Redemptionis Sacramentum 156-157

Here’s the fuss about names:

[156.] This function is to be understood strictly according to the name by which it is known, that is to say, that of extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and not “special minister of Holy Communion” nor “extraordinary minister of the Eucharist” nor “special minister of the Eucharist”, by which names the meaning of this function is unnecessarily and improperly broadened.

Personally, I think Communion Minister is a more than adequate term. More words imply a broadened role that perhaps the CDWDS wants to avoid.

[157.] If there is usually present a sufficient number of sacred ministers for the distribution of Holy Communion, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may not be appointed. Indeed, in such circumstances, those who may have already been appointed to this ministry should not exercise it. The practice of those Priests is reprobated who, even though present at the celebration, abstain from distributing Communion and hand this function over to laypersons. [Inaestimabile donum 10; Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law, Response to dubium, 11 July 1984: AAS 76 (1984) p. 746]

As a parish liturgist, I’ve never had a problem with relying on ordinary ministers of Communion. The main challenge in parishes are circumstances when, a minute or two before Mass, a concelebrant emerges from the sacristy. Rare is the last-minute music gig. I find it annoying that some clergy treat the Mass so casually as to think it is always their place to be there, without notice to those who treat the “extraordinary” as an everyday experience.

I have known priests, older guys especially, who will indeed take a seat, especially if they are concelebrating.

Overall, this seems more an issue for the bishops and their clergy than lay people. I’ve never had a lay Communion minister complain when I ask them to refrain from scheduled service if an extra priest is on hand. A little courtesy from the other direction is always appreciated.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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