Our second "bone to pick" with dissenters is on the role of Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Eucharist. Note, they are not called "Eucharistic Ministers" which everyone seems to think so, but "Extraordinary Ministers." That, in itself, speaks volumes about what they should be doing and the role that has evolved through misuse and abuse. The main reasons Extraordinary Ministers were created and allowed among the laity was to assist the priest in taking Holy Communion (Holy Viaticum) to the sick and house-bound elderly. Many could do this in deference to one man trying to accomplish this. The sad fact is that so few Extraordinary Ministers today actually fulfill their roles of ministering to the sick, opting instead to flood the altar at the Our Father and, after glad-handing everyone at what should be the reverent "Kiss of Peace," grab the ciboriums off the altar and trod down to their station to pass out the hosts. In all fairness, there are some very reverent Extraordinary Ministers who often times present a more edifying presence than some priests. That's a sad state of affairs to some of the celebrants who have turned the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass into a circus, greatly saddening Our Lord and the countless angels who worship at every Mass said throughout the world. The Vatican II documents are very clear on warning priests to not allow the laity to completely take over the distribution of Holy Communion. On the distribution at Holy Mass, we've seen it in every parish, four to twelve lay Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist get up and tredge to the altar no matter how many people are in the congregation. Often times assistant priests and deacons are not present (where they should be) and everything is left to the laity. In our last parish all the priests and deacons assigned to that parish took part in distributing Holy Communion at every Mass and at our new present parish all Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist don white albs and present a reverence for Who is truly present in the Bread and Wine. If a deacon is present at Mass, he must take precedent over any assigned Extraordinary Minister as the documents clearly state as well as Canon Law. Another way parishes have gotten around this is to claim that the Extraordinary Ministers are needed because if only the priests distribute Holy Communion the Mass will take too long. What about the days of pre-Vatican II when one or two priests distributed Holy Communion at the Communion rail where everyone took their turn...was Mass too long then? Very few complained. Now it's all whiz, bang, let's get outta here...but save 3 to 5 minutes for announcements! How many have noticed how the offertory is extended so the choir can have their day, and the Lord's Prayer and "Kiss of Peace" are extended so we "touch" all those around us in a show of "lateral" worship towards each other while forgetting the "vertical" worship to God? Then how many have noticed how parishes race through the Consecration of the Mass and Holy Communion and then wrap things up fast so they can get in the announcements, while the Extraordinary Ministers tail back to the "gathering area" by going through, around, on and over the altar, bowing everywhere but to the Tabernacle, and then gather to gulp down the remaining wine. What ever happened to purification? Ah, we'll cover that the next issue. For now we're concerned with abuses by Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, many of whom have no idea they are in violation of the Canon Law and what the Church officially prescribes. Below are the verifications of the documents on reception of the Holy Eucharist that state this, taken from VATICAN COUNCIL II, VOLUME II, More Postconciliar Documents; General Editor Austin Flannery, O.P. Costello Publishing Company, page 96 on the Instruction on Certain Norms concerning the Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery (S.C.S.D.W., Inaestimabile Donum 3, April 1980.
9. Eucharistic Communion. Communion is a gift of the Lord, given to the faithful through the minister appointed for this purpose. It is not permitted that the faithful should themselves pick up the consecrated bread and the sacred chalice, still less that they should hand them from one to another.
NEXT WEEK: The regulations governing both species and purification of the sacred vessels
Taken from No. 903, page 239; and No. 1348, page 340 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Libreria Editrice Vaticana: Urbi Et Orbi Communications:
Lay people who possess the required qualities can be admitted permanently to the ministries of lector and acolyte (436) When the necessity of the Church warrants it and when ministers are lacking, laypersons, even if they are not lectors or acolytes, can also supply for certain of their offices, namely, to exercise the ministry of the word, to preside over liturgical prayers, to confer Baptism, and to distribute Holy Communion in accord with the prescription of law." (437)
All gather together. Christians come together in one place for the Eucharistic assembly. At its head is Christ Himself, the principal Agent of the Eucharist. He is high Priest of the New Covenant; it is He Himself Who presides invisibly over every Eucharistic celebration. It is in representing Him that the bishop or priest acting in the person of Christ the head (in persona Christi capitis) presides over the assembly, speaks after the readings, receives the offerings, and says the Eucharistic Prayer. All have their own active parts to play in the celebration, each in his own way: readers, those who bring up the offerings, those who give communion, and the whole people whose "Amen" manifests their participation.
Perceive the events with wise eyes and hearts. Put aside doubts, draw yourselves up from indecisiveness and be alert. God gives many signs, but you refuse them. O men of little faith! Do not be as the Scribes and Pharisees of my Son's time. I solemnly tell you that you will see the end of the world structure as you have known it. O! Dear children. Governments will crumble. Nations will crumble. Many sweeping changes that will effect every single life on earth. Economies will be crushed, but then shall arise the union of world economy, and it will be the reign of the antichrist. One economy, marked by the sign of the beast.
The moment is fast approaching when abominations shall be committed against men in the name of God. Atrocious blasphemies spoken from the highest authority and easily believed and accepted by my children who will be led astray by the great deceiver.
Little ones, events will unfold swiftly, so prepare yourselves now. Imbue yourselves with God's strength. There is no other weapon possible, no other weapon needed.
Come to Divine Mercy and find relief, rest and sustenance there before you witness the final struggle destined from all time when my Immaculate Heart shall triumph. Listen to me, for I lead all to my Son.
Look for the dissolution of the world structure and know the prophecies are being fulfilled. The darkness spreads daily and yet you slumber.
