Technical question about self-communicating

A few weeks ago, I was teaching a class on Eucharist and a person who is an EMHC asked this question…
“When Fr. So-and-so comes up for communion, I see the deacon hold out the paten to him without saying 'The Body of Christ”. What should I do when I offer him the cup?"

First, you should know that the priest in question is a retired Franciscan friar who doesn’t concelebrate for a legitimate reason which I don’t want to get into.

After spending weeks researching this issue, the only answer I could come up with was that this practice was not permitted. I asked the deacon why he did this and he said that during his training to be a deacon, the diocesan liturgist told him to do that. I told him that practice was incorrect.

Then, lo and behold, yesterday morning I went to morning Mass at a totally different Franciscan parish in another state, and the same thing happened! The presider offered the paten to the man next to me without saying “The Body of Christ”. After Mass, I overheard the man talking and it was clear he was a priest. By the way, he received from the same paten I did - so it couldn’t have been a gluten free host.

Is there anyone in this forum who can give me a definite answer - backed by a liturgical document - that says this is the way a priest who is not concelebrating is to receive Communion?

Thank you so much for your help with this.

@edward_george1

@InThePew

:popcorn::popcorn::popcorn::popcorn::popcorn: I’m interested in this one.

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Did you check with the diocesan liturgist? I’m presuming you aren’t a priest because your listed name is female, so in what capacity are you telling a deacon he’s wrong to do as he was taught by the diocesan liturgist?

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I’m the parish liturgist.

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Okay. So I would think that the diocesan liturgist would be your first stop, to find out if the deacon was confused, or alternatively if the diocesan liturgist has a source or an explanation. In the worst case, they are spreading error to many deacons.

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You have a valid point. I considered that perhaps the deacon misunderstood. However, seeing it happen at a different parish makes me think not.
I could go ask the diocesan liturgist. I will likely do so after I am done collecting my research.
Hopefully some fellow liturgists frequent this board and will put their shoulder to the wheel on this one. Thanks!

Don’t know what Diocese you are in but that is consistent with our diaconal training as well.

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It has been my understanding that priests always self-communicate regardless of whether concelebrating or not - so I’ll be interested to see any documentation that this thread may yield.

Come to think of it, though, I have given the Eucharist to a priest in my line as an EMHC and he presented his hands the same as other laypersons.

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Diocese of Gary, Indiana

Whilst I previously wrote my thoughts on the matter, trying to reason things out - Father @InThePew provided the correct info, therefore I believe it best to delete my musings.

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Fr Edward McNamara answers this question in his Zenit column here.

Essentially, a non-concelebrating priest isn’t performing the sacrifice of the mass and thus isn’t confecting the Eucharist as a celebrant would.

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Thank you Father!

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InThePew, thank you for referencing Fr. McNamara’s column. Yes, I ran across it as I was doing my research. It is a valuable resource supporting the fact that non-concelebrating priests are to receive Eucharist through a minister.
As he stated, nowhere does it explicitly say “this is what you do when a non-concelebrating priest comes forward for communion.”
But, if I am going to go up against a diocesan liturgist - who is a priest and a stickler for the rules. I had better have more than an online column to back me up. It sounds like other Dioceses are training their deacons in the same manner.

In the interest of crossing all my “T’s”, I’m hoping someone out there has run across some obscure document that addresses this.

Thanks so much for your help. It really is the best I’ve gotten so far.

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You’re welcome. Tbh it sounds like you’re in one of those situations where even if you had a letter from the Pope himself it wouldn’t make a difference! At the end of the day, some battles just aren’t worth the aggravation!

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:slightly_smiling_face: Yes! I agree completely! And laughing heartily about the “letter from the pope”. You are so right.

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Does this have to be a conflict right off the bat instead of just a discussion? Couldn’t you frame it as, “I don’t understand this, when Fr .Mcnamara says X, can you explain it to me?” rather than, “I’m concerned that abuse is going on.”

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InThePew, Arrrgh! Just when I thought I had this whole issue buttoned up, a priest tells me: “It doesn’t matter what the documents say. The bishop is the supreme authority in his diocese and can set any rule he wants as long as it doesn’t go against doctrine. If the bishop says that priests are to self-communicate when they come up to communion, then that’s the law in that diocese.” He then related a story about how, in the diocese of Madison, Wis, the bishop forbade any priest from offering the Blood of Christ to anyone (besides the concelebrants), and so that’s the rule in that diocese. Frustrating! So, if I understand this correctly, there are “best practices and recommended procedures”, but the bishop can ultimately do whatever he wants. Is this really the case?

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A bishop can make local laws for his own diocese (for example relating to Extraordinary ministers, communion under both kinds altar servers, etc) but these laws can’t conflict with universal law. That said, you’re fighting an unwinnable battle unfortunately and, at the end of the day, it’s not your problem. So just go along with what they want and save yourself the aggravation!

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Fr, I understand your advice, and I don’t disagree with it. But we were always taught that self-communicating is blasphemy, a very serious sin. If this is an example of self-communicating, would the EMHC be guilty in any way of material cooperation with evil?

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