Card. Eijk phasing out Communion services on weekends.

This is for either your “Too Little Too Late” file or your “Better Latin Than Never” file, depending on your predominant world view. HERE

Wim Card. Eijk of the Archdiocese of Utrecht published a plan called “Continue doing this in remembrance of me” in which he plans within five years to end “word and communion services” (i.e., NOT MASSES) on weekends. Some have objected, of course.

It is his belief that these Communion services result in an abuse of the Eucharist. He wants the Eucharist to “take its rightful place”.

“In a word and communion celebration, you only receive the fruit of the Eucharist, the Host, but a Eucharist transcends this,” the cardinal explained the difference in October. “It is essential to your life as a Christian.”

He is talking about MASS of course.

We are our rites.

He is definitely on to something. It seems to me that Communion in the hand is far more problematic. The way that priests say Mass is more problematic. However, the shortage of priests there – and they have only themselves to blame, just as anywhere there is a shortage – has resulted in exactly what the shortage creators wanted: make the Church a Protestant as possible before making it into an NGO.

It’s an interesting development.

Card. Eijk has been mentioned as papabile. I wonder if this would harm his chances.

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  1. raitchi2 says:

    Without more information about the motives behind the communion services I’m not really sure what to make of this. For example if people are doing communion services because there’s not enough priests and they’re unable to travel, then this seems to be a terrible idea–it’s better to have a communion service and liturgy of the word then nothing at all. If on the other hand they’re staying away from Mass because they have personal reasons that they’d like to not celebrate in the presence of a priest then that is a big problem.

  2. OzReader says:

    Call me a moron, a luddite, or something else altogether if you please, but I cannot wrap my head around the use of the term “Eucharist”. At a Parish I used to attend, the pre-Mass greeter, in their weekly waffle, mentions something about “in this Eucharist”. There are plenty of other examples where the term “Eucharist” is thrown around like a mystery weather balloon; such that the origin and destination is unclear (as in, you don’t know where someone is coming from, or going to, when they start dropping “Eucharist” all over the place in writing).

  3. mburn16 says:

    I’d say the move makes sense, even if its far from the ideal. There’s a good deal of danger, particularly in our present “synodal” age, that carrying out these types of gatherings will further diminish the appreciation for the need for ordained clergy and push us even more towards a “why can’t lay[wo]men just do that?” atmosphere. That’s a particular danger in a country like the Netherlands where the Protestant ethos is so strong. Of course I’d much rather we simply had more Priests, but no doubt Cardinal Eijk would too.

    As you note, he’s papabile (although perhaps a bit of a dark horse). But probably one of our best options from the conservative/traditional viewpoint. As far as I can tell, he is wholly orthodox – and a medical doctor to boot, so well-positioned to engage the secular dogmas of the present age.

  4. Lurker 59 says:

    I really cannot fathom a reason ever to do “Word and Communion” services. If you have a priest present, do a Mass. No priest, but Consecrated Hosts? Do the normative means for distribution outside of Mass if it is really that imperative that people commune. Acts of Spiritual Communion exist; don’t get so preoccupied with receiving Jesus it distracts one from adoring and worshiping Him. No priest and no Consecrated Hosts? Do something that is liturgical that isn’t clericalizing the laity, such as the Liturgy of the Hours. Public Sunday Vespers really needs to make a comeback.

  5. Not says:

    How about no Saturday Masses counting for Sunday Obligation. How about no Communion in the hand. How about no women on the Altar. How about no female Altar severs. How about explaining to people that going to Confession once a your Easter Duty is not enough. (atleast not for me). Just saying.

  6. timothyturtle says:

    The first thing I would note about a “word and communion service” is that there is no sacrifice being offered to Almighty God. I know that there is no problem receiving communion outside of the Mass but there is a big problem if there begins to be a disconnect for the recipients between the sacrifice and what they are receiving.
    I think the bishop is making a very good move.

  7. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Following the links, it strikes me that there is a misplaced “only” in the English- language article: “by 2027, Masses in the archdiocese will only be celebrated on weekends.” Surely this should be ‘by 2027, only Masses will be celebrated in the archdiocese on weekends [and not word and communion celebrations]’. If you follow its “Source” link you can find a link to a pdf of Cardinal Eijk’s letter (in Dutch) and checking the website in that link – aartsbisdom[dot]nl – you can find pdfs of the text of his policy plan, “Continue doing this in remembrance of me”, and of an explanation of it – both in Dutch, but I suppose you could download them and feed them into a ‘translate’ site (though I have not tried this).

