QUAERITUR: Extraordinary ministers giving blessings at Communion

From a reader:

I was hoping you might be able to shed some light on a question which has been bothering me since my reception into the Church a little while ago.  Everytime I receive Commnunion from one of the EMHCs, she tries to raise her hand over my infant son to bless him.  What’s going on here?  Is this licit?  I’ve seen this practice many places within this diocese (Baltimore) but have a hard time believing this is authorized.

The first question to be asked is whether the EMHC is really needed.  (I think not.)

The second question is whether Communion time is really the time for blessings.  (I think not.)

That said, no lay person should attempt to imitate what a priest does.

Anyone can ask God to bless anyone else.  Everyone should ask God to bless others.

But lay people should not make gestures, in imitation of priests, and give the impression that he or she is trying to bless in the manner of the priest.

The way lay people ask blessings and the way priests invoke God’s blessing are very different.

Lay people: don’t imitate priests in this regard.

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97 Responses to QUAERITUR: Extraordinary ministers giving blessings at Communion

  1. Hugo says:

    My question then would be, what are those ways?

  2. Jayna says:

    Thanks for that post, Father. I noticed a few weeks ago that the EMHC’s in my parish go through the motions of blessing those who come forward but cannot receive. I was pretty sure that it was something they shouldn’t be doing, but when the priest is standing right next to them and sees them do it and doesn’t say anything, I feel like it isn’t my place to point it out. Of course, this is also a parish in which the priest who said Mass last Mother’s Day asked everyone to extend their hands over any mothers/women in the congregation as he said a blessing. It freaked me out. I get very uncomfortable with the idea of lay people even thinking that performing the actions of a priest will bring about the same result. That is a slippery slope.

  3. Mark S. says:

    I’ve served as an EMHC for some years in a diocese in England, and it is common there for the EMHC to elevate the Host a little over the ciborium and say something to the effect of “May almighty God/Jesus bless you.” I have reservations about this as it looks a bit too much like the EMHC is giving Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Priests often don’t help with this. My pastor will sometimes invite individuals (e.g. non-Catholics, those not in a state of grace, children under the age of being able to receive Communion) to come forward either to the priest OR the EMHC for a blessing. I strongly suspect it’s not licit but it’s a situation being continued at the explicit invitation of the clergy, and possibly also the bishop (whom I’m reasonably sure are aware of this practice) not intervening to arrest the practice.

  4. Paul Quist says:

    Another one that bothers me is when the lay faithful are asked to extend their hand(s) in blessing someone (e.g., on their birthday or anniversary). It used to bother me even when I was a Lutheran pastor and didn’t do it in my church, but even more now that I’m a Catholic. When everybody is raising their hands to bless someone in the congregation I just keep my hands in my pockets and ask God to bless. Same goes for raising hands in a priestly fashion during the “Our Father”.

    Some folks want to make the Church an egalitarian democracy and flatten out the hierarchy. I resist such attempts believing that the structure of the Church and the roles of the lay and the ordained are instituted by Christ.

    Paul

  5. What Paul Quist says. I see the hand-extended lay blessing at the invitation of priests more often than blessings by EMHCs. Our parish has done this for years. I had hoped it would end when we were given a new “JPII priest” a year or so ago but if anything it has gotten worse.

  6. John G. says:

    “The first question to be asked is whether the EMHC is really needed. (I think not.)”

    I completely agree. With the time it takes to prepare and distribute Holy Communion to the EMHC’s, plus the time it takes for the priest to cleanse the Communion vessels afterward, I’m not sure much time is saved.

    Regarding blessings by EMHC’s, I’m glad this is something I’ve not seen in my Diocese. I always sit such that I go to the priest’s line anyway.

    -J

  7. TNCath says:

    This is another example of why it is not a good idea priests to give blessings at Communion and to severely restrict the use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to truly EXTRAORDINARY circumstances.

    This reminds me of a nun who was head of our diocesan liturgy office who interpreted the term “EXTRAORDINARY Ministers” as being “EXTRA-ORDINARIES” to the “ordinary” minister of Holy Communion, the priest. When someone questioned whether Rome would approve of our diocese’s interpretation of this term, Sister replied, “Rome has not moved with us.” No doubt there are still some Extraordinary Ministers out there that still see themselves as “extra-ordinaries.”

  8. Michael Parrino, MD says:

    In Latin American culture (Spanish), almost 50 years ago, I saw fathers of families bless their sons in a priestly manner before leaving on a journey. I’m not sure how common this was or how the custom originated, but in a priest short country it made a sort of sense to me.

  9. Bailey Walker says:

    Fathers, especially, and mothers as well, can indeed impart a “blessing” upon their children. However, I’ve always seen it done by tracing a cross on the forehead with the thumb of the right hand. This gesture does not simulate the blessing properly reserved to priests and yet conveys a beautiful sense of the Faith.

    The recent video about the life of Therese shows her father giving her exactly this sort of blessing just before she enters the cloister door at Carmel.

    Would that more parents would invoke God’s blessings upon their children with this powerful, and very Catholic, gesture!

  10. Bailey Walker: You might enjoy this excerpt from then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s The Spirit of the Liturgy:

    I shall never forget the devotion and heartfelt care with which my father and mother made the sign of the Cross on the forehead, mouth, and breast of us children when we went away from home, especially when the parting was a long one. This blessing was like an escort that we knew would guide us on our way. It made visible the prayer of our parents, which went with us, and it gave us the assurance that this prayer was supported by the blessing of the Savior. The blessing was also a challenge to us not to go outside the sphere of this blessing. Blessing is a priestly gesture, and so in this sign of the Cross we felt the priesthood of parents, its special dignity and power. I believe that this blessing, which is a perfect expression of the common priesthood of the baptized, should come back in a much stronger way into our daily life and permeate it with the power of the love that comes from the Lord.

  11. cothrige says:

    Our parish also encourages the congregation to extend their hands and bless different people at different times. I never do this as I find it very, very uncomfortable. And all I can think of while it is being done is “Sieg Heil!” since the entire congregation looks exactly like a mass of Nazis giving a salute.

    I wonder though about the blessing by lay people. As a father I give my children a blessing each night before bed by saying “May the Lord bless you…” and then while tracing the cross on their foreheads saying “Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.” I am curious about whether the form I have always used would be considered improper? What is the proper way for a father to bless his children if so?

