Interesting post at Father Z's, where the rather usual situation – at least in my experience – occurs: long line to receive from the priest, pretty much no one wants to receive from the riduculous layman – or woman – with the strange abbreviation beginning with E standing nearby.
What does, then, the priest in question do? He simply provides the chap – or gal; or more probably old woman – with the desired clientele by stopping his own distribution.
Interesting, this one. The priest can clearly see the faithful want to receive from him. Does this happen because he is a fine chap who knows a lot of jokes? Or will it perhaps be because… they want to receive from the priest?
If the priest isn't a humble Jesuit, he knows the truth already. Therefore, the only conclusion that can be drawn here is that the man is actively recoiling from doing his job so that another one who is not a priest, and not the one from whom the parishioner want to receive, may avoid feeling a total fool, standing there all alone with a face that says “the Sixties were a good time, actually…”.
My personal suggestion is to never, on no account and under no circumstances, receive from a laywhatever. Oh well, if you're dying and there is truly no alternative, perhaps, but that's that. If many start doing this way, at some point even the most politically correct knucklehead will get the message. I have never received from a laysomething in my life, nor have I ever given communion to myself. I am firmly intentioned to die with my record intact. If you can receive and feel like receiving – nowadays one must explain why he doesn't, doesn't he; and he must pay attention some old woman will not nag him no end that he really, really should – and the only alternative is to take part to a horrible legalised liturgical abuse like no generation of pre V II had to endure, or not to receive like many in every generation before V II, I can't imagine how it would not be vastly better to choose the second, the traditional option. Choose to be in the company of sixty generations of Christians, rather than of one and a half of tambourine cafeteria Catholics. You can make spiritual communion anyway, and there will be other occasions.
But certainly, confronted with such behaviour I would seriously consider whether the priest in question should have another occasion, or at least a fourth or fifth. From their fruits you will recognise them; a priest who willingly neglects his duty so that the Sixties may look better doesn't look like a very good fruit to me.
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.