    I remember reading something at LifeSite News about Dutch “word and communion celebrations” which confirmed what mburn16 says about danger: lay women presiding in what look like liturgical vestments also doing what looks like preaching sermons.

  8. chris griffin says:

    Please give me the dignity of Communion in the Hand as Jesus specified…

    “As they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks for it, and broke it. He gave to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”

    Communion in the Hand was the practice for the first 900 years and is depicted on catacomb drawings. Communion on the tongue is an invention of men. Please leave me alone.

    [And then, after years of prayer and reflection, we “grew up” and stopped with the Communion in the hand thing. Now has crept back to undermine the faith of countless Catholics and help them to the exit door hardly every to be seen again, except, perhaps for sacrilegious C & E communions.]

  9. Bishop Vasa got rid of Communion services when he was bishop of the Diocese of Baker in Oregon. He told his people to pray for vocations instead.

    Some people think Communion services are Mass without a priest. That alone is reason enough to ban them.

  10. jflare29 says:

    I’m inclined to agree with raichi2.
    It’s true enough there’s risk of corrupting the average layman’s understanding of priesthood with “communion services”, especially if most “celebrants” might be women. On the other hand, …better to provide for opportunity to receive communion than not. Of course, there’s also the complication of worthily receiving communion; a lack of priests to provide Mass implies lack of priests for hearing Confessions too. So, they may also be handling the risk of profaning the Eucharist, though I don’t see that mentioned. ..Then again, all this depends on what degree of catechesis has been provided and by whom.
    So, back to raichi2’s thoughts; it’s not clear whether this cures anything.

  11. Tradster says:

    Maybe I’m brain-dead and missing the obvious, but I don’t see the justification for taking so long. It didn’t take years to roll out the Novus Ordo and they’re certainly not taking that long to try to completely suppress the TLM.

  12. Lurker 59 says:


    I’d argue that the modern structure of “communion services” necessarily corrupts, because, as timothyturtle pointed out, there is a disjoint between the sacrifice offered to the Father and the reception of communion. This disjoint helps reinforce a mistaken notion amongst Catholics that the most important thing that a Catholic does on Sunday is to receive communion. It is not. The most important thing that a Catholic does is to “actively participate” in the offering of the Eternal Sacrifice of the Son, through the Holy Spirit, to the Father. If “receiving communion” is the most important thing, what winds up happening, and what has happened, is that the act becomes about the individual, the Eucharist is treated as something required to be given instead of as a gift received, and the peer pressure to receive causes people to justify their sins rather than going to confession before recieving.

  13. Neil Addison says:

    Back in 2019 BC (Before Covid) I had a letter published in the UK Catholic Herald regarding Lay Led Communion Services. It read as follows
    “SIR – Your recent correspondents have defended lay-led
    Eucharistic services on the basis that there is nothing wrong with
    them, but they fail to provide any reason why such services are in
    any way necessary.. As Catholics, we are not obliged to receive
    Communion every week, let alone every day, and reception of the
    Blessed Sacrament is a privilege not a right.

    If during the week there is no priest available to say Mass in a
    Church, that does not mean that the parishioners have to put on a
    “let’s pretend Mass”. Catholicism has a rich heritage of worship and
    praise that does not involve Communion, so why not train lay
    people to lead prayer rather than getting them to play-act as

    Pray the Daily Office, a Novena, the Stations of the Cross or a Decade of the
    Rosary, or how about simple silent prayer before the Blessed
    Sacrament, a touch of “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening”,
    rather than “Listen, Lord, your servants are pretending to be at
    Mass”. God knows we could all do with moments of silence in this
    noisy world.

    The fact is that to separate Communion from the Mass itself
    undermines the unique nature of the Mass, demeans the Blessed
    Sacrament and the priesthood, fails to accept the value of simple
    prayer and, above all, demonstrates a complete lack of

  14. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    By way of comparison, it is interesting to look at Francesco Gioli’s 1878 painting of a Viaticum procession (now in the Pitti Palace), with people kneeling by the wayside as the Reserved Sacrament is borne past.

  15. robtbrown says:

    When the apostles were handed Communion, there were also told they were going to be priests (Do this in memory of me). Priests handle the sacred species.

    In St Thomas’ works (died 1274) he always uses the word Eucharist.

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