Will Papal Directive to US on EMHC's Purifying Sacred Vessels be Followed or Ignored?



CW News’ twist on the directive also implies that it may lead to diminshed opportunites for Holy Communion under both species. Cardinal Arinze restated the Council of Trent’s teaching that Christ is totally present under either species. Other articles yesterday had the Cardinal talking about intinction as an alternative to drinking from the Chalice. Clearly there seems to be more to this directive than meets the eye.

I would be interested to know in your opinion, what will be the practical consequence of this directive. It may be in your parish or the churches in your area that you frequent.


Intinction/ kneeling is the only way to go!

(people who want McDonald’s time for Communion should get used to more of a fine dining time period!)


Of course it will be ignored. Rome is all bark, no bite. Finger wagging from the various dicasteries hasn’t been effective in the past. What makes anyone think it would work now? “You Americans better shape up! Or we’ll issue another document! We really mean it this time!” :tsktsk:




I do not see a significant change to EMHC duties, with the exception that they are not authorized to clean the sacred vessels. This practice was only a temp approval for the US, which expired in 2005. All other duties they perform are unchanged, unless I missed something. If I did, let me know because I am a EMHC.


No change in most places.

When the 2002 GIRM was published, some people acted as if there hadn’t been a 1975 GIRM, or a 1970 GIRM…in fact, some bishops refused to obet the '75 rubrics for quite a while in “anticipation” of new ones.

In any case, most parishes in the USA use a 1985 Indult Sacramentary with some supplementary material that’s been published since c. 1996.


The parish where my wife and I serve as EMHCs is relatively liberal (That’s why we go there.), however we do not purify the sacred vessels. This will have no effect on the American church.


BTW, this is neither papal nor a directive.


Of course it will be complied with.

However, it only applies to the ablution, or purification, not to the washing up. So Father will do the ablution instead of the sacristan, and the sacristan/emhc’s/servers will still end up with the dishpan hands after. (Yes, every parish I’ve been in as an adult has dishsoap&water washed the chalices after every Mass.)

Also, it does not change the directives in the liturgical documents about Communion in both Species. [highly recommended]

karen marie


The directive must have been leaked as our parish and another in our city where we go on Sunday night if we had been traveling had already started it. It will be followed to the letter in our diocese.

Practical considerations: We will have no choice but to cease to have the option under both species. Mass @ our parish currently lasts exactly an hour leaving 30 minutes for us to clear our limited parking lot and allow everyone to get in for the next Mass (we have three Masses on Sunday morning). There is absolutely not any way that Mass can be extended without adding to the total chaos we already have with people out of courtesy barely having time to do a little “business” (visit with a few people, supporting whatever fundraising activity going on (ie SVDP or the youth), talking to Father, etc.) and allow people to get into the Church. During October and May, this is especially chaotic as we say the Rosary prior to Mass. Essentially, Rosary starts with few people in the pews and people trickle in as it is said. There is absolutely no other way to do it because of our parking lot.

I know that alot of people don’t agree with EMHC’s. But the practical consequences @ our parish is that it would be impossible to finish Mass in less than an hour and the chaos would be even worse. Personally, I just hate that our physical constraints effectively require people to out of charity rush out of Church to allow people time to get into the Church w/ a minimal amount of time to prepare for the Mass or stick around for fellowship afterwards. For new parishioners, this problem adversely impact our ability to welcome them within the context of after mass fellowship. But I would cry even more if the loss of EMHC’s would worsen the situation.


Very simple…make a longer time between your Masses.

I find very few parishes can’t manage with, say, a 6 am 8 am 10 am 12 Noon and, say, Sunday evening Mass or Saturday evening Mass or, if truly massive, both.

If 3 Masses on Sunday morning, make them 6, 9, and Noon for even more lavish times. Or 7, 10, and 1.


On Sundays we have 300 to 600 people at each mass. Along with those recieving are children who are blessed.
They are 7, 9:30, 11, 1:30, 6:30 and 8:30.

We kneel on 6 kneelers and receive by intinction. EMHCs are rarely used. It can be done.


It will vary by diocese.

The magisterial-loyal bishops will follow completely, while some other may not.


Can you point to me the document that states Mass must last less than an hour?

Pope Benedict when as Ratzinger (no I don’t recall the name of the text) commented that the church will be a smaller but purer church. I wonder if those who rush out of church are not part of that bunch he was refering to already anyway.

It is my opinion the catholic church is actually smallerin membership already and has been for a few decades. The actual size is just now being revealed or defined. Those who would leave because of going over the magical 1 hour time slot likely were looking for an excuse to stay home and watch JJ jetplane anyway.


Can someone explain to a non-Catholic the difference between the “purification” and the “washing up?” I’m assuming that purification takes place during the service as a part of the Sacrament and the washing up is obviously the physical cleansing of the vessels. From what I can see, this directive does not restrict EMHCs from distributing the Host, is that correct? How would limiting them from purification lengthen the Mass?

All of these questions are in the spirit of learning only . . .




Can the Mass times be changed to allow more space between Masses? We have five Masses on Sunday, the last one at 6 PM (Life Teen) and we do not have the same problem and our parking lot is not large, 1600 families. We also have the Saturday Vigil Mass.


Please read again what I said. Nobody wants Mass to last less than an hour. We have physical constraints to our parking lot (related to an addition to our school, God Bless). We have many elderly who require parking close to Church. The unavoidable consequences when Mass goes over an hour is that people can’t get out and in our parking lot in the time between Masses.

What I bolded offends me. You don’t know these people, you didn’t read what I said closely enough such that your accusation is wreckless. Everyone laments that charity requires people to rush out so that others can get into the Church prior to their Mass to prayerfully prepare. I suppose they could be selfish and stick around and deprive their breathren the same courtesy they want (to prayerfully prepare for Mass).

And regarding those who suggest that we change our Mass times and claim it is “simple”. Look, if it was a simple solution, we’d do it. We have even tried it after the addition to the school. And for reasons that I’ll guarantee 90% of the parish and 100% of the Parish Council agreed when we changed back, that is not a viable alternative. Additionally, because we have two other parishes (one opened since we were last at the other Mass times) located within two miles of us on each side, Mass time changes require approval of the Bishop. For reasons that are within the purview of the Bishop, I can assure you that he wouldn’t approve a change.


The American bishops will make all of the extra-ordinary ministers acolytes and and circumvent the whole situation.





In my parish it will be business as usual since the EMHC do NOT engage in purifying and since we only recieve under one species.

But that was not a voting option.

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