From a reader:
I have read about valid and invalid motivations for the multiplication of EMHCs. [Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.] The diocesan advisor at my university’s Newman center gave me one which I had not heard before: that without at least one EMHC, the faithful would not be able to communicate in both species, there being only one celebrant at our Masses. Now that I think of it, this seems like an obvious problem. How can the norm in U.S. dioceses be to receive in both species when it is relatively rare for a Mass to have multiple concelebrants? When there is only one celebrant, are they asking us to add EMHCs, or should we be given only the Bread?
The US Bishops encourage frequent recourse to the distribution of Holy Communion under both species. There is no law or provision which mandates the practice. Nor is the Communion under both kinds encouraged for EVERY celebration of Mass.
In their 12 March 2002 decree (approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments states:
“In practice, the need to avoid obscuring the role of the priest and the deacon as the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion by an excessive use of extraordinary minister might in some circumstances constitute a reason either for limiting the distribution of Holy Communion under both species or for using intinction instead of distributing the Precious Blood from the chalice.”
Even if we use a broad interpretation, there are times when distribution under both species ought not be done. Otherwise, if the priest insists on offering both species at every Mass, let his distribute, alone, by intinction.
A third option, sadly seldom seen these days, is to invite non-concelebrating priests and deacons who are around, to come over to the chapel to assist in the distribution of Holy Communion. Most rectories have some sort of a sound system connection to the church. Priests who may have celebrated an earlier Mass and are afterward – without question – engaged in prayer, study, or edifying conversation, could listen from the rectory and know when dash over to church, toss on a surplice and stole over their cassock (the priest’s proper garb), and then assist with the distribution of Holy Communion.