From a reader:
This evening during Mass a man I casually know came up to me and asked me to fill-in for a no-show as an extraordinary minister of the Precious Blood. I am not and have never been an EME. I told him so. He said that’s okay. I asked him, “Is that allowed?” He nodded yes. I agreed.
First, I believe that diocesan bishops are the proper authority for permitting lay people to act as Extraordinary Ministers. Bishops can establish the conditions under which priests can, in case of real necessity, ask someone to help ad hoc, for this or that occasion. In that case, there is even a blessing for the person to function ad hoc.
If I am correct, some diocesan bishops have not allowed for such ad hoc appointments. We should get a few priests involved in this discussion.
However, in the case above, it was neither the diocesan bishop nor the parish priest who made the request. It seems to me that that was not correctly handled. A better solution would have been simply to function with a smaller number of Extraordinary Ministers (or none).
What all this reflects, to my mind, is a lack of clarity not just about the regulations governing liturgy and sacraments, but more fundamentally the difference between lay and clerical roles.