  12. RC says:

    The parish bulletin at St. Patrick’s in Nashua, NH had this good explanation of the point today:

    —-

    ==Blessings And The Communion Line: A Clarification==

    Although there is no formal liturgical document that addresses the practice, it has become the custom in recent years for people who are not yet able to receive the Eucharist to join the Communion line and request a blessing from the minister of Communion.

    The Church extends a welcome to all who attend the celebration of the Eucharist, even if all are not able to share in the Eucharist. This welcome is emphasized in the statement of the U.S. bishops that appears inside the back cover of our missalettes. It should be understood, however, that a commission to serve as an extraordinary Minister of Communion does not include the ability to impart such blessings as does the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

    Finally, when people have sensed some sort of confusion on the part of the minister, we ask them to understand that the posture of arms crossed over the chest is ambiguous at best and is not universally recognized as a request for a blessing. Many Catholics, especially those who belong to Eastern rites, assume this posture at Communion time as a sign of respect for Christ present in the Eucharist.

    —-

    (end quote)

    This gesture even confuses priests. Once a priest failed to give me the Sacrament when I approached with my arms crossed. It is typically an Eastern-rite posture, but is followed by some people in some Latin-rite countries. I’ve seen it done by faithful in Poland, for example.

    I suspect that Roman-rite priests have (unwisely) picked up this notion of inviting non-communicants to come forward from Episcopalians, who have been doing it for some time.

  13. Luis says:

    This happens every day, at every Mass, at one parish here in MIAMI. May God help us! First off there are 12 to 18 EMEs at every Mass I have attended. They are always blessing children! I suppose one started by blessing one child and then they wanted to be “inclusive” so…. They also have a liturgical dance “ministry” but that doesn’t really have anything to do with the subject of lay people blessing children…or does it? They also distribute “Sojouner” (a liberal non Catholic Christian magazine) along with “Our Sunday Visitor” and Church bulletin.

    PS I do invoke God’s blessing on my children, nightly. But, I don’t do so in public and I dont’ bless other people’s children.

  14. eric says:

    Regardless, I think it is a sweet gesture when a Priest blesses an infant or a child who comes up to the communion rail with his parents but is not yet ready to receive. This occurs frequently at our Latin Mass and our priest happens to be very orthodox and traditional.

    Although I have not seen what was described in the post at the novus ordo, I agree that it sounds like it is getting carried away. As for what was said about lay men imitating priests, I think the same should be said for everyone imitating priests at the end of the Our Father, by holding their hands up and arms outstretched imitating the actions of the priest. To me this seems comical, not to mention the ghastly practice of everyone holding hands (but that is another topic entirely)…

  15. stb says:

    I have a simple solution to this: I always choose the line in which the priest is distributing Communion, not the “extraordinary minister” :-)

  16. dcs says:

    There’s nothing wrong with parents blessing their children since they have authority over them.

    EHMCs don’t have authority over anyone except their own children.

  17. TJM says:

    I always thought it silly for lay people to do this. I guess, unless someone with more knowledge out there corrects me, there is ZERO value to this gesture because it does not come from the hands of an ordained priest. Tom

  18. Joshua says:

    Rome has made its mind clear here.

    This Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments acknowledges receipt of your kind letter of 13 August, 2008 and would like to thank you for your interest and suggestions. This matter is presently under the attentive study of the Congregation.

    For the present, therefore, this Dicastery wishes to limit itself to the following observations:

    1. The liturgical blessing of the Holy Mass is properly given to each and to all at the conclusion of the Mass, just a few moments subsequent to the distribution of Holy Communion.
    2. Lay people, within the context of Holy Mass, are unable to confer blessings. These blessings, rather, are the competence of the priest (cf. Ecclesia de Mysterio, Notitiae 34 (15 Aug. 1997), art. 6, § 2; can. 1169, § 2; and Roman Ritual De Benedictionibus (1985), n. 18).
    3. Furthermore, the laying on of a hand or hands — which has its own sacramental significance, inappropriate here — by those distributing Holy Communion, in substitution for its reception, is to be explicitly discouraged.
    4. The Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, n. 84, “forbids any pastor, for whatever reason to pretext even of a pastoral nature, to perform ceremonies of any kind for divorced people who remarry.” To be feared is that any form of blessing in substitution for communion would give the impression that the divorced and remarried have been returned, in some sense, to the status of Catholics in good standing.
    5. In a similar way, for others who are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in accord with the norm of law, the Church’s discipline has already made clear that they should not approach Holy Communion nor receive a blessing. This would include non-Catholics and those envisaged in can. 915 (i.e., those under the penalty of excommunication or interdict, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin).

    Please continue to pray for the Church’s ministers that they ever become more worthy of the mystery they celebrate.

    http://forums.catholic.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=4690&d=1228783198

  19. Paul says:

    Father

    Can you provide any legal text for EMHC not giving blessings. I ask because this is a constant problem/issue in my parish and I would like to bring it foward to the parish priest.

  20. RC says:

    Thank you, Joshua, for posting that very helpful letter!

  21. bryan says:

    I am still confused as to the nature of the parental blessing. Is the proper way to give the blessing to my children to say “May God bless you…” or is it “I bless you in the Name of…”. I have heard that the only blessing a layman can “give” is to his own children, but am unsure as to whether this blessing is “invoked” due to parental authority or rather it is asked for? Or is it some sort of intermediate level where the parental blessing is not merely “asked for” but neither is it “invoked” like a priestly blessing?

    Does anyone have any citations/references?

  22. Ioa says:

    “In Latin American culture (Spanish), almost 50 years ago, I saw fathers of families bless their sons in a priestly manner before leaving on a journey. I’m not sure how common this was or how the custom originated, but in a priest short country it made a sort of sense to me”

    This used to be quite common in the west of Ireland also, even when the place was priest-ridden. The Gaelic language was littered with such blessings and were often used indiscriminately by lay people. I remember reading a book by Douglas Hyde that had collected such blessings from Roscommon villagers.

  23. J. C. Oberholzer says:

    In a number of parishes, I have seen lay people (usually EMHCs) after Mass work the line with the pair of candles and saying the words of the blessing of the throats on the Sunday nearest the feast of St. Blaise. It’s hard for me to believe that there is much spiritual power in the candles themselves, and none in the EMHC. I head for the line that approaches the priest.

  24. Brad says:

    “The second question is whether Communion time is really the time for blessings. (I think not.)”

    If I was dying of cancer, had just lost my job, or was experiencing the death of a loved one, I really hope someone doesn’t feel the need to discern whether it’s “time” to bless me or not.

