Father usually has 10-15 people waiting in his line for Holy Communion while there is no one left for the two EMHCs to do but stand and wait.
The priest then waves away (nicely) those waiting to receive from his hands, indicating we should give the EMHCs some business. He then returns to the altar to carry on with Mass.
Does it come under the category of wrong (disobeying the priest) or just rude for me to return to my seat because I choose not to receive from the EMHC.
This opens up some issues.
First, let’s start phasing out EMHCs for Novus Ordo Masses as much as possible. A priest’s hands are consecrated to handle sacred things, and the most sacred of all is the Most Holy Eucharist.
“But Father! But Father!”, some of you are screaming, “Communion would take too long that way! And what difference does it make if Joe and Mary Bagofdonuts receives Jesus from? It’s not more Jesus because It comes from a priest’s hands. You are clericalist! You hate Vatican II!”
Okay… so Communion takes a little longer.
Yes, yes, I know that some priests are infirm and can’t distribute. I said “as much as possible”.
And, yes, I am a clericalist. I think that priests are special. I think that priests have their proper role in the Church. I think that priests are ontologically changed by the Sacrament of Orders. I think that we should not blur the roles of priests and lay people.
And, yes, yes, I include deacons too. One of the things deacons are ordained to do, is to distribute the Eucharist. Operative word in that last bit? Ordained.
Moreover, bishops could install men to the ministry of Acolyte, which would help solve this difficulty. But that’s another pot of borscht.
Also, if we really want to speed up Communion in a reverent way, then install Communion rails and distribute Communion on the tongue to people who are kneeling. Communion distribution goes much more efficiently that way and it is more reverent by far.*
I think that the priest does wrong to try to shift people away from himself (the only priest present) to lay people. If communicants want to receive from a priest, they should be able to. It’s not like the set of remaining communicants is that large.
On the other hand, it seems to me not unreasonable to encourage people to even out lines if all the distributors are clerics. Yes, yes. Sometimes a bishop shows up, or sometimes people don’t like Father X, or really adores Father Y (though everyone loves Father Z).
But … I don’t think the moment of Communion is the best time to be sorting these matters, especially when it is a matter of very few people. Bring it up in a bulletin note.
At the same time, the Most Holy Eucharist is the Most Holy Eucharist is the Most Holy Eucharist…. You don’t receive more Jesus just because you receive from the most wonderfullest ehvur Pope Francis, recently on the cover of Rolling Stone and TIME and… you know.
Finally, you are not obliged to go to Communion at all, much less to Father A or B or Mrs. D or Mr. E. If you choose to return to your seat for any reason that is troubling you, feel free to do so. If you are disturbed or distracted enough that receiving at that moment would be less than what it ought to be, then don’t receive.
*Some will say that Communion via the conga line method on the hands of people who are standing is “just as reverent”… blah blah blah. No. I think that’s wrong. The law of the Church permits this right now, and I will observe the law, but I think it should be overturned. That’s my position and I am sticking to it.