Saturday, July 10, 2010

Women as Extraordinary Ministers, lectors and Alter "servers"

"Lay people and Nuns giving out Holy Communion during Mass was rightly considered an unthinkable act of sacrilege and irreverence only 30 years ago, and for centuries preceding. But now, lay people administering the Blessed Sacrament is an ordinary sight in the average Novus Ordo parish Church, and most Catholics think nothing of it - for they have been desensitized to desecration.

The terms "lay minister" and "Eucharistic minister" have been used rather loosely up until this point, because this is the terminology often found in parish bulletins. In actuality, there is no such terminology as "Eucharistic minister", the proper term is "EXTRAORDINARY MINISTER"."

On January 29th 1973, an Instruction was issued by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship that authorised the introduction of Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist called Immense Caritatis. This document does not grant some revolutionary indult for any and every parish to permit lay people (including Nuns) to administer Communion, it authorises the use of extraordinary ministers in CASES OF GENUINE NECESSITY which are listed as:

* When there is no priest, deacon or acolyte. * When these are prevented from administering Holy Communion because of another pastoral ministry or because of ill health or advanced age. * When the number of the faithful requesting Holy Communion is such that the celebration of the Mass or the distribution of the Eucharist outside Mass would be unduly prolonged.

The Instructions stipulates that:

"Since these faculties are granted only for the spiritual good of the faithful and for cases of genuine necessity, priests are to remember that they are not thereby excused from the task of distributing the Eucharist to the faithful who legitimately request it, and especially from taking and giving to the sick."

First of all, it is not an act of disloyalty or disobedience to question the wisdom of the document in the first place, particularly when this permission is a revolution against all pre-Vatican ll rubrics that existed for centuries, rubrics that existed for reason of reverence, to safeguard against desecration and that were a matter of Catholic common sense. But even taking this document at face-value, it is difficult to envisage circumstances that would justify the use of extraordinary ministers. Today's so called Eucharistic ministers are actually operating in defiance to existing Vatican norms.

The bishop and priest alone are the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion. The deacon is the extraordinary minister, but he must have the permission of the local ordinary or of the pastor which may be given for a grave reason, and may be legitimately presumed in case of necessity (Canon Law 844) Article 1 - of the Minister of Holy Communion. In Pope John Paul ll's Encyclical Inaestimable Donum, he clearly states the role of women in the Celebration of the Mass. His Encyclical FORBIDS WOMEN TO BECOME ALTAR SERVERS.

In Inaestimable Donum it says:

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.

10. The faithful, whether religious or lay, who are authorized as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist can distribute Communion only when there is no priest, deacon or acolyte, when the priest is impeded by illness or advanced age, or when the number of the faithful going to Communion is so large as to make the celebration of Mass excessively long.(20) Accordingly, a reprehensible attitude is shown by those priests who, though present at the celebration, refrain from distributing Communion and leave the task to the laity.

This means that ordained ministers are first in line to distribute communion. My husband and I constantly shake our heads when women march up to "help" Father distribute communion when there is a deacon or even another priest there to do the job. And again, this "help" comes when there is a mere handful of people in church for a weekday Mass in the first place, even on most Sunday Masses would an extra 5 or ten minutes "unduly" prolong the Mass enough to require Extraordinary Ministers? The honest answer is no.

1 Corinthians 14:34: As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, even as the law says.

Another thing to consider is Biblical, Corinthians clearly states that women should "keep silence" in church. Does this mean they cannot say prayers out loud? No I don't think it does but in Timothy it also states

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

Going back to submission, it seems all my posts lead back to this, but women aren't meant to teach men or be in the front of church, leading.

Titus 2 states our job is:

"Similarly, older women should be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers, not addicted to drink, teaching what is good,
so that they may train younger women to love their husbands and children,
to be self-controlled, chaste, good homemakers, under the control of their husbands, so that the word of God may not be discredited."
So that the WORD OF GOD may not be discredited. There is your job, fellow wives and mothers. To be " self controlled, chaste, good homemakers and under the control of your husband"

Vatican II is where all this started, women lectors, Extraordinary ministers, Altar "girls" or "servers" (new words, invented for the times)

Pre Vatican II NO ONE was allowed on the altar but the Ordained Ministers, Priest, Deacon, and acolytes. I'm not saying anything against the post Vatican II Mass but it allowed a lot of confusion. A reason for allowing un ordained "lay" altar boys was to foster the desire for the priesthood, but that quickly eroded into allowing girls, which was never supposed to happen. Allowing women on the altar just opens up more and more questions about Ordaining women to the priesthood.

Many woman complain that they want to "participate" in the Mass. We good news! You can! Your participation is this...

From Divine Intimacy, by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.:

The best way of assisting at Holy Mass is the one which makes us participate most in the sublime action taking place at the altar. The liturgical method is especially recommended; by having us recite the same prayers as the priest, it makes us follow more closely the various parts of the Holy Sacrifice. However, instead of being preoccupied with the exact rendering of the words, which is obligatory only for the priest, we should penetrate the meaning of the different prayers, especially those said at the principal parts of the Mass, such as the Offertory, Consecration, and Communion.

Although the liturgical method is very good, it is not the only one; the Encyclical Mediator Dei expressly says, "The needs and dispositions are not the same in all souls, and they do not continue to remain the same in each one." It is not uncommon, for example, that, after the following the liturgical method for a long time with fruit, a particular soul might feel the need of closing the Missal in order to taste a little more profoundly the very substance of the Mass and to "penetrate" it further. This is not going backward but forward. Instead of focusing the attention in a special way on the various ceremonies and prayers, the soul feels the need of "getting into intimate contact with the High Priest" (ibid.), in order to unite itself interiorly with His action, His offering, and His immolation. By doing this, she follows the Mass in a simple "loving attention" which is the characteristic of contemplative prayer. Without necessarily following the development of the Sacred Rite in all its various parts, the soul fixes the mind and heart upon the Mass drama with a general glance, made keen by love. Thus we advance in an ever clearer understanding of the Holy Sacrifice.

However, it will be well to return to the Missal from time to time, especially to follow the liturgy on Sundays and feasts; each time our soul does this we will find new light, and a new sense, which will help us to penetrate the very substance of the Holy Sacrifice


Inaestimable Donum
The Abuse of Extraordinary Ministers