From a reader:
I moved to a new parish about month ago, and while I didn’t register (I usually move every few months for work), I do contribute monetarily. I’m unsure if I’m even in a position to raise a concern.
This parish has reverent Masses, but there is an odd practice I’m not used to seeing- the EMHC’s purifying the Sacred Vessels after Mass and consuming the remaining Precious Blood.
I didn’t think it was my business to meddle into how the priest runs his parish, but the last couple of weeks have made me re-think that.
Two weeks ago I was praying after Mass had ended, and I was startled by a loud metal crashing sound coming from the side table below the Sanctuary steps. I looked up, and one of the EMHC’s had dropped either the priest’s chalice, or one of the common chalices. I was bothered by it, but didn’t do anything.
Then this weekend, I was sitting in the pews somewhat close to the table praying after Mass, but I got distracted by all the EMHC’s. They were huddled around the table, and while they were consuming the remainder of the Precious Blood, they were visiting with each other.
When you are not formally a member of a parish, it is harder to intervene in these matters.
However, I think it is within your rights to express your concerns, kindly and respectfully, to the pastor.
In Redemptionis Sacramentum we read:
6. Complaints Regarding Abuses in Liturgical Matters
[183.] In an altogether particular manner, let everyone do all that is in their power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected. This is a most serious duty incumbent upon each and every one, and all are bound to carry it out without any favouritism.
[184.] Any Catholic, whether Priest or Deacon or lay member of Christ’s faithful, has the right to lodge a complaint regarding a liturgical abuse to the diocesan Bishop or the competent Ordinary equivalent to him in law, or to the Apostolic See on account of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff. It is fitting, however, insofar as possible, that the report or complaint be submitted first to the diocesan Bishop. This is naturally to be done in truth and charity.
While this says “the diocesan bishop”, I would start with the pastor. Very calmly express your observations and concerns.
Redemptionis Sacramentum 119 points out that, after the priest and deacon, the duly instituted acolyte purifies vessels, not someone who substitutes for the acolyte.
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion do not… not… have permission in the USA to purify sacred vessels. This permission was explicitly denied by the Holy See. It had earlier been permitted, but the permission was not renewed. NB: The Pope himself got involved with this one.
It is therefore a serious liturgical abuse for EMCH’s to purify. It may be that the pastor of the parish is not aware of this.
Here is the text of the letter from the Holy See explanation the situation to the USCCB:
CONGREGATIO CULTO DIVINO ET DISCIPLINA SACRAMENTORUM
Prot. n. 468/05/L Rome, 12 October 2006
I refer to your letters of 9 March 2005 and 7 March 2006, in which, in the name of the Conference of Bishops of which you are President, you requested a renewal of the indult for extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion to purify the sacred vessels after Mass, where there are not enough priests or deacons to purify a large number of chalices that might be used at Mass.
I have put the whole matter before the Holy Father in an audience which he granted me on 9 June 2006, and received instructions to reply as follows:
1. There is no doubt that “the sign of Communion is more complete when given under both kinds, since in that form the sign of the Eucharistic meal appears more clearly” (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 281; Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 390).
2. Sometimes, however, the high number of communicants may render it inadvisable for everyone to drink from the chalice (cf. Redemptionis Sacramentum, no. 102). Intinction with reception on the tongue always and everywhere remains a legitimate option, by virtue of the general liturgical law of the Roman Rite.
3. Catechesis of the people is important regarding the teaching of the Council of Trent that Christ is fully present under each of the species. Communion under the species of the bread alone, as a consequence, makes it possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace (cf. Denzinger-Schönmetzer, no. 1729; General Instruction of the Roman Missal, nos. 11, 282). “For pastoral reasons”, therefore, “this manner of receiving Communion has been legitimately established as the most common form in the Latin rite” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1390).
4. Paragraph 279 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal directs that the sacred vessels are to be purified by the priest, the deacon or an instituted acolyte. The status of this text as legislation has recently been clarified by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. It does not seem feasible, therefore, for the Congregation to grant the requested indult from this directive in the general law of the Latin Church.
5. This letter is therefore a request to the members of the Bishops’ Conference of the United Status of America to prepare the necessary explanations and catechetical materials for your clergy and people so that henceforth the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 279, as found in the editio typicatia of the Roman Missal, will be observed throughout its territories.
With the expression of my esteem and fraternal greetings, I remain, Your Excellency,
Devotedly yours in Christ,
+ Francis Cardinal Arinze
Monsignor Mario Marini
So, in the parish, the only vessels that EMCH’s who are not actually instituted acolytes should be purifying are their mugs during in the parish hall when they have finished their…
That’s right, when all those pants suits charge the altar and all those unconsecrated hands start smearing the remains of lipstick around on those sacred vessels, just remember that in a little while you too will be able to unclench with the help of those traditional Carmelites in Wyoming and their Mystic Monk Coffee!
And since it is warm during the summer, and cool drinks are needed to cool off your anger, perhaps you should try something I just noticed in their mystical monkish inventory.
Iced Coffee is sooo refreshing, isn’t it? And you can have some and support the Carmelites as they build their monastery.
Does it get better than that? No! Of course not.
Refresh your coffee supply today by clicking HERE.
And don’t forget their great TEA.