priest wouldn't just vest the pious layman and utilize him in a way which is most proper to the Church's authentic vision of the liturgy.

It is fear and ignorance, I suspect.

Unknown said...


"Why does the non-celebrating priest (or even Deacon) not come to other Masses to assist in distributing Holy Communion? Would that not be more proper (when possible) than deploying EMHCs?"

To answer the first, laziness. It interferes with coffee and "a break." Apparently, it is exhausting celebrating more than one Holy Mass in a day, even though they only have to be there from the Pater Noster until the tabernacle is closed. (Although, I've been known to MC two and three without much baffles me too.)

I suspect that if Father Curate or Deacon Helper were to assist, then it would take away from the use of EMHCs and we cannot do that. They must be visible, so that their "full, conscious, and active participation can be fostered and empowered (read: enabled).

To answer the second, yes.

Henry Edwards said...


Why not charitably accept Fr. McDonald as saying only that he would accept women acolytes in the unlikely event (I suspect) that the Church authorized them?

Incidentally before the great liturgical leap forward, I never saw a parish large enough for two priests where both did not distribute Holy Communion at every Mass where there were enough communicants to warrant this.

Nor--communion at the altar rail being much faster--did I ever see a case where the available priests could not handle expeditiously.

So, except in the case of a large parish with only a single priest, I belief that there would be no need for EMHCs if communion in only one kind. And I believe that liturgists insistence on both kinds is mainly to gin up this artificial need for women in the sanctuary.

James Ignatius McAuley said...

Man, you all took a red herring from father and went on a frolic and detour. Let's get back on topic. Kneeling for communion. So, a few comments
1.) Remember one of the reasons the altar rails were removed - when they pushed communion in the hand, and, once this practice was adopted, the rails were declared redundant and obstructions to the people of God.
2.) There was no mass movement of the laity demanding the removal of the altar rail, just a bunch of academic liturgists lead by Robert Hovda (remember him, Father?)
3.) We were lectured, harangued that the early Church stood for communion and received it in the hand, the primary sources quoted was that of St. Cyril of Jerusalem - however, as Robert Taft SJ has pointed out, that was an in appropriate source, because the source (Cyril) came from the Jerusalem liturgical tradition,and not the western/Latin tradition.
4.) ANother argumetn I have heard is that "Eastern Christians stand for communion, and therefore, so should we." However, an orthodox priest, Father Emmanual Hatazadikis (sic) who wrote the book The Heavenly Banquet, points out that there is nothing wrong with kneeling from the Orthodox perspective, and Father Emmanual saw no reason against it, and that allowing it was pastorally sensitive.

Henry Edwards said...

Andy: "Incidentally, any pious layman can act as a vested acolyte."

I think this is wrong, that you're confusing two slightly different animals.

What I think you mean is that in the EF a "pious layman" can act as a subdeacon. This is the historical "straw deacon".

But when the order of subdeacon was terminated, the "ministry" of instituted acolyte was introduced (for the OF). And, to date, only males can be instituted as acolytes. This undoubtedly is why instituted acolytes are as rare as hens teeth. I'm not sure I've ever seen one.

Incidentally, instituted acolytes seem now to sometimes be considered as equivalent to subdeacons. I heard of instances in which a seminarian is approved to serve as subdeacon for a solemn EF Mass only after he has been instituted as an acolyte.

Hammer of Fascists said...

Deacon Greg Kandra attempts to shock us back into kneeling with his horror stories designed to make us gasp in surprise/outrage/whatever. But he underestimates the opposition. Consider: If we really wish to embrace a _truly_ low Christology, what in the world is wrong with taking the Host back to the pew and sharing it like a cookie?

I hope that this question will help us realize how different the basic assumptions are between the factions.

Marc said...

Henry, with respect, I was being charitable by asking Fr. McDonald open-ended questions to allow him to explain what he meant.

John Nolan said...

Churches that never abandoned kneeling for Communion occasionally do have a problem with people taking the Host away with them, but it is less likely. Those receiving in the hand need to raise their hands slightly over the rail, and the one holding the communion plate simply places it under their hands. In the last forty years of attending the London Oratory I have noticed the number receiving in the hand to have fallen off considerably.

An instituted acolyte is not an ordinary minister of Communion, but an extraordinary one by virtue of his office. He is allowed to purify the sacred vessels, whereas other EMHC are not. I know they still do, but this is an abuse.

