The Germs of G.I.R.M. |
Part Sixty-One: Hands off the new 'lay investiture'
"The proliferation of 'extraordinary ministers' has been planned by the liturgical revolutionaries so as to blur the distinction between the sacerdotal, hierarchical priesthood the ordained priest and the common priesthood each Catholic has by means of his Baptism. Monsignor George Kelly, not a traditionalist by any stretch of the imagination, told me in 1982 that one of the reasons the American bishops were so intent on insisting upon Communion under both Species was to proliferate extraordinary ministers as a means quite specifically of blurring the distinction between the two priesthoods. The late Father John A. Hardon, S.J., said pretty much the same thing to me a few years later."
Paragraph 161 of GIRM reads as follows:
"If Communion is given only under the form of bread, the priest raises the Eucharistic bread slightly and shows it to each one, saying: The body of Christ. The communicants reply: Amen, and receive the Sacrament as they choose, either on the tongue, or in the hands, where this is allowed. As soon as the communicant receives the sacred host it is consumed in its entirety. If Communion is given under both kinds, the rite described in nos. 284-287 is followed."
Comment and Analysis: Again, schizophrenia. Which is it: "Eucharistic bread" or the "sacred host"? GIRM does not seem to know.
Paragraph 161 codifies once more the novelty of the shortened form of the priest's distribution of Holy Communion (yes, which began in 1962, granted). Gone is the longer prayer in which the priest prays that our reception of the Body of Christ will bring us to everlasting life. In is an "Amen" on the part of communicants that is nowhere to be found in the living tradition of the Roman Rite. Also insidiously included in this paragraph is the institutionalization of Communion in the hand, which is yet another Protestant novelty that found its way into the Latin rite quite specifically as a result of planned disobedience on the part of bishops and priests (who petitioned Pope Paul VI that this sacrilegious abuse of Our Lord had become an accepted practice in their dioceses). Father Frederick Schell, who for many years celebrated the Mass of our fathers in southern California, was told in 1977 that he would have to give out Communion in the hand. "I preached against it on November 13, 1977, and the next week I was gone. The last twenty-five years have been the happiest of my life."
As I noted in an earlier installment of this series, we are the sheep of Christ's flock. Sheep are fed on the tongue. They cannot feed themselves. Our reception of Holy Communion on the tongue (as well as our kneeling for Holy Communion) is a sign of our humility and of our utter dependence upon the Good Shepherd for the nourishment that brings us unto everlasting life. How sad it is that most First Communicants are not even taught that they have the option of receiving Our Lord in Holy Communion on the tongue, no less are taught that this is the way we sheep are supposed to do so.
Paragraph 162 of GIRM reads as follows:
"In the distribution of Communion, other priests who happen to be present may assist the priest celebrant with the distribution of Communion. If such priests are not available, and there is a truly great number of communicants, the priest may call upon extraordinary ministers to assist him, i.e., formally instituted acolytes or even some of the faithful who have been commissioned according to the prescribed rite. In case of necessity, the priest may commission suitable members of the faithful for the occasion. These ministers do not approach the altar before the priest has received Communion and always accept from the hands of the priest the vessel which contains either species of the Blessed Eucharist for distribution to the faithful."
Comment and Analysis: Hardee-har-har, as both Oliver Hardy and Ralph Kramden were wont to say. Who is GIRM trying to kid here? Yes, priests are the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Every priest in a given parish who is able-bodied must make himself available for the distribution of Holy Communion at every Mass, including weekday Masses, if the celebrant needs assistance. The proliferation of "extraordinary ministers" has been planned by the liturgical revolutionaries so as to blur the distinction between the sacerdotal, hierarchical priesthood the ordained priest and the common priesthood each Catholic has by means of his Baptism. Monsignor George Kelly, not a traditionalist by any stretch of the imagination, told me in 1982 that one of the reasons the American bishops were so intent on insisting upon Communion under both Species was to proliferate extraordinary ministers as a means quite specifically of blurring the distinction between the two priesthoods. The late Father John A. Hardon, S.J., said pretty much the same thing to me a few years later.
Indeed, the actual reality is that there are some parishes, such as Saint Brigid's in Westbury, Long Island, New York, which have as many as 300-500 extraordinary ministers, each of whom has access to the tabernacle at will outside of the context of Holy Mass. And although GIRM attempts to bring the behavior of extraordinary ministers during Mass into line with their prescribed function as laypeople (forbidding them from touching the vessels prior to their being given them by a priest, which means that they are forbidden from going to the tabernacle to get ciboria themselves), we know that this part of GIRM is not going to be enforced. Lay people have no role to play in the distribution of Holy Communion in developed countries, and they would only have a role to play in mission countries in the most extraordinary of circumstances. It is the case that the new Mass has made lay people ordinary ministers of the Eucharist quite on a part with priests themselves. Priests have been consecrated to handle the Sacred Species. Apart from Mass, one of their most important functions is to distribute Holy Communion, both during Holy Mass and to the faithful at the time of final Viaticum.
Paragraph 163 of GIRM reads as follows:
"After the distribution of communion, the priest himself immediately consumes at the altar any consecrated wine which happens to remain; but if there are extra consecrated hosts let, he either consumes them at the altar or carries them to the place designated for the reservation of the Eucharist. The priest returns to the altar or at a side table, he cleanses the paten or vessel over the chalice, then cleanses the chalice, saying inaudibly: Lord, may the food we have received, and dries it with a purificator. If this is done at the altar, the vessels are taken to a side table by a minister. It is also permitted, especially if there are several vessels to be cleansed, to leave them suitably covered on a corporal, either at the altar or at a side table and to cleanse them immediately after Mass following the dismissal of the people."
Comment and Analysis: Because the tabernacle in most churches where the new Mass is the norm has been moved away from the center of a church, the priest is no longer able to simply place a ciborium in the tabernacle on the altar of sacrifice. This is why extraordinary ministers have been employed to take ciboria back to a tabernacle after the distribution of Holy Communion to the faithful, once again blurring the distinction between the two priesthoods. Some priests have either been too lazy to care for the Eucharist themselves, or they desire to entrust the care to lay people so as to signify their equality with him in the context of the "community meal." And it is scandalous to permit vessels containing Our Lord's Most Precious Blood to remain unconsumed until after Mass, another needless abuse caused by Communion under both kinds.
Thomas A. Droleskey, Ph.D.
For past installments of G.I.R.M. Warfare in The DAILY CATHOLIC by Dr. Droleskey, see Archives
Second Week of Advent Issue
December 8-10, 2002
volume 13, no. 146
The Germs of G.I.R.M.