  25. TJM says:

    Brad, what’s the value of a sacramentally worthless blessing? Now if they wished you good luck or offered to keep you in their prayers, that would be nice. Tom

  26. Alessandro says:

    Blessing is a typical priestly act. In the book of blessings (Beneditionale) it is very clearly stated a difference: if a ministerial priest is available he imparts (gives) the blessing in the name of the Lord to others (benedicat VOS), acting as Jesus towards the people, but lay persons can only pray God to “bless us”, in the sense that the whole people of God can ask from the Father, as in a prayer, his holy blessing.
    There is an exception: the blessing of parents to their children: it is a blessing resembling that of the Creator to his creatures, it is a lovely gesture full of religious meaning (not only christian). The Father, in particular, is the “high priest” of the “ecclesia domestica” “home-church”, and for this reason, and his authority (shared with his wife) he is entitled, in a special way, to bless his own children.
    But never ever I heard about lay people blessing babies during communion time! I think poor Italy is still soooo “traditionally” catholic (and we priests are always complainig about the lack of faith of its inhabitans!!!)

  27. Gloria says:

    An online video I saw from my once Catholic women’s college had the lay woman president distributing the Eucharist with the college chaplain. It was of course, in the hand. She went one step further and laid her hand on the head of each communicant in blessing. She also, prior to the (?) mass walked the aisle with the priest, dipping a wand of hyssop (I guess) into the holy water and sprinkling the assembled students and families on her side. There was a lot more abuse going on besides, but you get the picture.

  28. Garrett says:

    So it is wrong for parents to, say, sign their children’s heads with the Sign of the Cross when they go to bed? I guess so, right? [Wrong.]

  29. Gavin says:

    TJM, so when a layman asks a blessing of God, He plugs his ears and yells “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU”? Just checking.

  30. TA1275 says:

    No, it is not wrong for parents to bless their children in the manner cited by Cardinal Ratzinger in the Spirit of the Liturgy. It is entirely appropriate and something parents should do. Don’t forget that we are all baptized, priest, prophet, and king. Thus lay people can perform baptisms in extraordinary circumstances and the like. This is what the pope is asking us to remember with such blessings, but they should not seek to imitate the blessing of the oradained priesthood.

  31. Athelstan says:

    All sacraments are designed as “feel good” exercises and may be performed by any baptized Christian. So, it doesn’t matter who does what when.

  32. Pseudomodo says:

    As an RCIA director and leader (yes, that’s what we call it in my diocese – we don’t seem to institute anybody except female CCD teachers!), I teach my catechumens and candidates that it is a communion procession and not a blessing procession and that they are not to approach. We all recieve a pastoral blessing at the end of mass.

    I also teach them that if they have an uncontrollable and pressing need to recieve a blessing, They should at least get into the preists line and recieve and authentic blessing from the priest.

  33. Kristen says:

    Athelstan-
    wait… What?
    Are you being sarcastic, or serious?

  34. Central Valley Catholic says:

    This abuse is rampant in the diocese of Fresno, Ca. When it is address to the Bishop or Vicar General……silence.

  35. RC says:

    Brad wrote:
    If I was dying of cancer, had just lost my job, or was experiencing the death of a loved one, I really hope someone doesn’t feel the need to discern whether it’s “time” to bless me or not.

    I appreciate that you care about people’s feelings. But an erroneous concern about people’s feelings is how we got into this mess.

    Have you misunderstood? When people say that the distribution of Communion is not the time for a blessing, they’re not urging ministers to be cruel to non-communicants and shout at them.

    It’s just a fact about how the liturgy is supposed to work. That part of Mass is intended for the distribution of Holy Communion. It’s not intended to be a multiple-choice process in which people approach to ask for (a) Holy Communion, (b) a priestly blessing, (c) a pretend blessing from a layman, (d) a quick Confession, or (e) the Anointing of the sick. It’s not the drive-through window.

    We have a problem here. Some priests started this problem by encouraging non-communicants to approach, because non-communicants do feel separated from the community when they cannot receive Holy Communion. And — I contend — they should feel that. They really are not included fully when they cannot receive the Sacrament. That’s spiritual reality.

    So everyone – priests, formators, lay people – must stop giving false instructions to non-communicants.

    Now, that leaves the question of how to treat non-communicants who do approach out of ignorance. I’d be interested in Fr. Z’s advice for priests and EMHCs in that situation.

  36. Jeff Pinyan says:

    I received an answer from the CDWDS on this very issue a month ago. Read about it here.

  37. Dennis says:

    I have a question regarding the ” parental blessing of their child” mentioned in a number of post. Is it proper for this to take place within the mass? This is done in my parish with 2nd grade children who are preparing for their first communion- they attend an enrollment mass and the pastor ask the parent and child to face each other and for the parent to trace the sign of the cross on their forehead and to say a blessing ( the words of which are on a handout)as they trace the cross.

  38. Jeff Pinyan says:

    I didn’t read the comments first. Comment by Joshua — 4 January 2009 @ 2:31 pm linked to the letter I posted to Catholic Answers Forum.

    The same letter should be appearing in an upcoming issue of the Adoremus Bulletin as well.

  39. Joe K says:

    I have related question regarding fathers giving blessing to their children. The father is ‘priest’ of his house/family, and the wife is under the father’s authority, right? So, can the father give blessing to his wife?

    just checking,
    Joe K

  40. Joe K says:

    … I meant to set the context for fathers giving blessings to their children and to the wife to be OUTSIDE OF THE MASS, for example, at home or travel, etc.

  41. Christa says:

    All the time I was in RCIA I was told that we could participate in all areas of the mass except Holy Communion, and that we should go to the front to get a blessing from the priest (using the arms crossed posture).

    Now our parish is headed by a Monsignor who graduated from the North American Pontifical College in Rome and who knew the Pope when he was Cardinal Ratzinger. Now I find out that the RCIA director and our Monsignor were wrong about this.

    I find this upsetting, as I don’t know what other things I have been taught wrongly about. As a new convert of 3 years, I am feeling increasingly unsure that I am following the correct teachings.

  42. Devin says:

    Father/anyone else who may know, is it licit for laypeople to fracture the smaller Hosts? I saw this done at my parish because the EMHC was running out of Hosts for his line, and started breaking them in half.

  43. John Paul says:

    Some of the postings already mentioned it, but for the traditional orders
    (FSSP, etc..) that still use the Minor Orders, the power to bless is one of
    the stages (I forget which Minor Order). But the point is, it is uniquely
    a priestly power that lay people don’t have, certainly during Mass.