I have said it before and I will say it again - allowing women and girls in the sanctuary is against the whole tradition of the Church, both East and West. If people in hospital or house-bound need Communion they require a priest to hear their Confession. If they are in danger of death, even more so. Priests should concentrate on their proper and exclusive role. Lay people can chair the interminable parish committees.

John said...

It seems to me that the NO has been totally discredited among the more traditionally minded, the most regularly Mass-attending faithful, that reform of the reform should start with the 1962 Missal.

Marc said...

First of all, I agree with everything John says and I wish I had his gift to say it so charitably.

Second, the resort to the argument from Orthodox praxis of standing (as mentioned by James) is quite silly (James is not silly as he goes on the debunk this). The Orthodox stand because that is the liturgical tradition in the Divine Liturgy and represents the theological emphasis of that liturgy with its emphasis on Resurrection. For many reasons, this is not the theological emphasis in the Roman Rite, so the argument is inapplicable. I don't anticipate many Roman Rite attendees wish to adopt the other liturgical practices of the East, with the extensive fasting rules (about half the days of the year are fast days), frequency of Confession (one Confession for one Communion oftentimes), standing for multiple hour liturgies, having only one liturgy per day per altar, an extended pre-Liturgy preparation, lack of any musical instruments during liturgy, only men behind the iconostasis, the presence of an iconostasis, male only readers, generally no pews, Sign of the Cross from right to left, essentially having the laity say and do nothing during the liturgy other than watch and pray silently... Among other things.

When the advocates of standing for Holy Communion are willing to sign on for the other Eastern practices, then their argument might hold some weight.

William Meyer said...

The use of EMHCs is entirely out hand. Apparently many of our priests and bishops fail to understand the meaning of extraordinary, as do (from my own observation) all of the EMHCs. What is lacking is a proper definition of what constitutes "too long" for a single priest to serve.

What is also apparently lacking is the teaching to those who volunteer for this ministry that it is not an entitlement. In my former parish, they all seem to believe that it is. And moreover, that it cannot be limited by the priest, despite all rubrics, and the diocesan norms published by the archbishop.

I am all for the return of altar rails, kneeling, intinction, and receiving only on the tongue. I do not kneel at present, as I would require assistance to rise. I did ask whether, as a part of the recent renovations, the pastor would consider providing a prie-dieu. That did not meet with his approval.

Unknown said...

@ Henry,

A couple of things,

First, an installed acolyte is not a subdeacon, in the reformed Rites, there is no such thing, it assumes that one in Orders can fulfill the role. So, unless he is ordained according the to old Rites, so the role is always "straw." You're correct.

Second, with the elimination of ordination to minor orders, and the clerical state prior to being ordained a deacon, the ministries of acolyte and lector are not ordained ministries, and therefore are extraordinary functions with regard to the liturgy. Because of this, any layman, installed or not, can be an extraordinary minister. This is clarified in Ministeria Quaedam.

It says, "While Vatican Council II was in preparation, many bishops of the Church requested that the minor orders and subdiaconate be revised. Although the Council did not decree anything concerning this for the Latin Church, it stated certain principles for resolving the issue. There is no doubt that the norms laid down by the Council regarding the general and orderly reform of the liturgy also include those areas that concern ministries in the liturgical assembly, so that the very arrangement of the celebration itself makes the Church stand out as being formed in a structure of different orders and ministries. Thus Vatican Council II decreed that "in liturgical celebrations each one, minister or layperson, who has an office to perform, should do all of, but only, those parts which pertain to that office by the nature of the rite and the principles of liturgy."

With this assertion is closely connected what was written a little earlier in the same Constitution: "The Church earnestly desires that all the faithful be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations called for by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as 'a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people' (I Pt 2:9; see 2:4-5) is their right and duty by reason of their baptism. In the reform and promotion of the liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else. For it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit and therefore pastors must zealously strive in all their pastoral work to achieve such participation by means of the necessary instruction."

Among the particular offices to be preserved and adapted to contemporary needs are those that are in a special way more closely connected with the ministries of the word and of the altar and that in the Latin Church are called the offices of reader and acolyte and the subdiaconate. It is fitting to preserve and adapt these in such a way, that from this time on there will be two offices: that of reader and that of acolyte, which will include the functions of the subdiaconate."

