Why Eucharistic Ministers Are Useless

Catholic Mass?

First of all, let me get my letters right….. just wait a moment while I google…… vediamo un po’……. aaaah, ecco qua! ……. EMHC, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion! [but also: Emergency Mobile Health Care, Eynsford Model Helicopter Club and Helmhurst Memorial HealthCare (Illinois), says google….. why are you Anglo-Saxons so obsessed with abbreviations ?!].

Now that we have the right definition of the “eucharistic ministers” (vulgo: wannabe priests/esses), we can start talking seriously about their complete uselessness. The latter is amply clear from the following:

1) The Church has worked rather successfully for, let me see, about two thousand years without, erm, EMHCs. I myself became forty without even knowing of their existence, and without even suspecting it; and I could still call several hundreds masses as witnesses of my opinion. You stop attending for a couple of decades, and very strange things happen….

2) At least here in the United Kingdom I have never seen a (oh dear…) EMHC (vulgo: wannabe priest/ess) who really was of any use. They simply stand there and look at the people…….. queuing to receive from the priest. It is very amusing to observe the expression they take: feigning dignity and importance whilst, no doubt, feeling utterly stupid. As they well should.

3) I have heard that (let me look again….) EMHCs would be necessary to avoid long queues. This is complete nonsense. Firstly, modern church attendance is such that communion is made in a handful of minutes most of the times, and this particularly in those churches who choose to have such helpers. Secondly, even in case of copious attendance I can’t imagine communion distribution to go on for more than, say, fifteen minutes at the longest. Thirdly, the very few people who approach the wannabe priest (out of pity, I suppose) very often do so after they have received communion from the priest, that is: merely in order to receive under both species; the time saving is, therefore, simply not there. Fourthly, do you think that in the past two thousand years mass attendance was scarce, but it exploded after V II? Thought not…

4) The eucharistic minister confuses the faithful. If they are travelling, they might think that they have mistakenly entered an Anglican church (easier than you’d think: some of them carry the inscription “Catholic church” and are decorated in a more Catholic way than many Catholic churches…..). The more so, if following things happen: a) tabernacle not in sight; b) no altar railings; c) priest strangely dressed; d) naked altar. In my experience, the presence of wannabe priests/esses makes some or all of these elements rather probable.

5) The wannabe priest is, more often than not, a wannabe priestess. That’s all you need to know, really.

From the anecdotal evidence of my own attendance at such masses, I give to this strange flowering of V II (that is: originally a liturgical abuse originated by V II-thinking; not even the “conciliar fathers” had arrived as far as that….) another fifteen years, maximum twenty.

I might be wrong. Still, don’t bet your pint that I am: look at how much has happened in six short years of B XVI pontificate, and prepare to say hello to the (moment, please… ) EMHCs.

They won’t be missed.


Posted on June 1, 2011, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I suppose they are supposed to be extraordinary… but they are an ordinary occurrence in my part of the world. I would rather wait an extra 10 minutes to get the Eucharist from the ceremonially washed and consecrated hands of the priest.

  2. Most don’t wait. To me, there is little difference between receiving in the hand from a priest or recieving from a non-ordained extraordinary minister. Ideally, it should be the tongue from consecrated hands. I mostly attend the EF, but on occasion I attend the OF. All parrishes near me make use of extraordinary ministers. Its pretty much the norm. The OF liturgy has gotten better at my parrish because of the influence of the EF. I think we are the only parrish around that allows the use of the communion rail during the OF. But the other nearby parrishes are firmly stuck in the 70’s. I have been trying as of late to get involved directly so that I can make a difference…. but protestant and other heretical ideas are really entrenched. Its pretty overwhelming when you start having conversations with these people, and you realize that those doing the teaching reject their own patrimony as backward and medieval.

    • Depressing lines you write, Irenaeus.

      Personally, I either receive from the priest or I don’t receive. Can’t see why I should have things differently than my ancestors. In your case, perhaps it would be better to avoid the conversations 😉
      Have you ever looked how far is your nearest TLM?


  3. In my parish eucharistic ministers are the norm and most people do not really care from whom to receive the Body of Christ. On top, I can even say people receive to 100% handcommunion. Personally I do not think that all of that is a matter of convenience or in order to save time, it is rather indifference and the lack of belief that they are actually receiving the body of Christ. To them it is a piece of bread received in a community gathering to commemorate Jesus Christ (among others). In the meantime I refuse to receive the Body of Christ under such circumstances, I even wonder whether the transubstantiation has actually taken place in such a Mass, which is a tough thing to say, I guess. However, I have decided for myself to only receive the Body of Christ during a Tridentine Mass, obviously from a Priest and through mouth communion. No more compromises. As you say Mundabor, why should I do things differently than my ancestors. That is very well said!

