Then why did the vatican go to the extent of producing a document pertaining to this specific terminology issue?
To clarify the role of the Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion so there is no confusion. Most of the people who use the term Eucharistic Minister are doing it out of ignorance and not out of abuse.
I read a book on the Mass and the author dealt with the issue that some people go to the Mass and start criticizing it as if they were at a movie and they were a movie critic. They spend so much time trying to find things wrong with what everyone is doing that they miss the whole intention of the Mass. He said that he has received comments from some of the most orthodox priests that they feel like they are a victim of a witch hunt going on from some of the puritans. I think he hit the nail on the head.
No such thing? Beg to differ…we have EMEs at our parish. The difference between an EME and EMHC is only in the semantics between “Eucharist” and “Holy Communion”, methinks.
I noticed this several months ago too. I’d love to see the Latin original of the document.
Right, which is why the Church in 1997 and again in 2004 made it clear what their title and function was. Actually, the 1983 Code of Canon Law uses the phrase “extraordinarius sacrae communionis minister” (“extraordinary minister of Holy Communion”).
Here’s what I’ve come to understand based on the choice of “EMHC” rather than “EME”: The name “Eucharist” is fitting for the sacrament insofar as it is the sacrifice offered in thanksgiving to God for our salvation in Christ, whereas the name “Holy Communion” is fitting for the sacrament insofar as it is what we are strengthened in by our receiving the sacrament. They are two sides of the one sacrament. To “minister the Eucharist” is, then, to confect it and offer it in the ministerial priestly manner: to consecrate it and pray the words of the Eucharistic Prayer. To “minister Holy Communion” is to distribute the consecrated species (once they have been offered to the Father and consumed by the priest, thus “ratifying” the covenant sacrifice) to the faithful.
The only “ministers of the Eucharist” are ordinary ones: the priests (including bishops, of course). There is no such thing as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, because only priestly ordination can make the ministry of the Eucharist possible.
The oft-linked 1997 document makes it clear that accurate terminology is required to avoid confusion. It uses the term “extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion”. Redemptionis Sacramentum, also quoted up the wazoo, explains in n. 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.” So the Church believes that a title like “EME” (or even more generally, “EM” as in “Eucharistic Minister”) is too broad to accurately describe the ministry.
The Church is teaching via clarity.
What does this have to do with calling an EMHC and EME? Are you trying to turn this thread into somthing else?
If so those who are critical of people who are critical are doing it because they almost always are the people behind the abuses and they want to deflect their “guilt” onto someone else.
If the sign on the front of the Church says “Catholic Church” then it should act like one in its liturgy. The liturgy that is decided and approved by Rome.
I would view it as an opportunity for catechisis on the Nature of the Sacrements.
Each Sacrament has a Minister.
The Minister of Baptism is the person pourign the water and reciting the Trinitrarian formula. It has an Ordinary Minister ( Priest or Deacon), and an Extraordinary Minister ( any person)
The Minister of Reconcillation is, of course, a validly Ordained priest. The Ordinary minster is a validly Ordained priest or bishop with jurisdiction. The Extraordinary Minister is any validly ordained priest (in an emergency)
The Minster of Matrimony is the couple themselves. There is no Extraordinary Minister.
The Minister of the Eucharist is a validly Ordained priest. The Ordinary Minister of the Eucharist is an incardnated or religious priest. The only Extraordinary Minsiter of the Eucharist is a laicized priest acting in an emergency.
So calling someone an Eucharistic Minister is calling them a priest.
Saying that they are an Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister is saying that they are a laicized priest.
So view it as a chance to perform a Spiritual Act of Mercy and instruct this person who is ignorant of the nature of the Sacraments.
I stand corrected!
I guess we (should) all know the difference between EM and EMHCs, but my focus is on the difference, which methinks is merely semantical (is that a real word? ) between EMHC and EME.
Yes, it is semantics, it is a matter of language. To be a minister of the Eucharist means something different than to be a minister of Holy Communion. But “merely” semantics?
I understand what the terms are. I was replying that just because someone mistakenly uses the word Eucharistic Minister instead of Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, they are not being abusive. They may be ignorant, but not abusive.
How nice, now you’re indirectly accusing me of liturgical abuses. I don’t have any guilt to put on to anyone. I’m not trying to turn this thread into anything. I just think that everytime somebody makes a mistake, there are those who are crying “Abuse! Abuse!”. Not all mistakes are abuses.
No I’m not being critical of those who are critcal. I believe if there is a true liturgical abuse, to report it if does not get fixed. However, I don’t think someone mistakenly calling an EMHC a EM is an abuse. Most parishes that call EMHC by the name of EM are not being abusive. They are just ignorant.
I do however think that some people spend too much time trying to find things that are wrong and are truly missing out on the reason of why we are at Mass. I didn’t say it was you and I’m not trying to derail this thread. I’m sorry for having an opinion.
Um…what I’m saying is that it’s merely a matter of semantics to say **Extrodinary **Minister of the Eucharist vs. Extrodinary Minister of Holy Communion.
Minister of the Eucharist or Minister of Holy Communion is different than the Extrodinary Ministers.
I’m still not clear what the difference is between the use of the words “Eucharist” and “Holy Communion” in this context. I get the “Extrodinary” vs. “Regular” part; that, methinks is an important distinction.
The primary action of the minister of the Eucharist is the offering of the Son to the Father (the Canon or Eucharistic Prayer). Secondarily he distributes Holy Communion.
The EMHC cannot substitute for the priest in the distinctive Eucharistic action, although they help with Holy Communion.
Not to belittle the distinction, but I wonder how many of the rank-and-file understand or appreciate the difference. :shrug:
Perhaps it is because they don’t understand or appreciate the difference that they don’t see what the nomenclature is important. Do “rank-and-file” Catholics know that the Eucharist is offered to God? Are they aware there is more happening than just US receiving something?
It’s one thing to believe that the bread and wine become the Body & Blood. It’s another to believe it is done so in the context of the sacrifice of the Cross. It’s another to believe that the sacrifice is offered to God the Father by the priest (and to a lesser degree, by us with the priest, although our manner of offering is perfected by our joining of ourselves to the Eucharistic offering).
I guess like many other things, this is one among many that Joe Average Catholic doesn’t know about (or care about).
Good point about what WE GET from mass.
I did a survey of a number of Catholics at my parish, as well as friends and family a few years ago for a class project and was quite surprised by the number of respondants who didn’t believe in the real presence. :shrug:
But that there is another subject for another day…
Thanks for all the replies!