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.