It is clear, Henry, that if so warranted, a layman can act in the Novus Ordo as a subdeacon if the need is there. I'm not crossing anything. A pious layman can, in fact, act as a "straw subdeacon" in the EF. But also a pious layman can, in fact, act as an extraordinary minister functioning in the role of an acolyte who is acting as a "straw subdeacon."

As convoluted as it is, the precedence is there for a layman to continue the same practice. This is to assume that in parishes where there is but one priest and one deacon, that a solemn Mass can be sung when the need arrises in the Novus Ordo. We can thank Pope Paul VI for this circa 1972.

John Nolan said...

Perhaps the card in my wallet should read "I am a Catholic. In case of emergency please call a mini-skirted EMHC".

rcg said...

John, I think the Latin for that is 'Defibrillator'.

rcg said...

And by the way, how is this similar or different than the ladies who wash the linens?

Henry Edwards said...


There is no question about subdeacons, straw or otherwise, in the EF.

The salient point--pertinent only to the OF in practice--about the offices of (instituted) lectors and acolytes, is currently only males can be installed in these 2 offices. This is why they are so rare, that women cannot be installed (instituted) as acolytes (or lectors). Having lots of instituted acolytes around would eliminate female EMHCs, perish the thought.

Which is why one reason it would be good to restrict distribution of holy communion to ordinary ministers (priests and deacons) and only acolytes as extraordinary ministers.

It is only a footnote to this discussion that some people are uneasy about easy use of "pious laymen" as EF straw deacons--however time honored the practice in simpler times when exploitation of loopholes was less automatic--and would prefer to restrict subdeacons to priests, deacons, and instituted acolytes. For instance, I myself might even be uneasy about some of the deacons one sees wandering around, and more comfortable with 3 priests serving as celebrant, deacon, and subdeacon.

Once you open the door, no telling who might be a clueless RCIA candidate one week and a "pious layman" the next. Having seen mini-skirted RCIAers turn up shortly as mini-skirts in the sanctuary. Just saying ... How's it possible to be too careful these days?

William Meyer said...

I meant to mention in my previous comment that from what I have seen, the training of EMHCs is often deficient. In particular, I have read Dr. Edward Peters' excellent explanation of why an EMHC cannot deliver a blessing, but I often see them do just that.

Unknown said...

@ Henry;

I suspect we are on the same page. I am all in favor of a return to installed acolytes, as long as they are men. But at the same time, I am in favor of using installed lectors, as well, which would also be all men.

To be perfectly clear, I am supportive of all "ministries" in the Church being all male only. Not because I am discriminatory toward women, but rather because it is in the nature of men to do so, but also, because it is not in the nature of women. This is really an exercise in authenticity, no?

As for understanding who a "pious layman" is, I think that is very clear as well. I think that it should be reserved to a select few who have been trained, who show proper interest, who have a proper disposition, and who are theologically and practically open to the process. Let's not forget, they are simply filling a role.

In practice, an OF subdeacon would do only a couple of things...he would read the second reading. he would assist the deacon and priest at the offertory, he would incense at the elevations and if necessary, he would be an EMHC, however, most likely, he would hold the paten for the celebrant (assuming there is no cup). However, if he were an EMHC, it would be most proper for him to distribute the Sacred Host, because the deacon properly should be dispensing the Precious Blood.

As it stands though, we are essentially on the same page (as usual) looking at things from a slightly different perspective.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

With the "reform of the reform in continuity" there has to be give and take on non essentials. In the OF Mass and parishes there will be female servers, readers and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. To push for the elimination of the ministries will entrench those who may be disposed to the ROTRIC but find the anti-woman stance in ministries where this is quite common too extreme and mysognistic since unlike priesthood and diaconate, there is no doctrinal reason for their exclusion.

Unknown said...

Fr. McDonald,

I have to disagree with you regarding give and take. When in the history of the Church has there EVER been give and take with regard to the liturgy, in this area; outside the last 50 years.

In practicality all of the abuses we see today have been at one point or another (sometimes multiple times) abrogated.

To say there should be give and take isn't being pastoral, it is enabling. The pastoral thing to do would be to catechize as to what proper roles are and then institute them, properly.

What "ministries" are you talking about? Extraordinary ones? Those, by their very nature shouldn't be used regularly. If you're talking about things like visiting the homebound or some such, taking the Blessed Sacrament to the homebound should be reserved to those who are ministerial by nature. Not those who are not. Not every home visit or hospital visit needs to have the Blessed Sacrament attached. It should be reserved for when Father comes to visit.