    The parental blessing I guess is the only exception.

  44. kdpfam says:

    Christa:

    Be at peace. Even though many of us are cradle Catholics, we too have found out in that in the past we were taught things, both liturgically and doctrinally that were incorrect. I remember a good friend of mine who was an RCIA director once told me how “shocking” it was to learn that many of the theologians that she “respected” while studying for her Masters were actually heretics. If possible you may want to see if a EF Mass is offered in the diocese in which you live by a priest from the FSSP. If so, you may want to consult that priest. If not, still do not fret. Continue to pray for guidance and ask the Holy Spirt to lead you to sources you can study. They are out there. Welcome to “Rome.” God Bless!

  45. joye says:

    May I suggest, Fr. Z, that you do a post about lay blessings, particularly blessings from parents to children? It seems like many people are confused about it (myself included).

    My mom used to always say to me before I left for school, “May the Lord bless you and keep you and let His light shine upon you and give you wisdom.” On a slow and leisurely morning, she would put her hand on my forehead as she said it. On a crazy and rushed morning, she would shout it at my back as I ran up to the bus stop. XD

  46. patrick finley says:

    I am an EMHC… Only so I can try to lead by example, and we have 400 people on average at mass, we also have maybe 20 or so people who are not able to make it up to the altar on their own. Though I will say, we overdue it. There should maybe be two, to help with wine (since you have 2 sides to a church, and there arent enough parish priests. Though one would bring up the arguement 1 species is the whole substance of Christ, I digress). Instead we have on average 4 people assisting the priest, and a deacon/associate there usually. This is the norm though at most parishes I have been to. I do think its needed in larger parishes, or if a pastor absolutely wants to distribute the Precious Blood, however if we went back to kneeling and using altar rails, you could eliminate it very easily.

    One thing I try to show more then anything, atleast to almighty God, who we know is watching, is my unworthiness. The first time I did it, I was in such profound awe. I approach it with humility, or atleast I try.

    That being said, those who are Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, should remember the first word in the title. YOU ARE THE EXCEPTION. You are helping your pastor, nothing more. That doesnt make you a pastor, that doesnt give you special faculties. Simply being given the GREAT privilege of assisting at any form during the mass, does not suddenly catapult you to a different status.

    Those of us who have this privilege, as lectors, music ministers, EMHC’s, and yes even ushers(porters), need to remember it is our privilege, and an honor from Almighty God, that we as unworthy as we are, are allowed to even be included. Therefore, its important to remember to approach and carry out the act, with a state of humility.

    I think in most cases, EMHC’s should be restricted. Its overdone, it should be better managed. Maybe people only in formation for diaconate? Or Acolytes formerly instituted? Alas then you start “excluding” people, which brings us back to my whole point, the unworthiness that we have, to be so privileged as to assist at holy mass.

    When I was younger, I was a server. I didnt realize it, but subconciously, I telegraphed an obvious disatisfaction with the length of the priest’s homily (to this day I dont remember doing it, but something to be said for body language). However, one of my teachers did in fact notice it, and RIGHTLY disciplined me for it. What did I learn? That its a privilege being in the altar area (or more simplistically, heaven) During the mass. I have never forgotten that.

  47. Nan says:

    Christa,

    I attend my local Cathedral and they do announce that people may come up for a blessing; however, I live in an area where that’s a small problem, not likely to be taken up any time soon.

    With regard to RCIA, the Catechumens and Candidates are dismissed for a separate discussion prior to Communion, so not an issue.

  48. patrick finley says:

    Nan,

    Your parish does it old school ! Nice to see. In the old mass, as all are aware, the first part of the mass is called “Mass of the Catechumens”.. For a reason, no doubt.

    Again we come back to the unworthiness, and humility. Its our privilege to be in the presence of God, not a right.

    Also to point out, I didnt seek out being an EMHC.. I was asked. I took it as an opportunity to serve, nothing more. I view it as an opportunity to try to lead by example I guess. We very much have a “spirit of vatican II” parish, where least of all, posture and body language, are cast to the side.

  49. Nan says:

    Patrick, I live in an archdiocese where there are many examples of crazychurch and am happy to have found a safe haven therefrom.

  50. Corpsman says:

    Stop with the PAGAN blessings…..

  51. patrick finley says:

    I have my safe haven.. unfortunately I struggle with running to it. My safe haven is 4 cities away (about a 20 minute drive). Now I am not concerned with the drive,

    BUT

    My parish is very much MY PARISH. I was married there, grew up there, I am a lead cantor there. There are alot of friendships. Most importantly I see myself as being there for a purpose. The “mad man” so to speak. It seems to be a catch 22, when you look at it. Personal Parishes (oratories) are great, in that they give us traditionalists the spiritual teaching and structure that we yearn for and the world needs, however, you run the risk of uprooting people who could otherwise make a difference in a parish. That to me is true “Vatican II”. The laity are suppsoed to lead by example. We cant lead by example, if we are not there to begin with.

    Alas the only thing that would fix this in some people’s eyes is completely throwing out the “Novus ordo”, as the SSPX and others would have. That is no more the answer, then not having the tradition, or the future, coexisting in one “Universal” Church.

    The answer, is very simply, Stop teaching bogus catechism. Stop encouraging masses to be turned into circuses with liturgical dance and “Rock Bands”(I like my rock music, dont get me wrong, but it stays in my CD collection). Teach that the mass is sacred. Teach that its a privilege. Stop givin pictures of Jesus riding a donkey in 2nd grade and calling it proper catechism. That’s how you fix it. When you have that, you can have both forms of the mass coexisting most harmoniously, you have both “groups” of people actually one, Catholics, and you dont have one side of the isle calling the other old fashioned, and the other side calling the other too liberal.

    You see it all comes down to our understanding of the mass as lay people. If we truly understand it as the Great Sacrifice, happening in our midsts, and not simply a “common union” (though it is that, too..), then we can approach it with great awe and humility. One can do that in even the darkest of places, in fact in MHO one should, so that others will atleast notice the proper way to behave. We simply cant abandon parishes all together though. Yes seek Episcopacy to correct it , but pray for, and try to help the people who dont necessarily have the background all who read this blog have.

    And ALWAYS do it with humility. One thing that is worse then the most liberal Call to Action type catholics, is an elitest “Traditional”. We are all sinners, and we all have to help each other, and pray for our Pastors and Bishops.

