Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist giving a blessing?


#1

In the Non-Catholic Religions forum, someone said something that was a little off topic in the y Boyfriend is Catholic, but I am not... thread. I did not want to open this up in the thread but it did raise a question in my mind.

A non-Catholic should stay in the pew and pray a spiritual communion. The priest gives a general blessing at the end of Mass. Having a Eucharistic minister administer a blessing is totally useless since they cannot truly bless. The individual blessings in lieu of communion were started with good intentions but it is time to put that practice aside now.

To those of you who oppose Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist giving a blessing to Non-Catholics, why do you think that? I have been raised with them giving blessings all my life and in my parish we still do it. I know some of you will think it is right, others that it is wrong. Could others who think it is Liturgical abuse show me why. Sources would be appreciated.

By the way, I don't have a problem with it but I am not so locked into that position that my mind couldn't be changed.


#2

See sticky note on this topic posted above by the Mods.


#3

I believe one of the Spiritual Works of Mercy is to instruct the ignorant. Hahaha, at least I am not committing a deadly sin of pride not admitting I was silly enough not to see what was in plain sight. (at least I am not prideful this time)

Sorry, I have always been weak at spotting things that were right in front of my face. If a moderator wants to delete this, go ahead. A discussion on this wouldn’t be bad either.


#4

Where would I find this sticky note??


#5

In short, I oppose it because the church says no. That’s good enough for me.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=543513


#6

I’m opposed to it too because the Church says only the priest gives a blessing.
And I’m opposed to the congregation being asked to raise a hand to bestow a blessing in unison. It looks like a Nazi salute and is not proper.


#7

And actually, if you read the note linked to above from the Congregation for Divine Worship, it even says that during communion, Priests should not be giving blessings either.


#8

An EMHC’s blessing is no more efficacious than a blessing you yourself could give to the EMHC, as you are both laymen. An EMHC’s blessing, as yours would be, is merely a prayer, not a blessing, if the man administering it is not ordained.


#9

The beautiful thing about truth is that it is objective. No matter how many disagree with it, it still remains the truth.

First of all: Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. Any other wording is erroneous, and in particular “the name “minister of the Eucharist” belongs properly to the Priest alone.” (see Redemptionis Sacramentum).

Second: members of the common priesthood cannot bless. Only those who have received the Sacrament of Holy Orders and entered the ministerial priesthood can act in persona Christi and bless (that includes Deacons, Priests, and Bishops). It would be pointless for a lay faithful to bless someone just as it would be pointless for him to try to absolve someone or to try to consecrate the host.

You may want to re-read the Catechism, specifically the section regarding the Sacrament of Holy Orders. It’s not a matter of being “locked” into a position, but a matter of acknowledging that Holy Church is our Teacher for a reason, and if we deviate from what She teaches and start doing things according to our way, then we will collect the poisonous fruits of disobedience and rebelliousness.

(Here) we find the boundaries in which EMHC are to work:

Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may distribute Holy Communion at eucharistic celebrations only when there are no ordained ministers present or when those ordained ministers present at a liturgical celebration are truly unable to distribute Holy Communion.(99) They may also exercise this function at eucharistic celebrations where there are particularly large numbers of the faithful and which would be excessively prolonged because of an insufficient number of ordained ministers to distribute Holy Communion.

This function is supplementary and extraordinary (101) and must be exercised in accordance with the norm of law.

To avoid creating confusion, certain practices are to be avoided and eliminated where such have emerged in particular Churches:

  • the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass thus arbitrarily extending the concept of “a great number of the faithful”.

Furthermore, the Congregation for Divine Worship has stated in a letter that

Lay people, within the context of Holy Mass, are unable to confer blessings. These blessings, rather, are the competence of the priest (cf. Ecclesia de Mysterio, Notitiae 34 (15 Aug. 1997), art. 6, § 2; Canon 1169, § 2; and Roman Ritual De Benedictionibus (1985), n. 18).

EMHC are lay faithful. But even for a priest or deacon, the letter specifies:

Furthermore, the laying on of a hand or hands — which has its own sacramental significance, inappropriate here — by those distributing Holy Communion, in substitution for its reception, is to be explicitly discouraged.


#10

If it is not allowed (lay persons giving a blessing during Mass) why does the priest ask for all to join him?

What about a person who serves as an Extraordinary Minister during Mass blessing any children she sees before Mass? :eek: Aren’t these people provided with a list of what is and what isn’t proper for them to do?


#11

[quote="aicirt, post:10, topic:300672"]
If it is not allowed (lay persons giving a blessing during Mass) why does the priest ask for all to join him?

What about a person who serves as an Extraordinary Minister during Mass blessing any children she sees before Mass? :eek: Aren't these people provided with a list of what is and what isn't proper for them to do?

[/quote]

To answer the first question, a quote from Redemptionis Sacramentum:

In some places the perpetration of liturgical abuses has become almost habitual, a fact which obviously cannot be allowed and must cease.

However, there is a possibility that the extraordinary ministers in your case may be deacons (perhaps not wearing the liturgical vestment?)

Now let's clarify something: lay faithful can "perform" what are called blessings of invocation. For instance, at lunch I trace on myself the sign of the Cross and I pray: "Bless us, Father, and these, your gifts...". I am not blessing myself, but rather invoking God's blessing. In the same way, a parent may pray for an invokatory blessing over his children, sometimes even by tracing a sign of the cross on their foreheads. To do so is to say to the Lord: "if it be Your will, we invoke Your blessing". We cannot act in persona Christi and tell someone: I bless you.

The Book of Blessings does specify the wording of certain solemn blessings adapted to become an invocation in order to allow a clearly authorized minister to carry them out. This, however, I believe is not very common.

