QUAERITUR: Extraordinary ministers and hand cleanser (Fr. Z rants)

From a reader:

The EM’s at our parish, upon strolling up to the altar without genuflecting, or even bowing, proceed to clean their hands with a bottle of Purell, which they pass among themselves. They repeat this act after they have distributed Holy Communion. I have a visceral repugnance for this practice. But is this practice licit? Is is sacrilegious?

The employment of extraordinary ministers of Communion is, most of the time, repugnant.  First, it means that there are not enough priests.  That is bad.  Second, it usually isn’t necessary to have them.  That is an abuse.  Third, they are often employed under the pretense of getting people involved by getting them to do something that pertains to the clergy.  That is condescending clericalism.

What was the question again?

Oh yes.  Right.

I think ignoring the Blessed Sacrament is a bad thing.  Ignoring the altar is also wrong.  I don’t remember anything in the Praenotanda about setting our squirty bottles of hand cleanser.  I don’t recall any rubric governing its use.

NO.  Wrong wrong wrong bad bad bad.

If extraordinary ministers are to be employed, let them be reverent and discreet.  I think passing around a bottle of hand cleanser is TACKY.

Perhaps they are trying to put the congregation at ease about their germs.   To which we respond: Blech!  Who are you trying to kid?  Use the wretched stuff before hauling yourself out of your special pew, for pity’s sake.

Perhaps all the anxiety about the proper liturgical use of the hand sanatizer made them forget any sign of reverence?

Was the sanatizer the liturgical color of the day?

Okay.. I’ll stop now.

QUAERITUR: Extraordinary ministers and hand cleanser (Fr. Z rants)
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56 Responses to QUAERITUR: Extraordinary ministers and hand cleanser (Fr. Z rants)

  1. MikeM says:

    At our church, there’s a bottle of Purell on a table near the sacristy. It’s out of sight of the congregation. EMHCs step back there before going up to the altar… then they have clean hands and they didn’t disrupt the aesthetic of the Mass.

    I think people’s recent germophobia has gotten kind of out of hand, and frankly had never given any thought at all to the germs that might be on someone’s hands when I’m receiving Holy Communion… but, I think that the method we’ve used addresses the issue reasonably.

  2. Hieronymus says:

    The employment of extraordinary ministers of Communion is, most of the time, repugnant.

    Hip Hip, Hoooray!

    You should give yourself the gold star comment for that one, Father.

  3. Will D. says:

    My parish uses a similar method to the one that MikeM describes. It’s not distracting at all. And Father makes sure that everyone at least bows before entering and after leaving the sanctuary.

  4. xgenerationcatholic says:

    All we’re doing is breeding Supergerm.

  5. catholicmidwest says:

    We have that at one parish around here too. It’d be disgusting if it wasn’t so funny in an inbred poodle sort of way.

  6. jilly4ski says:

    LOL, I find this practice particularly annoying, but maybe because the EMHCs all stand around the alter rubbing the sanitizer in their hands while the Agnus Dei is being sung. In one particular Church they used so much hand sanitizer (or had bad ventilation) that the smell of alcohol would waft down into the pews. Yummy, I am going to receive rubbing alcohol.

  7. RichR says:

    My understanding is that if the only way you can do Both Species at Mass is by employing EMHC’s, then you are not to do it. Using extraordinary means to obtain merely recommended goals is disordered.

    This also goes for Deacons at Mass in the congregation receiving from an EMHC. If a Deacon (an Ordinary Minister of HC) is present, then an EMHC should bow out. Too many pastors are afraid that Sally, the local hairdresser, will throw a tizzy because it’s her week to pass out Communion, and Deacon Frank is here.

    We have developed a really twisted spirituality around this bizarre abuse.