  52. athanasius says:

    One thing that is important to realize is that the power to bless is not inherent in the Sacrament of Holy Orders, rather it comes from Jurisdiction. Traditionally Abbesses were given the power to bless, as well as Religious brothers who might be placed in a position of authority in a religious order. Moreover, the Church could give lay people the power to bless in the same manner as priests do, but she does not because it is not fitting. Deacons until maybe 1970 or so did not have the power to bless, but many Bishops have since given them the faculty to do so (even permanent deacons). This also includes exorcisms and blessings in the ritual. Priests who are suspended lose their power to carry out certain blessings and rituals (e.g. exorcism or the exorcisms at a Baptism in the Traditional Rite), and if Rome deemed it prudent, she could revoke all the power of suspended priests to bless anything, since it flows from Jurisdiction and not orders. Since these are not often spelled out when a priest is suspended that is rarely the case. (For example, a priest who left his diocese and joined the SSPX or went Independent would have valid confessions if a Bishop never revoked his faculties).

    All of this has to do with ritual and the context, namely Mass. Thus parents who bless their children, even say “I bless you in the name of the Father, etc.” are essentially asking for God’s blessing. They are not doing anything wrong by using such a form outside of Mass. Because parents name their children they have authority over them, and likewise have the authority to call down blessings in a special way that others can’t. They can also call down curses even when they don’t intend to because of the power of their parental authority.

  53. Erin says:

    Christa, it’s not that it’s wrong for catechumens and candidates (and others who cannot receive) to receive a blessing from a priest (as opposed to a layperson) at holy communion. Probably your new pastor feels that Holy Communion is not the appropriate time for such a blessing (most parishes have dismissal of the candidates and catechumens after the Liturgy of the Word, and they’d receive a blessing then). But the old practice wasn’t incorrect either. Something like that is at the discretion of the pastor. It is fairly common, and I’ve seen priests encourage those who cannot receive to come forward to receive a blessing at many, many Masses, including Masses said by priests who are noted theologians and in cathedrals.

    The issue here is that it’s wrong for laypeople acting as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to give blessings, which is an act reserved for the priest. It doesn’t sound from your comment like that was the case in your parish, so don’t sweat it.

    Finally, even if something is being done incorrectly at your parish, if you aren’t aware of it, you’re not committing a sin. The pastor is ultimately responsible for the sacramental life of the parish, and the buck stops with him, not you.

  54. JD Carriere says:

    Don’t go near Extraordinary Gropers of the Sacred Species!

    We don’t want them. We don’t need them. They can’t make us.

  55. TNCath says:

    Patrick: “There should maybe be two, to help with wine (since you have 2 sides to a church, and there arent enough parish priests.”

    Be careful what you say. You are referring to the Precious Blood as “wine.”

  56. The other thing you have to remember, when you come to boards like this is educated people “debate”, “Argue” and “Cry on each other’s shoulders”. Thus blogging. So dont take the blogs as cause to doubt where you are. If anything we are all searching for deeper answers, as you yourself are.

  57. Patrick: “There should maybe be two, to help with wine (since you have 2 sides to a church, and there arent enough parish priests.”

    Be careful what you say. You are referring to the Precious Blood as “wine.”

    I stand Corrected. I was merely lost in my own thoughts :) Thanks for looking out for me TNCath!

  58. Heck, in my travels, most bulletins refer to the EMHCs’ duty as Sacred Wine or Sacred Blood.

  59. ljm says:

    At the large well-endowed priest run Catholic university where I frequent the main rector of the university Church often tells everyone at the beginning of masses or has someone else announce that anyone whatever their state or religion or non-religion is invited to come up during holy communion to receive a blessing either from a priest or a “eucharistic minister” There are further times when those at a solemn mass are asked at some interval to raise their hands and repeat a blessing. …Obviously the rector and campus ministry prefer to have many EMHCs even when they are not needed and there are many priests who could be present. Many priests are sitting in their rooms not far away or strolling somewhere near on campus probably with a surplus of free time.

    What should a person do who wishes to follow the orthodoxy of the Holy See and to avoid sin if attending a church that has these practices that seem organized contrary to the directions of the Roman Pontiff, councils and the Pontifical Congregations directions – is it good enough to refrain from these practices of lay people giving blessings or acting as priests or are we obliged to attempt to admonish the priests directing these practices and complain to the bishops or should we try to attend another church? Perhaps it is a good idea to give the rector and head of campus ministry copies of the ordinances from the Pontifical Congregations but I suspect that they would have an adverse or indifferent reaction.
    A further matter is whether it is best not to receive the Eucharist from an EMHC even if it is too hard to get in the line to receive holy communion from a priest and thus means that one has to refrain from receiving the blessed sacrament at least in the sign of the sacrament?

  60. Geoff Jones says:

    I am a recently instituted acolyte at my parish and I’m trying to do my bit to bring back a bit of dignity to the mass. I went online and purchased a cassock and cotta, so that now I look better than the priest. I follow GIRM to the letter–bowing my head at the name of IHS and Mary, profoundly bowing at the creed and instructing any altar servers with me to do the same. I know that I can only do what I can do, and that I have to choose my battles.

    If I were to crusade against EMs then I would certainly lose.

    If i were to campaign against female servers I would lose, achieving nothing but the contempt of most of the parish.

    If they must have extroardinary ministers then they might as well have the most reverent ones out there.

    If they are going to have female servers, then at least they’ve got me there to make them the best servers that they can be.

    On the issue of EM blessings, I will probably bring it up with the priests, but I don’t expect much to come of it. If someone comes up to me for a blessing, then I will pray “May God bless you”. They just don’t know any better, and I should inflict more damage in turning them away than praying an appropriate prayer of blessing. We the Church should strive to be as welcoming as possible, and if someone has the humility to admit that they can’t receive Holy Communion then it would be a slap in the face to them to turn them away.

    Of course I would rather they just went to the priest, after all his blessing has sacramental force that I can never convey. But that’s in an ideal world. I have to live in reality and if I can do some good here and leave the parish a little better than how I found it then I’ve achieved something. If I were to just sit up the back with my St Andrews missal then I would achieve NOTHING.

  61. GH good boy says:

    It is a terrible abuse for EMHC to pretend they can give blessings like a priest, yet they do so in many parishes. It was happening in a parish where I was as an associate pastor and I tried to correct it in my Masses, directing the people who desired blessings to approach me or the deacon for the blessing. I later got corrected by the pastor who told me that I had offended the EMHC. We need to pray for our Church in the U.S.!

