Dealing With Irreverence

My background is SSPX/sedevacantist. It has not been easy for me to keep with the Church without backsliding and returning to either one of the two chapels.

This past Sunday, my husband and I witnessed something that disturbed the both of us greatly. Two EMs went up to the tabernacle to get Hosts to bring to the homebound. Neither one genuflected or made any act of reverence. After they opened the tabernacle, they proceeded to talk to one another as one was taking Hosts out of the Ciborium and putting Them in her pyx. The conversation went on for longer than five minutes. One of the EMs was leaning up against the tabernacle and had her elbow rested on the cloth that is kept there (presumably in case any particles fall) like she was at a bar. Finally, they finished their discussion and walked away.

My question is: when people here see things like this, how do you handle it without becoming unduly upset and use something like this to your spiritual advantage?

Thanks in advance for your help and advice. :slight_smile:

I can only take your word that what you saw did happen but it does seem extreme. EMs are just as reverent as the ordained so it makes me wonder if because of your background you are exaggerating or if this could havev a single incident. If you do have legitimate concerns speak to the pastor about them. There certainly is no reason for the behavior you describe. That being said, as far as spirituality is concerned, remember that it’s true we would always show reverence to Christ present in the consecrated elements but reverence is also due towards the Body of Christ present in each one of us. I’m not accusing you of anything, just suggesting you proceed cautiously with this. Christ is present to us in multiple ways.

I will respond to this when I calm down. I came here for help, not to be told that I am exagerrating an incident (which I am not).

And I am very sorry, but there is only one sacramental Real Presence.

That’s the time I’d say a prayer for all involved and remember the ***“Lord, they know not what they’re doing” … ***

Honestly, I just try to keep my head bowed and pray as much as possible. I try not to watch what’s going on around me.

If I witnessed this, I would say something to the pastor. I would assume they need to be charitably reminded by someone with more spiritual authority than I have how to behave at the tabernacle.


This is very upsetting. I try to remind myself that I can’t control other people’s behaviors, but I can (or can try to) control my reaction. The way I remind myself in these situations is to pray as Christ did, “Lord, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And then offer it up.

It depends what they were talking about, too. Yes, they should have genuflected, but perhaps the talking was on the lines of, ‘Will you visit Mrs. X please? I know I usually do, but I’ve a feeling that Mr. Y will keep me talking again as he’s got so many worries with that son of his, and Mrs. X gets upset if I am late. That would mean you’ll need an extra Host, don’t forget. Are you sure you don’t mind?’.

Or even, ‘Oh dear, there aren’t many hosts today. Do you think we should tell Father and suggest adjusting the Communion round today? Who should we suggest leaving until tomorrow, do you think?’

It would be best if that conversation was held away from the tabernacle.

Try not to be bothered too much by the humans at mass there isn’t really anything you can do, focus completely on Jesus.

And in the meantime of course, pray for those who lack proper reverence.

What you describe is very bad. How I would handle something like this has changed over the years. First of all I would send a very diplomatic e-mail or note to my pastor. It wouldn’t focus on just this issue but on general irreverence with this being an example. Once I sent this letter my duty is done other than continued prayer for such things to cease. I would also pray for the strength to look away when I see such things. That is the easiest way for me not to feel extreme sadness or anger.

If you leave the Church over something like this, then two things come to mind. First, you have a personal problem that you need to talk to a good priest about. Second, Satan wins if you leave.


It’s amazing how many people act like out-and-out pigs at Mass! Particularly in my parish it seems like EMsHC act like swine. At my parish this ministry attracts/recruits a very specific sort of person and it’s not a good thing.

Perhaps you could discreetly approach the priest during his office hours. If he finds out about the issue, he may be able to correct it.

What does that even mean? :confused:

While I pray it’s not the case in other parishes, EMsHC in my parish happen to be some of the most irreverent people I have ever come in contact with. It’s a very inbred group that recruits like people. It’s very much a social club that treats the sacristy like a cocktail lounge and it’s been that way for at least 20 years and several pastors.

I would suggest that the OP get to know the EMsHC that are acting in such an unseemly way. Spend time with them and make friends with them. Grow close to them and learn to love them.

It will help you to overcome getting easily upset if you actually know and are friends with the people that do things that upset you. When people are just anonymous strangers, we somehow feel that it’s OK for us to become angry with them and fume against them in our minds.

If you step outside of your comfort zone and make an effort to get to know some of these people and become friends with them, you will be able to learn just what kind of people they are and why they act the way they do. That’s important for you, as you have come from a different background than them. You must feel like a fish out of water sometimes. It would be good to attempt to understand this “strange new world” that you have chosen to be part of.

There are reasons why they are the way they are, and you are the way you are, and it’s worth trying to discover those reasons so that you will better understand how to deal with people who are different than you.

E.g., perhaps they have grown up with terrible catechesis and they honestly don’t know any better. Or perhaps they are liberal in their theology because they were raised in a very unreligious household and they’re struggling to overcome some of the bad influences that shaped their conscience. Or perhaps they are rebellious against the Church and the Lord because of some personal tragedy that they have never gotten over and has turned them bitter.

You will experience and come to know all about their virtues and strengths, and this will be very helpful to you, because you will come to realize that all Christians (including you) have their strong areas and their weak areas. We’re all on our own journey to heaven, and we meet each other at different points of our own journeys.

And eventually, perhaps after enough time has gone by, you will be able to help them to become more reverent in their actions, even as they will be able to help you overcome some of your personal weaknesses.

And perhaps not. Perhaps the friendship will never take off because you simply don’t have enough in common with them to be able to solidify a friendship. BUT…at least you will be friendly acquaintances, and at least you will have a little better knowledge of these people and perhaps this knowledge will help you to know the best way to deal with their actions (report them to the priest, chat with them privately, pray for their souls, avoid them entirely, or some other course of action that will be helpful to them and you, and will bring glory to the Lord Jesus).

Pondering this a bit I think a huge problem (at least in my parish) are the type and caliber of people that are recruited/attracted to be EMsHC and Lectors. While less so with lectors, reverent people last about 2-3 months as EMsHC before they leave because they don’t want to be part of the problem.

That ministry here locally is deeply inbred with a terrible bunker mentality because others do complain about some of their antics.

It is hard dealing with the irreverence that we all see at times. Perhaps this is a call for you to take the step to become an extraordinary minister. I find it extremely humbling to serve our Lord at the altar. I was blessed with the opportunity to serve at a Mass celebrated by our Archbishop on Monday. Sometimes I distribute the gluten “free” hosts(of course there is still a small amount in them for it to be valid) and only one or two people approach. It is still an extreme honor to distribute our Lord to the faithful, be it one or one hundred. An honor of which I am unworthy.

I am sorry to hear that some of you have EM’s who take it for granted. The best advice I can give is pray for them and become one in order to lead by example. Humility always perseveres over arrogance.

Keep reminding yourself that you’re no better.

Describe what you saw to the Pastor & ask him if he will gently insist that his Ministers of Care demonstrate unwavering reverence for Jesus in the tabernacle.

Are you still sedevacantist in your views?

Pray for them.

Then they should NEVER have been commissioned as EMsHC. Speaking off the cuff I think EMsHC need at least a dozen hours of classroom training and practicum before they are commissioned.

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