  8. ejcmartin says:

    One parish I attend there is a group of EMHC’s in the front pew who upon the beginning of the “Our Father” start their ritual Purell cleansing. One time I witnessed one of the EMHC’s apply Purell then proceeded to take out a tissue and blow her nose. She then proceeded up to the altar.
    I fully agree that EMHC’s have gotten out of hand. I was at a weekday Mass the other day and there were maybe a dozen people. Yet lo and behold the EMHC marched right up there. Another time a local parish priest was retiring and there must have been half a dozen priests all the altar in this small parish church. Yet when it came time up came one of the EMHC’s to do her part. I must give the priests credit though. She stood there for a minute or two but was basically ignored and finally gave up and headed back to her pew.

  9. William says:

    ((I have a visceral repugnance for this practice.)) Right on! “visceral repugnance” describes my feelings exactly. Until now, I’ve never been able to find the words.

    Just to give you some idea of what I’m up against: Holy Mass tonight strummed to a conclusion with “They Will Know We are Christians by Our Love.” Your prayers are sought and very much appreciated as there are times when all this gets too much to bear. Thank you form the Diocese of Superior in Wisconsin.

  10. Agnes says:

    They will know we are Christians by our hand sanitizer.
    Everybody sing!

  11. jeffmcl says:

    This practice started after the whole swine flu thing at my church. Now I smell alcohol in the pews when I am preparing to receive communion. Since my church almost never uses incense, alcohol is the predominant smell.

  12. ErnieNYC says:

    Funny internet moment:

    “All we’re doing is breeding Supergerm.”

    …then, immediately following:

    “We have that at one parish around here too.”

    (Also known as the Parable of the Vague Antecedent!)

  13. cmm says:

    The thought of germs crossed my mind last week when our pastor had such a bad cold that he blanked out a couple of times while reading the Gospel, and kept coughing throughout the Mass. I rather wished he had used a hand sanitizer before distributing communion.

  14. ddobbs says:

    They do this at a few parishes in my neck of the woods. I understand why people want to do it, but I find it distracting for two reasons. 1. EME’s are usually milling around instead of standing still; and 2. You can taste the hand sanitizer when you receive communion (YECH!), and as far as I know, hand sanitizer was not designed to be tasted.

  15. JosephMary says:

    This sort of instruction came down from the bishop in my diocese. So, yes, the little army of all the same EMHCs stand at attention and all ‘purify’ their hands and rub them together there in the front of the church. But I am generally not watching; I have been to the lesson sessions though.

  16. cheekypinkgirl says:

    Every parish that I see here in SE Wisconsin seems to do the hand sanitizer thing. Seems to have popped up right around the time they stopped passing the cup when the H1N1 virus started making its’ rounds.

    I don’t like it either, but I wonder if it was a directive from someone up above in the Milwaukee archdiocese, since so many parishes do it now. IN FACT, someone at my parish paid to have little wood Purell bottle-holders installed on the ends of every 5th or 6th pew, so that the parishioners can use some, too! I do not get that at all!

  17. Microtouch says:

    You sir, have a singulary rapier wit.

  18. Girgadis says:

    With regard to hand sanitizer, I can’t recall having ever encountered a priest whose hands were not immaculate and impeccably cared for. If an EM, however unnecessary, is going to be utilized at Mass, they ought to take measures prior to the start of Mass to make sure their hands are also as pristine as hands can be. The whole sanitizer thing is over the top anyway, and we wonder why we have superbugs. It’s not like we have the Plague going around.
    So far as the behavior of EM’s at Mass is concerned, generally speaking, I think this directly reflects the attitude of the pastor towards reverence and adhering to the norms. I know there are times when a pastor inherits a large corps of EM’s and that change takes time, but it shouldn’t take more than a few months to see the glaring abuses and do something about them.

  19. The real problem here is the loss of the distinction between the sacred and the profane. It’s the same mentality that causes the appearance of barbecue lighters at Mass and “Good morning,” and “have a nice day” from the priest. In a liturgical action, all this stuff has no place. Sanitizing hands is not a liturgical action, any more than the priest’s washing his hands during the preparation of the gifts is a sanitary action. When we rediscover the difference between the sacred and profane, all these other distractions will disappear.

  20. JoyfulMom7 says:

    “Was the sanatizer the liturgical color of the day?”
    LOL, Father!