    Now, that I am pastor of a small parish I use the EMHC as little as possible. They never give out the Body of Christ, but only the cup with the Blood of Christ. Even if we have a big crowd, and my deacon isn’t there, I will still give out the Body of Christ by myself, and it may take a little longer, but it is not the end of the world. (The Bishop said that I must give communion under both species, but if it were up to me I would never have any EMHC.) And certainly, I would never accept this foolishness of EMHC giving out blessings.

  62. Lee Gilbert says:

    When I signed up to be a reader at the 7:30 Mass at my parish in Portland, I discovered that the reader at that particular mass is also an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.

    The printed instructions I received indicated that when someone comes forward who crosses their hands over their chest I should- not using the same gesture as a priest- say a short blessing over them, perhaps putting my hand on their shoulder and saying, “God bless you…” or some such gesture and prayer. It was left vague

    Hasn’t happened yet, but it’s hard for me to see how this is objectionable on any level.

    In fact, it seems a great solution to the problem of people coming forward and receiving communion unworthily out of the human respect engendered by every one else in their pew getting into line. They can still come forward, but not receive. Wonderful!

    And what is more, they receive a blessing :) If the unbaptized prophets and patriarchs of the Old Testament could bless, why cannot someone baptized, confirmed and himself a communicant in the precious Body and Blood of Jesus Christ also impart a blessing? We are a priestly people, are we not? Even if least in the Kingdonm of God, we are greater than John the Baptist. The need to maintain a clear line of demarcation between the ministerial priesthood and the priesthood of the laity does not imply that all the possibilities of the priesthood of the laity should be suppressed, does it?

  63. Matt says:

    “One thing I try to show more then anything, atleast to almighty God, who we know is watching, is my unworthiness. The first time I did it, I was in such profound awe. I approach it with humility, or atleast I try.”

    Good for you Patrick Finley. As a seminarian on a Pastoral Year I must say I wish all EMHC’s shared your reverence and awareness.

    Geoff Jones, I certainly hear what you’re saying… I’m in your same shoes… and I have a pastor’s approval/positive evaluation to worry about…

  64. Matt says:

    Lee, you may need to read through the above posts again. I think the conclusion so far is that lay people can/should only bless their own children (outside of Mass) and that the Communion procession is intended for Communion. A blessing here renders superfluous the Final Blessing at the end of Mass.

    This is a bit of a digression, but I have one more thought. You said “In fact, it seems a great solution to the problem of people coming forward and receiving communion unworthily out of the human respect engendered by every one else in their pew getting into line. They can still come forward, but not receive. Wonderful!”

    This is why I think the common use of ushers standing at the end of each pew and directing everyone into the procession (as if we can’t figure it out) should be re-evaluated. The sort of mass-exodus of laypeople from the pews too the altar rail for Communion in the EF made it less obvious who was abstaining due to mortal sin, etc. Now those who would abstain are made to feel pressured to process.

  65. Larry says:

    I wonder if Jesus Christ minds inparting HIS blessing on anyone who presents themselves, especially children. Some how I think HE probably enjoys raining down HIS GRACE on whom ever HE wishes! Just a thought; or are you implying that GOD is the hostage of a confused Congregation of Divine Worship?

  66. Central Valley Catholic says:

    1. The liturgical blessing of the Holy Mass is properly given to each and to all at the conclusion of the Mass, just a few moments subsequent to the distribution of Holy Communion.
    2. Lay people, within the context of Holy Mass, are unable to confer blessings. These blessings, rather, are the competence of the priest (cf. Ecclesia de Mysterio, Notitiae 34 (15 Aug. 1997), art. 6, § 2; can. 1169, § 2; and Roman Ritual De Benedictionibus (1985), n. 18).
    3. Furthermore, the laying on of a hand or hands—which has its own sacramental significance, inappropriate here—by those distributing Holy Communion, in substitution for its reception, is to be explicitly discouraged

    Here is another diocese of Fresno, Ca. escapade. At some Chruches the priest at the final blessing of the body, invites all to out stretch their hands and convey a blessing on the deceased. I asked one time about laymen doing a final blessing at a funeral Mass and the civilians giving blessings at communion, I was told “this diocese likes alot of blessings.”

    Holy Father help us….

  67. Crusader says:

    We should immediately re-install altar rails in all churches, ban reception of Communion in the hand, and ban the use of EMHCs. This would solve so many problems, and reinvigorate respect for and belief in the Real Presence. How can our bishops allow these abuses to continue, if they really believed in the Real Presence?

    Better yet, ban the Novus Ordo. It has completely killed the Faith in Europe, and weakened the Faith in the US. It has led to the destruction of myriads of churches and high altars. It has decreased the number of Masses offered throughout the world. It has weakened the priesthood and religious life. On the contrary, wherever the TLM is offered, the Faith is strengthened. Respect for the Real Presence grows. Vocations flourish. Why can’t the bishops see this? You shall know a tree by its fruits…

  68. Ben Trovato says:

    Geoff Jones

    I read what youwrote with full sympathy (though not full agreement) – until your last line: \”If I were to just sit up the back with my St Andrews missal then I would achieve NOTHING.\”

    I think there you are mistaken (at least, if by ‘just sit,’ you mean ‘ just sit and pray’.)

    The Church has always recognised both the active and the contemplative vocations. Someone at the back, simply praying, may be a great saint achieving a huge amount. There is not enough prayer and contemplation at Mass.

    For myself, I take a more counter cultural approach. I kneel at the incarnation in the Creed, and kneel for communion (always at the priest’s feet) and receive on the tongue. I am the only person whodeos this at our parish, and at first people saw me as an oddity, and assumed it was some arrogant way of drawing attention to myself, Now, several years later, people are beginning to be interested in my real motives and approach – not least as we are the only family in the parish whose teenage children still attend Mass without fail – under their own volition.

  69. RC says:

    You’ll like this.

    On the 1st at noon, I went to a regular English Mass at a Boston suburban parish, and it was amazing.

    First, it was standing room only, which is pretty rare for a holy day that Catholics tend to overlook. All the pews were full, and the loft too. There were a lot of big families. I estimated about 300 people were there.

    And the priest — the one priest — distributed Holy Communion to all the faithful who received: all by himself, with no EMHCs.

    And somehow we lived! In all, the Mass took an hour and five minutes.

    Later, friends told me that people come to that parish from several towns because the pastor is so committed to doing the right things.

  70. Elliot says:

    I agree 100% with Crusader…scrap the NO, restore the TLM and be done with it.

  71. rosie says:

    Ditto Crusader.