    • You are very right, wk1999, and I would rather not receive myself than receive in the hand, much less from a eucharistic minister.

      Where I think that I must disagree with you, however, is when you say that you doubt that the Consecration takes place in the first place. This is, if you ask me, not only a tough, but a very dangerous thing to say.

      the Church clearly states that provided that the priest provides the usual correct “act” of the consecration, the consecration takes place. Even if the priest is in mortal sin. Even if the priest doesn’t believe in the consecration himself. Even if one of th epresent believes it. To doubt this means to go into the slippery slope of sedevacantism, as we cannot deny validity to the consecration without denying the authority of the very Church telling us how it takes place.

      Still, obligation to receive communion is only once a year and if you feel that you shouldn’t receive the Body of Christ in a setting which you think doesn’t honour Him as he should be honoured – which is nothign to do with the matter whether the consecration has taken place – more power to you.


  4. Mundabor, the things I have seen in my home parish at times during Mass, the liturgical abuses right at the point of consecration, the priest using his own words during the eucharistic prayer, singing ridiculous songs right after consecration, the treatment of the Body of Christ during Communion (once I observed when the Priest asked a person to hand the Body of Christ over to the person next to her, because he could not reach that person directly!) shows to me very clearly that this particular priest does indeed not believe in the consecration himself. It is a piece of bread to him, nothing more, it is very obvious.
    I do not want to generalize and I am not a theologian and far away to challenge the teachings of the Church. But given the things I have seen it makes you want to cry over how deep we have fallen. I am trying to avoid attending Mass there in order not having to endure it. It is a challenge to my own faith.

    • Ahh yes if it is as bad as that you should certainly, I think, not attend there and write to your bishop and to the Congregation for the clergy
      Congregation for the Clergy: clero@cclergy.va

      They will not answer but be assured that they will read and take note.

      AFAIK, if the abuses are such that the priest makes clear that he doesn’t want to do what he is supposed to do, the consecration doesn’t happen anyway. I might be wrong, you’d have to ask your confessor there, hopefully not of the same parish, though… 😉


  5. I drive about 30 minutes to get to a TLM. It is the parrish I joined which does both the OF and EF. We are still treated like secondary citizens in many cases. For instance, I asked to be confirmed in the older form but was refused. My RCIA teachers dislike me because I correct them on basic stuff they should already know. One of the instructors insisted Mary is divine, and when none of the other instuctors corrected him, I did. When I said Mary only had a human nature… it was as if I slapped their child! I felt like I was in the twilight zone. Another said that secret confession to a priest was a medieval innovation from the Lateran Council. When I corrected him with a quote from St. Leo the Great in the 400’s who said it was apostolic, they took it personally. I have been trying to involve myself on multiple levels at the parrish but…. its tough, and very discouraging. And this is actually a ‘conservative’ parrish:) Yet, its the best I can find considering there are no TLM communities such as the FSSP or ICKSP around. The SSPX are just as far, but I would rather wait until there is full recognition before I consider them. Sorry for the rant:) I know you only asked how far…

    • So let me get this: there were several instructors and no one got it right? One i snot surprised that the Proddies have so many misconceptions about Catholicism is even catholic priests are not able or willing to check that their instructors know the basics.

      I agree with youu opinion that having a Tridentine available it is probably better not to attend at an SSPX mass. On the other hand, you may want to think whether your grandmother would have attended at a church where people instructed by the priest says that Mary is divine.

      You should definitely write to the priest or talk to him about the blasphemies you hear.


  6. Irenaeus, it is everywhere the same. I heard the same expression of the” secondary citzizen” from a fellow follower of the TLM mass recently. This year we were lucky enough to have a local Bishop celebrate confirmation in the old rite for one of our children. But it took almost half a year until we got permission for that. In previous years people had to travel a long distance to Liechtenstein to get Bishop Haas to give confirmation to the children in the old rite. It is a permanent struggle, but it makes it the more precious and worth the effort. I am so glad that the instructions for confirmation of my daughter were given by a Priest from FSSP, that is a privilege. In my home parish instructions for first communion and confirmation are always given almost exclusively by lay people. Also here, things are being taught like communion by mouth is “old fashioned” and the like. I have decided to avoid these people for the benefit of my children.
    So I can only encourage you, Irenaeus, keep the struggle up. The TLM communities are growing, maybe soon there will be an opportunity for you to have them closer to you. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

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