  21. dominic1955 says:

    I also think people make way too much out of the whole germaphobe thing. Getting sick is a fact of life, who cares? Unless the Black Death or Ebola is rampant in your area, I wouldn’t worry about germs, especially at church. Public bathrooms, random door knobs, etc. etc. all will have far more germs in them yet most people do not even think twice to open a door let alone get out their little bottle of jellied rubbing alcohol.

    I have a pretty strong immune system, and I loathe using hand sanitizer or medicating myself into a stupor for common illnesses when they do (rarely) come along. We’d all probably be generally healthier if we’d let our bodies fight these things the natural way. Just simply using some basic and low OCD level hygiene (like washing your hands once in a while) will serve 95% of us just fine.

  22. Thomas S says:

    The EMHC at my parish saunter through the sanctuary and into the sacristy without bowing to either the altar or tabernacle (which is of course to the side of the sanctuary). There they wash their hands and then take their place directly behind the priest just in time for the Ecce Agnus Dei.

    The whole swine flu “epidemic” had more casualties in sound liturgical practice than among the general population. Our pastor was emphatic about our not receiving on the tongue while the flu season persisted. He was silent about giving us the go-ahead to return to reception on the tongue. Long after I was able to receive on the tongue again, I approached an EMHC and was DENIED. I opened my mouth,but he reached for my folded hands against my stomach. I said, “Tongue,” and he said “We don’t do that here.” He then forced the Blessed Sacrament into my still folded hands. I demured so as not to cause a scene.

    I still don’t understand how placing the host on the tongue (which shouldn’t result in fingers-to-tongue contact) is less sanitary than the almost unavoidable hand-to-hand contact involved the other way while those receiving hands invariably wiped a nose or received a cough within the past 30 minutes.

    If we’re going to take this to the extremes of idiocy we should just employ that ridiculous and sacrilegious PEZ dispenser for Communion that Fr. Z posted about last year.

  23. Denis Crnkovic says:

    “Lavabo inter innocEMEs manus meas…”

  24. Father et al,
    Please say something about guarding the Holy Particles which are on the fingers of anyone who distributes Communion or even just takes Communion in the hand. There is a prescribed method of purifing fingers which takes the Real Presence into account. These bishops who are pushing us to treat the Particles as if they were germs or dried up boogers !! I’m at a loss to continue! This is not a laughing matter. It is, as Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s mother told him, a crying matter!

    k.c.

  25. Dean says:

    Not enough priests. Our parish has three priests assigned and until recently a very experienced Deacon but generally have only one priest present in the church for each of six Masses. We still have a platoon of EMs at every Mass and, yes, they all do the hand-rubbing ritual.
    A couple of weeks ago, there was a priest sitting at the edge of the sanctuary with the readers, song leader, EMs, and cheerleaders. He was introduced by one of the readers. Then at Communion time, he arose and went to the sacristy.
    When we had the swine flu scare, the word was that the bishop had determined that instead of holding hands, everyone should assume the Orans posture, just like they do several other times during the Mass. The milling around shaking hands for the Sign of Peace was still approved.

  26. Kate says:

    At a couple of local churches, there are hand sanitizer bottles ON THE ALTAR – two bottles, one on each end! They are always in their “proper” position – right next to the candles. EMHC’s take a “ceremonial” squirt and rub their hands together before receiving the Blessed Sacrament for distribution while the entire congregation AND THE PRIEST wait and watch patiently for the hand rubbing to end.

  27. wanderlust64 says:

    Forgive me if my thinking is overly simplistic, but shouldn’t receiving the Body and Blood of Christ pretty much obliterate all fears? Isn’t it all about His Love for us? If some contagion affects the faithful through their participation, consider it a gift; we truly know Him through suffering. I have found this practice in our parish to be deeply disturbing, as well.