  72. TJ says:

    I’ve only ever seen the women give the faux blessings, never the men. I’ve always been convinced they do it as a not-too-subtle affirmation of women-priests, thus using the EMHC position to promote heresy.

  73. Mark says:

    I am very happy to have learned from an EMHC who knew what he was doing. He’d simply make a cross on a person’s forehead and express the wish that God may bless this or that person. I did the exact same thing when I was ‘pressed into service’ as an EMHC and give Communion to the choir in the choir loft, where there was one lady who was not Catholic.

  74. Lay people should not bestow blessings in any liturgical context. That said, extra-liturgical lay blessings have a rich tradition in the Church (parents, saints, table blessings, etc etc). It would seem to be linked to the exercise of our Common Priesthood in Christ.

  75. Roland de Chanson says:

    I had to go to a Novus Ordo service yesterday. Couldn’t be helped — we were visiting with the inlaws. Quando non in Roma…

    The elder spent most of the first half of the service sitting off to the side as the “lay readers” performed. Now I suppose I’m technically in a state of mortal sin, having moments before had disturbingly lecherous thoughts about the super-model lectoress and her decidedly untraditional décolleté vestment. But when the entire church joins in the receiving lines, so do I. I briefly wonder if I am in the line for cafeteria catholics.

    I am unsure what this week’s protocol is for accepting the “wafer” so I just held out my hand as the would-be presbyteress announced “boddya Christ”. Do these EMHC’s even do a lavabo? I am eyed by a stern looking bouncer (a new minor order to replace the doorkeepers who were shown the door?) as I turned back; I think he was there to make sure that the “wafers” were consumed — pilferage must be a problem.

    Back in the pew, I make a Spiritual Communion. Just to be sure.

    At the end, a big round of applause for the choir at the elder’s request. They weren’t bad if you like reedy voices. I didn’t know even one of the numbers they sang. Though I see by the parish bulletin they did “O Holy Night.” I won’t vouch for it. Strangely though, I am looking forward to the next visit. I wonder if the super-model is one of the liturgical dancers.

    Ripara la casa mia che cade in rovina ….

  76. Eric says:

    I thought Athanasius had a very informative post (because it happened to address the question I was pondering). But it leaves me with a follow-up question: what about the non-ordained saints of whom it is recorded that they made the Sign of the Cross as a sign of blessing of objects (not people)? They wouldn’t necessarily obtain any special authority to bless objects by virtue of their office would they?

  77. Garrett says:

    “Lay people should not bestow blessings in any liturgical context. That said, extra-liturgical lay blessings have a rich tradition in the Church (parents, saints, table blessings, etc etc). It would seem to be linked to the exercise of our Common Priesthood in Christ.”

    Thank you, Father Deacon, for taking the few seconds to explain this. This was what I was after when I asked about whether it was proper for parents to sign their children with the Sign of the Cross/bless them. Apparently others mistakenly thought I was after a terse answer with no explanation. The lack of a liturgical context seems to explain well why these bedtime blessings would be okay.

  78. Nancy says:

    Just curious, but does anyone else wonder if maybe some of the sentiment behind these types of practices is the desire on the part of many modern Catholics to just do away with “priests” altogether? Or, at the very least, to make the priesthood available to everyone, consecrated or not?

  79. Geo. F says:

    Fr. Z’s point is well taken that “… is whether Communion time is really the time for blessings.”

    This being said, it is a nice local custom as long as the sacred species is in no way compromised (i.e. no touching)our priests make the sign of the cross with the host…as he does when someone receives communion. I think that it is good practice for young children to get into the habit of kneeling at the altar rail.

    I’ve seen deacons do this, and this appears to be okay since they truly have Holy Orders.

    I’ve never witnessed EMHC doing this, but am not surprised some of them are trying to co-opt the priesthood (They will fail).

    Very disturbing were altar girls at a local “catholic” high school invited up at Mass to lift the chalice with the priest at the minor elevation.

  80. Mark said: I am very happy to have learned from an EMHC who knew what he was doing. He’d simply make a cross on a person’s forehead and express the wish that God may bless this or that person. I did the exact same thing when I was ‘pressed into service’ as an EMHC and give Communion to the choir in the choir loft, where there was one lady who was not Catholic.

    Once at a sparcely attended weekday Mass at my small parish, the priest, during the homily, invited the people to reflect on what had touched them from the daily readings. One woman who I thought I knew pretty well, spoke out and told of her experiences of sorrow after her husband’s death many years before and how she had finally come to terms with his death. I was so moved by what she shared with us, that at Communion time at which she served as an EMHC (small attendance but we receive under both species), I reached out and marked the sign of the cross on her forehead, knowing that God was present to her in her grief and in the telling of her story. Then, I took the cup and drank…

    There was no feeling that I was taking the priest’s prerogative or trying to show off or anything like that. It was simply a recognition of her holiness and my thankfulness that God had spoken to us through her…

  81. Prof. Basto says:

    My understanding is that the blessing imparted by parents or Godparents to their children or Godchildren is completely different from priestly blessings.

    If I’m not mistaken, proper way for the father or mother or godfather to bless the child is by making the sign of the Cross directly on the forehead of the child, with the thumb of the right hand, without saying any words.

    Thus, it is entirely different from the blessing given by priests, who say words of formulae such as “May the Blessing of Almighty God (…)” and who use the hands or the index and middle fingers raised up to make the Sign of the Cross in the air, at a distance from those who receive the Blessing.

  82. ben says:

    Abp. Chaput addressed this issue for Denver several years ago. He prohibited blessings durring communion, but instead instructed communion ministers to invite those who come forward who are unable to recived communion to a spiritual cummunion by saying “May you recived Jesus in your heart”, or some other similar words.

    I bless my children every day. But I have never blessed my wife. Is that allowed? What about her blessing me?

  83. Derik says:

    Last time I saw that at the Cathedral in Lexington, it seemed that they same hand that distributes communion blesses the children. There may be a risk of desecration.

  84. tradone says:

    Thanks to all who researched this for us. Good resources.
    This EU question, along with many others that I see on WDTPRS, lets me see how fortunate I am to have TLM’s within less than 30-40 min away, not only on Sunday but daily! Yes plural churchs!
    I never have to set foot in a NO again. After all these years I am at peace again.
    The only prob now is the (non-traditional looking) deacon reaching over the Communion Rail to give out blessings while assisting with Communion.
    I know I shouldn’t complain, my problems are so small compared to others. I pray TLM becomes available for all.