Awake to Mercy. Awake to Love. Come to me your Heavenly Mother. I will calm your fears for I give you Jesus. Look only at eternity and pray. You do not realize how grave are the times you are living in.
I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
For a long time I have asked each of my children to pray and read Sacred Scripture. I have told my children that in this way they would know and understand the reason for my coming.
Many have done what I have asked and I rejoice in your faith. As your Heavenly Mother I ask you to put aside all of your preconceived ideas about Scriptures. For I solemnly tell you that in all your ages since my Son walked among you, man has continued to dilute the meaning of the scriptures. Particularly the prophetic messages contained therein. My learned children throughout the ages have applied these passages to finite, temporal happenings caused by mankind from one generation to another. Few have read and understood them in a supernatural, spiritual sense. That is what I ask my faithful ones to do not in these extremely difficult and dangerous times. Above all, you must read and understand scripture as the battle between Good and evil, God and satan. This is its true, divine meaning and because of this mankind, God's gem of creation, is involved.
Do not look to Scripture to tell you exact times and places, names and dates. This is foolish, finite thinking and will lead you into grave error, as many of my children have already done.
Put aside all such thoughts and read the battle between the Triune Divinity and evil.
This battle shall soon reach its height. It will bring to all men the great false peace. Many, many of you, my children will suffer horribly and lose your faith because you have misinterpreted scripture. Events you have been taught for ages will happen will not take place as you imagine, for that is not the meaning of the prophetic passages.
Read Chapter Twelve of the Apocalypse and understand God versus satan. I am the New Ark, the Woman Clothed With the Sun. I am the woman whose heel shall crush the head of the serpent. I ask of all my children to utterly empty themselves of all the vast array of erroneous interpretations. Look at the words in a new light--the light of faith.
If you do not do this, my little ones, you will not be prepared for the chastisement, nor the great battle when satan shall forever be bound in hell.
Look around you, my children and know that I weep because you remain in ignorance. Pray! Pray! Pray! This is the path to enlightenment. I weep because you do not see satan's snares. You do not recognize that, even now, he prepares the abomination of desolation within the Temple.
My little ones, you are thinking of a specific place, a specific building. O! Be not blind! The old temple has been abolished since my Son's Passion and Death. He is the Temple. His Church is the temple; his faithful disciples are the new temple.
Ponder well my words. Look, listen, watch and prepare. The moment is almost upon you.
I bless you. I grant you God's peace. Thank you for responding to my Call!
Under the compromise, according the Associated Press, Clinton would promise to veto restrictions on funding for population control groups that provide abortions or lobby for abortion overseas, in the hope that pro-life representatives would be convinced their opposition the funding would ultimately fail. Then, lawmakers would send him legislation without those restrictions containing $385 million for foreign aid to family planning groups -- the same as last year but $50 million less than Clinton wants for 1998.
The potential deal was described by Republican and Democratic lawmakers close to the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity. The controversy over abortion funding is part of a $13 billion foreign aid bill.
Catholic Citizens of Illinois told reporters that a letter sent to Archbishop Francis George by a group of 43 pastors is an attempt to intimidate the prelate. "It represents an initial attempt on the part of the small number of socially, politically and theologically liberal pastors to intimidate the archbishop," said the group's co-founder Mary Anne Hackett. "It's condescending and arrogant intent is clear."
The letter, dated October 10, is the results of a forum attended by the pastors in which they raise questions about Archbishop George's leadership style because of his criticism of the lack of kneelers in a church, directives that priests abide by rules governing which vestments to wear at funerals, and ordering liturgical retraining for deacons among other issues. "Some of us felt that you might have handled these matters differently if you had previous experience as a pastor of a parish," the letter said. "We will resist being treated as branch managers for some huge international corporation who simply take orders from headquarters, be that at the Vatican or at the Pastoral Center."
Archbishop George, who is a member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate order, was archbishop of Portland, Oregon before his appointment to Chicago on May 7. The archdiocese issued a statement on Tuesday saying that the archbishop "is grateful for the conversation [the letter] has generated. He is also grateful to those concerned for him. But there is no need to mount a defense when there is no attack."
Pope John Paul's catechetical message today concentrated in the ecumenical impact of devotion to the Mother of God, the "mother of unity and hope."
The Virgin Mary has always been a model of Christian holiness, the Pope said. He argued that non-Catholic Christians could readily benefit from the teachings of the Church about Mary as the model of Christian life, and about her role in the history of salvation. He expressed great pleasure in the fact that many Protestant groups are taking a renewed interest in Mary, and recognizing her role in the universal Church. That development, he said, "cannot help but bring us closer together and give a new perspective on the divisions which have caused so much suffering."
As for the Eastern churches, the Pope noted that Marian devotion is already strong among the Orthodox. In fact, he observed that the title "Mother of God" reflects a development that began among Eastern theologians, before the Great Schism divided the Church. Although the more recent doctrinal formulations regarding the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption have not been formally endorsed by the Orthodox churches, the Holy Father pointed out that many Orthodox believers embrace those doctrines.
At the beginning of his appearance in the Paul VI auditorium, the Holy Father made a hoarse announcement that he had temporarily lost his voice-- evidently as the result of some minor illness. The Vatican has made no announcement regarding the Pope's health.
Despite obvious difficulties in speaking, the Pope did make an effort to greet pilgrims from different countries, using a variety of languages including English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Lithuanian, Czech, Slovenian, and Polish as well as Italian. As the audience closed, he allowed his assistants to lead the recitation of the Lord's Prayer, then delivered his papal blessing-- but he used his speaking voice to do so, rather than chanting the blessing as he usually does.