  28. mpolo says:

    I recently visited the U.S. for the first time in 7 years, and was quite taken aback by the germ-o-phobia. The Today show was spouting out about how you’re endangering your child’s life if you don’t have at least three lunchboxes — one being sanitized, one drying, and one with the kid at school. However, the parish where I was did not have hand sanitizer as part of the Communion Rite. (There they are reducing the number of times that Communion is distributed under both species because many EMs refuse to take a day to do the Virtus program, so they have a shortage…)

  29. ruadhri says:

    Not only in the US. Here in Australia, too. Well, they tried to scare the daylights out of everyone with the swine flu “threat”, which didn’t eventuate and the Government has had to destroy hundreds of thousands of unused doses that nobody wanted. But the squirty bottles remain – on the credence table in our church. The parish priest makes a thing of sanitising his hands at the start of the Offertory. Oh, and as for liturgical colors, well, it’s PINK. What does that tell us?

  30. poohbear says:

    At a couple of local churches, there are hand sanitizer bottles ON THE ALTAR – two bottles, one on each end! They are always in their “proper” position – right next to the candles.

    Those alcohol-based hand sanitizers are flammable. Next to the candles is the last place they should be.

    Yes, I know they should not be anywhere on the Altar, but since they ARE there, it is obvious someone doesn’t care about the rules, so maybe they might care about a fire hazard.

  31. Brother Paul Mary says:

    I must remember this phrase when I have to visit certain places in Ireland.

    Wrong wrong wrong bad bad bad…

    Br. Paul

  32. No EMHCs at our parish, but a parish I attend when we cannot drive the 90 miles round trip to Mass at our own parish, uses the hand sanitizer bit. But, we do not receive Holy Communion from anyone other than the Priest or the deacon; we prefer receiving from the Priest. We sit in the very back when we are visiting an unknown parish and that way we can approach the Priest’s line without too much confusion or attention drawn to ourselves. Of course, our veils and modest clothing usually get a funny look but that isn’t my problem… :0)

  33. albizzi says:

    American people have a big problem with the germ’s fear.
    My wife who lived in Vietnam many years ago remembers that at a restaurant some american officers always carried in their pocket a small rubber bladder to “blow the germs off the dishes” before eating. That was a bit ridiculous and much amused the natives and the french people there.
    I could read once a research that demonstrated that if the soap wasn’t properly processed and stored you may count more germs after washing one’s hands than before.
    Has anyone heard about an epidemic that was spread by the communion in the churches?
    An those who came to bath in the water of Lourdes know how the water in the pool doesn’t look quite clear because it serves for many people among them a lot are ill and may carry skin diseases and germs. Those who have faith don’t care and go to bath anyway.
    I am certain that the priest’s hands which are purposely consecrated to touch the Sacred Species (that nobody was allowed to touch but the priest alone until Paul VI changed this) are germ free and cannot transmit diseases. That’s why I prefer to receive the communion from a priest and nobody other.

  34. WaywardSailor says:

    Thank you for posting this, Father. There are times when I feel as though I am alone in my dismay at some of the things that happen during the Mass. Since the beginning of the H1N1 hysteria last year, this “ritual” has become not only particularly irksome, but also a permanent fixture. At our parish, at the beginning of the Agnus Dei, four to six EMHCs stampede the altar from all directions (no reverence given – we’re entitled to be here, don’t you know) and proceed to the altar servers’ table where they stand in a gaggle (why is it that the vast majority of EMHCs are post-menopausal women?) and perform their ablutions by less-than-discreetly passing the bottle of sanitizer among themselves. They continue with this distraction during the priest’s communion as they assemble in a semi-circle behind the altar, holding their hands in front of their faces and rubbing the sanitizer in, as though to prove to the congregation that their hands have been purified.

    Conversely, when I attend Mass at a Benedictine Abbey near which I am fortunate to live, the good priests (four at each Mass) do not sanitize their hands before they distribute the Holy Eucharist. Amazingly, no one ever contracts diseases from this apparent lack of hygiene.

  35. RichR says:

    Just sneeze really loudly into your hands, wipe your nose with your hands, and then pick your nose a little……as the priest is intoning, “Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our Savior gave us….”

    No one will have a problem with you not holding their hand, then.

    A wheezy cough helps, too.