  85. Trevor says:

    My question isn’t really about EMHCs, but more about blessings during Communion. Can a priest celebrating the NO make the Sign of the Cross with the Host before giving It to the communicant? Also, are the words “Corpus Christi” and “Sanguis Christi” definite parts of the new Mass, or can the priest substitute the older benediction?

    In regards to priests giving blessings during Communion, this is one of the reasons I tend to stay in the pews when not receiving Communion (as opposed to getting in line and making the “Not Receiving” gesture to the priest). In my experience, priests tend to make an effort to touch my forehead. Considering they’ve not yet taken abulations, I don’t want Sacred Particles on my person.

  86. Frank H says:

    “On the 1st at noon, I went to a regular English Mass at a Boston suburban parish, and it was amazing.” Comment by RC.

    RC, will you identify this apparently wonderful parish?

  87. JustDave says:

    When I was trained at a EMHC we were told to touch the person on the head and give them the directive “Become the Body of Christ”. THis is clearly not a belssing and it still what I do when I act in the function of a EMHC. Although unless someone comes up with their arms crossed I do not offer it. I have noticed that the newly trained EMHCs are saying “May God’s blessings be upon you”. I am not comfortable with that.

    We give our children blessings ech morning using holy water that we keep in a font by the door. I have also given blessings like that to the children in my faith formation class.

  88. JD Carriere says:

    JustDave…
    “Become the Body of Christ”??
    Oh my.
    Next time, use: “Become somebody who doesn’t make up weird crap and insert it in the Mass”.

  89. Rouxfus says:

    A Traditional Catholic web site has an article on parental blessing:

    http://traditionalcatholicism83.blogspot.com/2007/03/bless-your-children.html

  90. Eric says:

    JD Carriere — ROFL

  91. Jeff Pinyan says:

    Trevor — 5 January 2009 @ 5:30 pm – the Communion formula was changed in 1964:

    DOL 252. SC RITES, Decree Quo actuosius, promulgating a new formulary for the distribution of communion, 25 April 1964: AAS 56 (1964) 337-338.
     
    {2034} In order that the people may more actively and beneficially take part in the sacrifice of the Mass and profess their faith in the eucharistic mystery in the very act of receiving communion, numerous requests have been submitted to Pope Paul VI for a more appropriate formulary for the distribution of communion.
     
    Graciously welcoming such requests, the Pope has established that in the distribution of communion, in place of the formulary now in use, the priest simply to say: The body of Christ and the people are to answer: Amen, then receive communion. This is to be followed whenever communion is distributed, both within and outside Mass.
     
    All things to the contrary notwithstanding, even those worthy of special mention.

    I do not think it is permissible for a priest celebrating the Ordinary Form to use the formula from the Extraordinary Form — nor vice versa (as I experienced a bit unexpectedly recently).

    From my point of view, the previous form could have been adjusted only slightly to facilitate the “active participation” (which here apparently means saying something) of the faithful:

    Priest: Hoc Corpus Dómini nostri Jesu Christi custódiat ánimam tuam in vitam aetérnam.
    Communicant: Amen.

    The priest is now saying, in effect, “May this, the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, preserve your soul unto life everlasting” to which the communicant responds “Amen”. It is still a blessing, yet it incorporates a profession of faith from the communicants: no longer is “some” Body of our Lord Jesus Christ (which is not identified with the Host being received) preserving their soul, but this which is the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  92. JD Carriere says:

    As did Paul VI when he made the change, Jeff, you’re missing the point entirely that kneeling to receive is a perfect and complete method by which the faithful “actively profess their faith in the eucharistic mystery”. Actions speak louder than words, even when ICEL’s not the one translating.

  93. Jeff Pinyan says:

    JD Carriere — 7 January 2009 @ 1:55 pm – I don’t understand your comment. I was answering Trevor’s question:

    My question isn’t really about EMHCs, but more about blessings during Communion. Can a priest celebrating the NO make the Sign of the Cross with the Host before giving It to the communicant? Also, are the words “Corpus Christi” and “Sanguis Christi” definite parts of the new Mass, or can the priest substitute the older benediction?

    “As did Paul VI when he made the change” is referring to what?

    Nothing I wrote about had to do with kneeling (which was still in practice in 1964, if I’m not mistaken) nor a banal ICEL translation. While kneeling is certainly a way to “profess [your] faith in the eucharistic mystery in the very act of receiving communion”, there is no reason to imagine the faithful could not also say “Amen” (to the prayer and benediction which is said over them as they receive our Lord.

  94. Jeff Pinyan says:

    And, since the Communion formula is being mentioned, I’ll just add a few other notes from Dom Cabrol’s The Mass of the Western Rites:

    St. Augustine … seems to give even the formula for Communion: “accipite et edite Corpus Christi et potate Sanguinem Christi,” to which the faithful answered “Amen.”
     
    The ancient formula for Communion was formerly: “Corpus D.N.J.C. proficiat mihi sumenti et omnibus pro quibus hoc sacrificium attuli ad vitam et gaudiun sempiternum.” It is unnecessary to remark that this is not a very ancient formula, such as that given in “De Sacramentis,” which is very old. The Priest says: “Corpus Christi,” and the faithful reply: “Amen.”
     
    The little ceremonial for the Communion of the faithful is also later than St. Gregory’s day, when Communion was given with no other words but “Corpus Christi” and “Sanguis Christi,” to which the communicant responded “Amen.”

  95. JD Carriere says:

    Jeff,

    “As did Paul VI when he made the change” is referring to the change Paul VI made and the point he seems not to have grasped when he did it.

    That point is my response to your suggestion of further tinkering, or alternate tinkering, or tinkering of any stripe whatever. It not necessary. We don’t need a lot of chattiness and we don’t need a new formula each time we change our underpants. It doesn’t make things better.

    Kneeling and opening your mouth is active participation aplenty.

  96. Jeff Pinyan says:

    I understand now… I think I was seeing a period after ‘the change’ where you had a comma and reading two distinct sentences.

    I’m curious when the Communion formula was changed to its form in the E.F., and why the response of “Amen” from the communicant was dropped.

  97. JD Carriere says:

    Well, if you don’t know why it was changed, it seems to me you’d better find out before you support changing it back.

    Like one time, I looked at a wall in my house and said “Why did anyone ever put this wallpaper here on this wall? I think I’ll pull it down. After all, I don’t like it and I can’t see any good reason to have it”.

    So I pulled it down, and the wall fell in. Then, up to my ankles in rubble like a present-day Catholic bishop, I said:

    “Oh. That’s what it was for”.