On the final point you make, I would argue that the anti-woman stance isn't really anti-woman. It is really a restorative stance to what is proper and right. To exclude someone who has no right to be there to begin with is not misogynistic it is really philogynistic, because it is done from a love of women and their proper role in the Church.

Marc said...

Father, how do you determine what is "non essential" in the Reform of the Reform?

John Nolan said...

Since 1964 it has been permissible to celebrate a sung Mass without a subdeacon. Did this mean that the deacon would then sing both Epistle and Gospel? The NO Solemn Mass often has both deacon and subdeacon (it looks more symmetrical, and there is someone to chant the second reading). But the NO has no role for a subdeacon, so he is presumably acting as a second deacon (as permitted by the rubrics). Since he is more often than not a priest, should he wear the diaconal stole and the dalmatic, or the tunicle without stole?

Can a lector (or layman substituting for him) who is engaged to sing the Epistle (and I'm still talking OF here) assume the tunicle and assist the deacon at the altar? And is there anything to prevent a woman, who may also substitute for a lector or acolyte, from doing likewise?

rcg said...

FrAJM, respectfully, isn't that sort of the same slipper slope that got the OF in the predicament it is in today? Why does an OF Mass need a fleet of EMHC any more than the EF? Having a group of people, no matter how well trained, to handle the Host is just scary and seems disrespectful. I have not seen an OF Mass yet where it looked like the EMHC looked they thought were touching God.

James I. McAuley said...


I am glad you see my point. On the grounds that they were needed to fulfill Vatican II "mandate" for communion under both species, the Diocese of Buffalo shoved EHMS on us around 1979-80, and then communion in the hand around 1982. There was a campaign, which included handing out brochures around 1981 with the quote from St. Cyril. That quote is still bandied about constantly today, but it is taken out of context. Cyril's quote for the 4th Century made no sense in the context of the late 20th century Latin rite. It would only make sense if we adopted the other customs that existed in the Jerusalem Liturgy at the time. Robert Taft has repeatedly pointed out that we Latins need to respect our own rite.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

RCG we don't need a fleet, just enough for every Mass where there is a need. If we went to intinction (which is more sanitary and doesn't need to be discontinued when their is the threat of a health epidemic) if there is only the priest, one would only need three additional EMC's or the number needed.

Again, the use of females as lectors was approved by the Holy See very early on and is used by them at Vatican celebrations. The question of EMC's is separate, first the need for them when the bishop can install men as acolytes.

But again, there is no doctrinal or dogmatic reason for disallowing females in the roles of altar server, lector or EMC--and again the insistence on this does strike many who are quite traditional and opposed the women's ordination as extreme.

Gene said...

I see no reason why any EMHC's at all are necessary at the average St. Jo's Mass. It takes no longer for everyone to receive from the Priests than it does from the EMHC's, who actually probably slow things down. Even if it does take a few minutes longer, what is the rush? The restaurants stay open until two...

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Gene just having the priest and deacon distributing would add 20 minutes to the 9:30 Mass and 10 to15 minutes to the others.

Marc said...

You could make some of that time up by getting rid of the useless, duplicitous announcements before the end of Mass. You would also make up all the time it takes to prepare the EMHCs to go distribute.

But, really, 10 minutes? How did the Church cope for that millennia and a half before we had EMHCs?!? The tragedy of Mass lasting 10 more minutes... I just cannot imagine how terrible that would be.

William Meyer said...

Father, that would appear to be 20 added minutes for prayer by the faithful. Is that a bad thing?

Unknown said...

I would like to address the "Communion under both species" issue for a moment.

I understand the reasoning for it, based upon the reformers after Vatican Council II, but I have one question, which will undoubtedly lead to others...

It is clear that it is not part of our Tradition to receive Holy Communion under both species, as a norm. Why is it being so vociferously defended as the only option for distribution of Holy Communion, in today's Catholic world, either by the cup or intinction?

Unknown said...

Fr. McD,

I would have to disagree with you regarding your last comment to Gene.