  36. Boanerges says:

    Ditto here. But, as the Church does very well, she provides a timely reading:

    Habakkuk 1: 2 – 3
    2: O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and thou wilt not hear? Or cry to thee “Violence!” and thou wilt not save? 3: Why dost thou make me see wrongs and look upon trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.

  37. Rob in Maine says:

    The practice started up in our parish last year during the swine flu scare.

    Often I see an alter boy/acolyte step down the line – and we do have a line- of EMoHCs giving each a squirt. I guess it gives them something to do…

  38. Everyone: Please understand that most of the people who volunteer to be Extraordinary Ministers of Communion are good people with good intentions. They are trying to be helpful. They are well-meaning. They are devout.

    The responsibility for liturgical decorum rests with the clergy. I don’t think it is right to pick on the lay people who are trying to help as EMHCs.

    You can pick on the priests, however. If something is going on that violates the letter and the spirit of the liturgy, the clergy are responsible.

  39. TrueLiturgy says:

    cheekypinkgirl is correct. There is actually a directive from the Bishop’s Office for Worship for the use of hand sanitizer by EMHCs. It started with the whole H1N1 virus issue. Many dioceses have this directive out. My particular diocese has not rescinded the directive. Also, there was recently a study done. Hand sanitizer is not effective. 50/100 people got a cold or flu without using it. 48/100 people got a cold or flu while using it. :-\ Not much point to using it in the first place.

  40. Sandy says:

    Your rant :) says it all, what more could I add! Thank you, Father, for the summary of all that is wrong. Actually, I could add one more criticism of what I’ve seen. The hand shaking and greeting goes on as the EMHCs reach the altar regardless of the fact that the sign of peace is over. Oh Lord, how long must we wait?

  41. Supertradmum says:

    OK, I shall pick on the priests. In several churches in our diocese, the sanitizer sits on a table in the sanctuary or next to the cruets used in the washing of the hands. And, the priests sanitize their hands in these parishes, which are, by the way, in the wealthier neighborhoods.

    One priest makes a huge show of sanitizing his hands before passing out the Holy Eucharist.

    Dare I use the term-Spermatophobia?

  42. Trevor says:

    Father,

    About the EMHC’s not showing reverence, I’m told that the rubrics indicate that servers and the like aren’t supposed to make genuflections during Mass (or at least the GIRM is silent on this matter). So perhaps it isn’t a lack of reverence on their part?

  43. Jayna says:

    I’ve seen the hand sanitizer routine in just about every American church I’ve been in. There’s a bottle of it right next to the tabernacle in my parish church.

  44. biberin says:

    We do use foam sanitizer at my parish, for the priest, deacon, and the EMHCs, which evaporates more quickly than the gel stuff and has very little odor. It started with H1N1. I think we’re fairly discreet about it. The thing that gets me, though, is that when the very first person takes the cup from my hands, their unsanitized hands totally negate anything I did to make sure my hands were clean. (Oh, and if there weren’t sanitizer provided, I would bring my own and use it, because I have my kids with me and often wouldn’t feel right receiving, because I don’t know how clean my hands are. I can try, but with kids things sometimes happen.)

    At the height of the H1N1 scare, we suspended reception from the cup at the children’s school Masses, but that was all.

  45. Elizabeth D says:

    My experiences of urging modest dress for Extraordinary Ministers and Lectors, because of their own dignity and the dignity of the Holy Mass and my own and some others’ deep discomfort about receiving the Lord from immodestly dressed people, and the difficulty in obtaining even a little positive change in this area, has deepened my dislike for the use of Extraordinary Ministers. At least one of our pastors, who used to seem unhappy with me for concerning myself about this, has moved closer toward feeling that he ought to crack down about it and also told me “you have a right” to receive communion from someone dressed appropriately and told me if it arises I should go around and get in the priest’s line to receive from him.