Blessing children is most definitely a spontaneous motion of good will. While only a deacon or a priest can actually "bless", I am quite sure that the good Lord does listen to such invocations from the lay faithful! :)


#12

That’s all fine and dandy, and I don’t see any faulty logic in your posts R_C, but there’s one thing your missing: the letter from the CDW. It specifically says that blessings are inappropriate during communion, regardless if the minister is ordained or not. Here’s the pertinent section:

“In a similar way, for others who are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in accord with the norm of law, the Church’s discipline has already made clear that they should not approach Holy Communion nor receive a blessing.”

It clearly states that those not receiving should not receive a blessing.


#13

[quote="aicirt, post:10, topic:300672"]
If it is not allowed (lay persons giving a blessing during Mass) why does the priest ask for all to join him?

What about a person who serves as an Extraordinary Minister during Mass blessing any children she sees before Mass? :eek: Aren't these people provided with a list of what is and what isn't proper for them to do?

[/quote]

A female EMHC? Giving blessings? That smacks a little too much of priestess-ry for me to be comfortable with. At most parish websites I've seen, there's a PDF download of a list of what to do and what not to do, but, at many (liberal) parishes, no one follows it, neither the priest nor the EMHCs who are used on a regular basis even with 40 people receiving.


#14

You got it. :thumbsup: VERY priestess-ry further enhanced by the outfit. :eek: which she’s never worn since so I hope the priest talked to her.


#15

Greetings All,

  Anybody can give a blessing.  I can bless my children when they leave for school.  Isaac gave special blessings to Jacob and Esau.  The problem is what the blessing means.  

  As noted above, the blessings of the priest on the congregation are those of an ordained priest acting in the person of Christ.  As a lay person, I cannot do this.  The problem with lay people giving "blessings" in Mass is that it confuses the priestly blessing in persona Christi with lay blessings, which is a big no-no.  This is why, in the context of the Mass, only the priest does the blessings.  So no EM blessings at communion, no congregation blessings on people during Mass (regardless of whether it makes you look like a Nazi :) ).

BTW, this is why I no longer work as an EM.  I am too uncomfortable with the current practice at communion and refuse to be a party to it.  Until the Church nails this down, I won't be EMing.

#16

[quote="superamazingman, post:12, topic:300672"]
That's all fine and dandy, and I don't see any faulty logic in your posts R_C, but there's one thing your missing: the letter from the CDW. It specifically says that blessings are inappropriate during communion, regardless if the minister is ordained or not. Here's the pertinent section:

"In a similar way, for others who are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in accord with the norm of law, the Church's discipline has already made clear that they should not approach Holy Communion nor receive a blessing."

It clearly states that those not receiving should not receive a blessing.

[/quote]

Actually, it specifically does not state that. To the contrary, the letter makes it clear that "this matter is still under attentive study" and has not been settled. It also goes out of its way not to say anything like "no one should receive a blessing in the Communion line." Rather, it says that divorced and remarried Catholics should not be given blessing due to the risk of scandal, and that, "in a similar way," blessings should not be given to people "who are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in accord with the norm of law," such as "include non-Catholics and those envisaged in can. 915 (i.e., those under the penalty of excommunication or interdict, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin)." The motivating prudential factor expressed by the CDW is the danger of scandal. This does not, however, bear at all on the situation of Catholics who wish to receive a blessing because they are (1) children who have not yet taken first Communion, (2) not is the state of grace, but without having been excommunicated or having obstinately persisted in manifest sin, or (3) just not mentally or spiritually ready to receive Communion that day.


#17

I don’t know if this is correct or not. I am a Eucharistic minister and I do not give a blessing all I say is “Peace be with you” That way I don’t bless and I give the general greeting to all that is in my line.

I would be curious as to what others do and say.

Thanks Geneane


#18

[quote="MarkThompson, post:16, topic:300672"]
This does not, however, bear at all on the situation of Catholics who wish to receive a blessing because they are (1) children who have not yet taken first Communion, (2) not is the state of grace, but without having been excommunicated or having obstinately persisted in manifest sin, or (3) just not mentally or spiritually ready to receive Communion that day.

[/quote]

Mark, I would claim that it would, in fact, apply to children who have not yet recieved FHC.

blessings should not be given to people "who are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in accord with the norm of law

Such children are excluded under the norm of law. As they have not yet particpated in the Sacrament of Reconcillation, (Canon 914, CCC 1457)

The 'such as' is not indicative of a complete list, but lists examples of those who are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.

Yes, the matter is certainly under examination, but until we hear to contrary from the CDWDS, the instructions given are to be given due obedience.


#19

Anyone CAN give a blessing, but it does not follow from that premise that anyone can give a blessing during the context of the Mass, or even any public liturgy.


#20

[quote="R_C, post:11, topic:300672"]
However, there is a possibility that the extraordinary ministers in your case may be deacons (perhaps not wearing the liturgical vestment?)

[/quote]

Deacons are Ordinary Ministers of Communion. For this very reason, I think it is a bad idea for unvested deacons to distribute communion in lay dress along with the lay Extraordinary Ministers. I don't know of any rule in the GIRM or the rubrics requiring deacons to assist as vested clergy from the sanctuary at every Mass they attend, but I think it is a bad idea pastorally for a deacon to distribute communion in the manner of a EMHC. A parish I used to belonged to was blessed to have many deacons in the parish, so even when every Sunday Mass had two deacons serving, there still would be a couple of deacons not on the schedule on a given Sunday. One Sunday I saw an unvested deacon go up at communion time as if he were just another of the nine EMHCs. I assumed he was subbing for a missing EMHC, but thought if there was time for him to be asked to assist, there was time for him to put on an alb and stole.


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