When I was living at St. Agnes, I was asked twice a year to time distribution of Holy Communion at Sunday Masses. There would be 3 distributing, all ordinary ministers (celebrant, deacon, and curate/member of the clergy). The average attendance at Holy Mass is anywhere from 500-700 people assisting. The average time from the moment Father reached the rail to the moment the last minister ascended the stairs was 7 minutes. 500 people. Granted, there was Communion under one species only, but whatever...I suspect this won't change your mind.

BTW, the reason for timing distribution was to help defend the practice of using the rail. When the rail is used properly and the lines are trained to use the rail properly, it is very expeditious.

Marc said...

And, by the way, if you had the non-celebrating priest and second deacon present to distribute at every Mass, there would be no additional time added.

At any rate, 10 minutes is not an amount of time that calls for the "extraordinary".

William Meyer said...

Andy, I have not done any timings myself, but have suspected that the timings would show no advantage for the (mis)use of EMHCs, in the parishes I have attended. In particular, when you consider the time for EMHCs to receive separately, then be given chalice or bowl, and afterward, for the cleaning of all those extra items, I really suspect that for any Mass with fewer than 1,000 in attendance, the case for EMHCs cannot be made on grounds of time.

Further, when there is an excessive number of EMHCs (I have personally witnessed 14 at a Mass with no more than 700 in attendance), then the EMHCs become a traffic flow problem.

Finally, if we are on our knees longer, since we came for worship, how is that a bad thing?

Anonymous said...

Respectfully, Father, I must ask you: if taking 15 extra minutes is fine in the Extraordinary Form (which I've seen happen), why not the Ordinary Form? The only people I've ever heard claim Communion in the EF takes too long are those who attend the OF exclusively, and they're not really in a position to speak. I present that question for your consideration. God bless.

James I. McAuley said...

Andy, I will do you the courtesy of addressing, but not answering your question regarding "Communion under both species."

I understand the reasoning for it, based upon the reformers after Vatican Council II, but I have one question, which will undoubtedly lead to others... [ANDY - it was actually raised before the Council, by men such as Martimort and Reinhold. I believe it was also raised at some of the Liturgical Conferences in the 1950s. The movement for communion under both species predates the Council.]

It is clear that it is not part of our Tradition to receive Holy Communion under both species, as a norm. [It depends on what you define as tradition or as an archeologism, ala Mediator Dei. It was part of our tradition to the 13th century.]

There you go, my friend, not an answer, but comments on your query.

Gene said...

Yep. Marc, get rid of the announceents (I've always hated them, they break the mood of the Mass) and that ridiculous handshake of peace which reminds me of a Kiwanis meeting.
Fr, I think you are wrong about the added time, especially with a rail and two or three distributing. You are fighting this, but I appreciate your struggle. We come from the same era; I struggled with the sixties/seventies humanist theology, too...but, only for a little while. I pray that we can nudge you a bit further in the direction you clearly want to go. There is a threshold somewhere at which point you will fully embtace your obvious desire to return to Traditional Catholic Liturgy and Identity. I understand that you have administrative obstacles, as well, but just look at what you have accomplished to this point. Your's is an example that I pray more and more Priests will follow. God Bless you in this effort.

John Nolan said...

When permission was given for the laity to receive Communion in both kinds, it was not envisaged that it be done at every Mass. One reason for this was a concern that people might assume in the course of time that if they were not offered the chalice, their Communion would be somehow incomplete.

Strictly speaking, the priest should offer the Host and the deacon the chalice. But if there is a large number of communicants the distribution may well be inordinately prolonged. My solution would be for the priest and deacon to administer the Body of Christ at the rail and for It to be received kneeling. This is always quicker than when people receive standing in line. Those who wish to receive the chalice receive standing from a minister stationed at either side of the sanctuary who could be a lay EMHC if no-one else were available.

The person administering the chalice does not actually handle the Sacred Species, so using a lay person in this role is marginally less objectionable. This system is used at the Solemn Mass in the Oxford Oratory, although here those who offer the chalice are 'spare' priests.

BTW, the idea prevalent in some quarters that the deacon administer the chalice at the same time as a lay person distributes the Host is a pedantic interpretation of the deacon's ordinary ministry which is contrary to both common sense and liturgical propriety.

Gene said...

I timed Holy Communion today. The Church was full at 9:30 Mass. Only Fr. David, the Deacon, and two EMHC's. From the time the first person received until the time the Host was back in the Tabernacle: seven minutes and 19 seconds. EMHC's are not necessary at St. Joseph's.

tryggvirafn said...

Cool ! I like it.