    Someone said they thought that it’s not in keeping with the liturgical instructions to use EMHC in order to be able to provide communion under both species. The way I recall is that the GIRM and other documents say the opposite quite clearly, that it is so good to offer Communion under both species at least on certain occasions like Sundays that this should be done even if there are not enough priests and Extraordinary Ministers must be used. It also says excessive numbers of them should not be used, even if this means prolonging communion time. It seems that whether we personally like the use of Extraordinary Ministers, the Ordinary Form of the Mass calls for their use at least some of the time in situations where there are not an abundance of priests. Though it would be good if they would try harder some time for a non celebrant priest or a deacon, even if he does not attend the whole Mass, to come and distrubute Communion (my understanding is this is acceptable and preferable to using EMHCs but I am not sure I have ever seen it done).

    I was asked to help as a sacristan at a Catholic hospital. Not only do their EMHCs do the hand sanitizer routine (even making a show of it, like a pro-hand-washing commercial), one or two of the priest celebrants substitute hand sanitzer for the ritual handwashing “Lord wash away my iniquity” though other times they completely omit the ritual handwashing (our Capuccin Franciscans here always seem to omit this, one told me one time “God will wash my hands”). I expressed concern about this and so many other things (no altar cloth on the ROUND ALTAR, using a purificator as a corporal, and providing NO purificator to use as a purificator?? though they later told me that someone had just been misinformed) , that they did not ask me back to be sacristan anymore. Even though there was so much wrong, I wish I had been more tactful and more obedient about it, which was what I was told to in the confessional, by a priest who certainly believes in doing things right.

  46. Just more reason to return to ‘T’radition and eliminate this major source of abuse. Let Father be the father and feed his children from his marriage to the Church and remove all the “extraordinary” stuff which is never extraordinary, but has become the de facto norm, the ordinary, of usurpation.

  47. Jakub says:

    EMHC’s will not be eliminated since the majority of them are women, they will not give this position up easily…

    Communion by intinction is the best option…

  48. Fr. Z, thanks for a smile-inducing “rant” :)
    and thanks to everyone else for your input :)

    I have a question though– I go to daily Mass at the parish that just so happily happens to be on my college campus. When I’m getting over a cold (still coughing/runny nose), I’ll use santizer on my hands before Holy Communion and then recieve on hands instead of tongue like I usually do.
    So am I being reasonable or am I being silly or what? Guidance please!!!

  49. becket1 says:

    Good thing you are all not Orthodox Christians where everyone receives Communion from the same spoon and not a single Orthodox Christian complains about germs. The West has allot to learn. If you are so worried about germs, than that goes to show you really don’t believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior in the Holy and Divine Mysteries. Is Christ a “germ” to you!!!. Those who complain should be ashamed of themselves and seriously repent!!.

  50. cmm says:

    Well, that’s not quite how it is, at least not in the Ukrainian Catholic church. The spoon is not actually in physical contact with the person receiving communion. I attended one Mass there once and what happened, as one kid described it to me, was that the priest put on the spoon a small piece of bread dipped into the wine, then “threw it into my mouth” with the spoon.

  51. Mashenka says:

    Call me stupid and sentimental, or say I have no literary taste, but here is a poem for you all that should help to quell the odour of Purell:

    The Beautiful Hands of a Priest

    http://tinyurl.com/26937ac

  52. dominic1955 says:

    becket1,

    The Blessed Sacrament isn’t magic. One can still get drunk off of the Precious Blood because the accidents of wine remain. One can still die from a poisoned Host because the accidents remain. You are right that we shouldn’t be afraid of germs, but not because turning of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ somehow put a magical shield on any natural irregularity.

    No, we should not be afraid of germs because its being overly anxious about silly little things, simple as that.

  53. Anacortian says:

    A friend sent this blog to me, and I wrote a reply. She suggested I ought post it. That being said:

    I agree that hand sanitizer is unnecessary. I would insist, however, that following the wishes of one’s ordinary bishop is of paramount necessity. Archbishop Brunett made the use of sanitizer by all distributing Communion compulsory (Priest prior to Mass). Anyone advocating disobedience here is advocating heresy. [Heresy? No. This has nothing to do with doctrine. Also, I think it is highly questionable that a bishop has the authority to require that people put something on their hands. He can make a suggestion, of course. If the suggestion is a good one, it will be persuasive.]

