Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hey, lady, grow the h*** up already!

When you give aging flower children with time on their hands a glorified title, this is what happens. (Image from Bettnet.com)

Last September, mwbh did a piece entitled "Playing Priest," in which the problematic role of extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist was analyzed, and a scenario for its reform was imagined. There has been a lot of news about parish closings and mergers, and out of the Boston area comes this story at Bettnet about a protest at a closed parish in Lynn, Massachusetts. A review of the local press, namely The Daily Item, reveals this gem of a quote: "Lois Bragan, a Eucharistic minister from St Pius Church, consecrates the host on the steps of the closed St Michael’s Church during Good Friday services."

Visiting the website of St Pius, one is introduced to the two priests under the title of "team ministry." Now, it takes laypeople to make a parish, but it takes a pastor to serve them as well. This is more involved than merely being a vending machine for the sacraments. But when the liturgical act itself becomes a rallying point for an ideological struggle, right or wrong, it is no longer an action of the entire Church, just the ones who agree with the actors. If you don't know that, it becomes easy to say, oh, so-and-so is a lay minister, you know, and she can do this. They could have simply conducted a Way of the Cross around the parish grounds. Alas, that would have been too easy.

And not as good a photo op.

It doesn't matter whether the woman in the picture is holding a consecrated host or not. If so, she is committing a sacrilege. If not, she is engaging in false worship of a wafer. Either way, she betrays her misunderstanding of the Eucharist, and so disqualifies herself to ever perform this role again. Beyond that, what is made manifest here, is the problem of a generation now entering its twilight, one which has been indulged to the hilt by the society around them, and remains steadfast in its refusal to grow up.

The above only reinforces this writer's contention, that the role of the "eucharistic minister" has gotten way out of control in the USA (to say nothing of elsewhere), and needs to be seriously curtailed on a massive scale, if not eliminated altogether.


Catholic Mom said...

It is not just the role of Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist which is out of control. Anytime you have the laity "playing priest" there will be confusion. I was so disappointed when Our Sunday Visitor highlighted a parish that has a woman as the pastoral life coordinator. She does everything but say Mass and hear confessions. If a young man is interested in the priesthood, he makes an appointment to speak with her. In the OSV article she is pictured dressed up in an alb and casting holy water with an aspergillum at some sort of blessing service. Cardinal Arinze did a wonderful video for the Apostolate for Family Consecration on the true role and mission of the laity. I highly recommend it.

Anonymous said...

As if you needed more evidence, I just attended Mass with 25 other laymen. One priest and 2 lay-ladies distributed Communion. Only the Host was distributed.

James said...

At my parish, we have about six EMHC's at Sunday Mass. Excessive is the word. Though it would take longer to distribute communion, the priest could easily do this himself, and if need be, one person of proper status (i.e. a deacon, seminarian, acolyte or religious) could handle the chalice. (I personally do not see the need for the laity to receive the Cup)

On weekdays, usually less than twenty people are present . . . and we usually have 2-3 EMHC's. *shakes head*

I am one of those who, as another commentor mentioned on "Playing Priest" will not take the host from a lay person, choosing to cross the aisle if need be to receive from the priest. It's not that the priest is "better" than the lay EMHC, but unless the circumstance was such that I could not receive from one in Holy Orders, God has entrusted the distribution of Holy Communion to his priests. In most cases, the use of "Eucharistic ministers" as they are often erroneously referred to is an abuse of the purpose for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, which, as this [correct] title implies are to be used only in cases of dire need [battle, or some other extraordinary circumstance].

When I read the above story, it made me want speak with my pastor about it, and if I were less lazy, perhaps write to Francis Cardinal Arinze.

James said...

sorry to ramble, but one other thing. Am I the only one bothered by women in pants removing the ciborium from the Tabernacle? Frequently, these same women wear sleeveless blouses, or worse yet, sleevless casual shirts. and they are "Eucharistic Ministers"