    Antiquity is not equal to correctness. Personal, chemical sanitizer is a rather new invention. One cannot exclude something from the Liturgy merely for not being there before. [It may be that you didn’t fully undersand the top entry.] New items can be incorporated fro reasons of function, expedience, or even visual appeal. Taken to it’s natural conclusion, the idea behind not using sanitizer strictly for not being mentioned in the Praenotanda would also exclude reinforced concrete and woods not native to Israel for church construction, cotton and synthetic fibers for Liturgical vestments, violins and all instruments with keyboards for Liturgical music, and red paint without lead. These things also did not exist at the time of Christ. If the mustard seed is not allowed to grow, and we really must do things exactly as they were done at their first instance, then Mass can only be done in the upper room, in Jerusalem, on Holy Thursday.

    It would be a great benefit to have enough priests for Communal distribution. The only parish I am equipped to defend, however, has one. Extraordinary ministers are needed. [Maybe.] Like all Liturgical positions, recruitment should be a balance of interest and necessity. Ideally, we should only admit those that want to, but more active steps can sometimes be required since the existence of extraordinary ministers should imply a need for them.

    Some may insist that the laity is somehow too profane [?!?] to minister in this way; some may at least insist that women ought never take this ministry. If one is unsuitable to administer the Eucharist by virtue of lay statue, then all with lay status are unsuitable to receive the Eucharist. The Blood of the Son administered in Baptism makes one worthy to receive; the Fire of the Spirit administered in Confirmation makes one worthy to administer. Obviously, we should have our most christened minister any Sacrament, but only one with any degree of Holy Orders is my Parish, and all else are equal by Confirmation. Women? You cannot tell me women did not serve at table at the Last Supper unless you can tell me where they were. [And so we remain at this impasse.]

    As to reverence, all should be reverent. I would argue that all should drop to both knees and put their head to the ground for each step in the Communal Procession, but the economy of the situation requires us to be moderate. Here our ordinary bishop has ruled that we are to make a profound head-bow before saying Amen before each species of Christ. This action makes prior reverence redundant, [I don’t have the slightest idea what that meant.] though I would personally like to see a bit more poise among the extraordinary ministers at my own parish.

    Lastly, I must take exception to the damned particular judgment of particular folk implicit in the blog. [?!?] Where he wrote about Purell, he wrote amorally. Where he wrote about extraordinary ministers, he wrote immorally. His Charity is evanescent before a woman humbly doing what, with overwhelming likelihood, Mary humbly did one Passover. I do not think even Father Z [EVEN Father Z?] would say that extraordinary ministry is a damning offense, but I know what Jesus said of those who look down their noses at folk, and I know what Paul wrote of those who dared to such a thing with the Church. The doom of such a being does fills me with dread. [What is this, Tolkien? C’mon, fella. More brevity, less drama = more convincing.]

  54. poohbear says:

    Though it would be good if they would try harder some time for a non celebrant priest or a deacon, even if he does not attend the whole Mass, to come and distrubute Communion (my understanding is this is acceptable and preferable to using EMHCs but I am not sure I have ever seen it done).

    This is how it is done at my new parish. We are blessed to have 4 priests, and the non-celebrating priests always distribute communion. We also only have communion under one species. Sometime there are one or two EMHC’s if one or more of the priests has to cover at a neighboring parish, but they are very discreet when arriving at the altar.

  55. irishgirl says:

    Good ‘rant’ there, Father Z! : )

    I go to the EF Mass exclusively, so I don’t have to deal with EMHCs.

    When the priest places the Host on my tongue, I don’t even feel his fingers.

  56. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Good comments on this from you Father.
    Concerning the use of the sanitizer AFTER distributing Holy Communion: does this mean there is no ablution of fingertips/hands in water? where are the sacred particles going?

    “Communion in the hand” of anyone who does not have consecrated hands is an abuse. Yes, yes, it is ‘allowed’ but rarely are the practitioners submitting to the stringent rules. Haven’t we seen enough?