women not allowed to distribute the Precious Body?

Last week all of the Dominican priests at my parish were replaced with “conservative” diocesan priests. (This has been quite controversial and many longtime members have left the parish. My parish could definitely use prayers.) Anyway, one of the changes the new pastor made is not allowing the female lay Eucharistic ministers to distribute the Precious Body, but they are allowed to distribute the Precious Blood. I was quite confused by this, and I don’t believe I’ve seen this at any other parish. Does anyone know what this is about? Is this the traditional way, and if so, what is the meaning behind it? :shrug:

There are, and cannot be, any documents supporting your pastor’s decision. The entirety of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ is contained in both Species, they are totally equal and should be treated equally. The only difference I can see is that, due to the accidents of bread verses wine it is easier to reserve the Species of Bread rather than Wine so all the Precious Blood is consumed at Mass whereas the the Precious Body is reserved in the tabernacle.

A question for your pastor - how does he justify female Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion bringing Communion to the sick and housebound in his parish if they are not allowed to distribute the Precious Body?

The “traditional way” is for only the ordained to distributed the Precious Body and for only the priest to receive the blood. Today it is the pastor’s decision as to whether he prefers all male altar servers and EMHCs (“Eucharistic ministers”). I see nothing wrong with what they are doing, even if it is bound to upset people in this age of mass confusion over the distinction of the sexes as a good and complementary thing rather than as an unfair and oppressive thing.

Sounds like he might be attempting to phase into all male altar servers and all male EMHCs.

When you have all male EMHCs and altar servers, the priest could then have them all vest.

Does your diocese install Instituted Acolytes?

New pastors who come in with an agenda end up driving people away.

A wise priest once told me that the only thing a new pastor should change in his first year is a light bulb.

It will be interesting to hear how this settles out. My guess is that this will be only the first of many changes your parish will experience.

Prayers for you.

This is actually something that falls within the pastor’s authority. He can use, or not use, Extraordinary Ministers as he sees fit.

While I don’t support his decision, he does have the authority to do so.

It is clear that a pastor can choose to use, or not use, EM’s. However, in the cited situation the pastor is choosing to use EM’s. What is unclear is his authority to discriminate by gender as to which gender EM does what.

I am sorry to hear your parish is in turmoil. Perhaps people are making up their own stories as to why the change occurred. It could be that the Dominicans were recalled, that the diocese now has priests to staff its parishes, or any number of things.

I am unsure why sending diocesan priests to a diocesan parish is “controversial”, but change is always difficult.

Only bishops, priests, and deacons are Eucharistic Ministers. Lay people are Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.

Priests need not use extraordinary ministers at all. And, when they do, it is within their purview to decide how they will be employed.

It is the pastor’s prerogative to select those who will assist in liturgical roles and to decide how they will best serve in that capacity.

He need not justify anything. That is simply not an appropriate approach to the pastor at all.

This is not about being allowed or not allowed. This is about how the pastor deems that those who serve in various capacities at the Mass do so, which is 100% in his purview.

When lay EMHCs and lectors were first allowed, they were all men. That limitation was later lifted. It’s not really “traditional” but it is a reversion to an older practice.

In the end, the priest is the one who selects people for those roles and he can use whatever criteria he wants as long as it doesn’t go against universal or diocesan rules. Many parishes, for example, have only males as altar servers. Since the distribution of the cup is optional, that may be the reasoning behind the difference.

Exactly. A very dear Monsignor friend once told me that when getting a new parish he does 2 things:

  1. Consecrates the parish to Our Lady and asks her to direct him in in what is best for the parish
  2. sits around and waits fro all the nut-jobs with agendas to come out of the word work. The truly giving people who work behinds the scenes quietly go about their business and he then can discern who is there for all the right reasons and whom can be trusted. :wink:

Sad for your parish, but offer many prayers and communions. Folks may not care for his decisions, but they must defer to his judgment. Since he is a Diocesan priest, there is no point in complaining. Many share a priest, or have no regularly assigned priest.
Even though this is a change from what you are accustomed to, there are likely going to be folks that are delighted by this. Herein lies the problems of having “leeway”. Once you change or revert processes, people naturally feel like something has been “taken away” from them.
Thankfully, we still have Jesus present in the Eucharist, no matter whom is distributing for us. Focus on that and pray for your fellow parishioners. Peace.

Yes, the pastor can invite, or disinvite, any individual or group of individuals.

A liturgical minister of just about every type serves entirely at the whim of the pastor. The only exception that I can think of would be the associate pastors and deacons. They are assigned by the bishop and have certain liturgical rights.

Laypeople do not.

Maybe we could just go back to having no EMHC like it should be and have a more reverent distribution of the Blessed Sacrament by a priest or deacon or even acolyte. EMHC are far too widely used in the Church today. Have longer lines for communion if we have to, but we just overuse these “extraordinary ministers”

If by an “agenda” you mean phasing the Church into having a more reverent liturgy I disagree. A priest has the authority to change anything in his parish as long as it is still within the bound of the teachings of the Catholic Church. If he wants to eventually move into an all male sanctuary there is no point in sitting there for a year changing light bulbs.



I would add to the list Instituted Acolytes. We have had them for a few years in our diocese and they are also assigned by the Archbishop.

Yep. And I say that as a (female) extraordinary minister. I serve because I was asked to. It’s not a “right” I have. If Father said tomorrow that he wasn’t going to use extraordinary ministers anymore, I’d say “OK, Father.”

Have you considered asking the pastor about his reasons for making this change? Perhaps the pastor is simply trying to insure a balanced number of male and female lay ministers at every Mass. Everything else being equal, there is a pleasing symmetry in having one sex distribute the Precious Body and the other sex distribute the Precious Blood and, since it is a given that the male priest will be distributing the Precious Body, it makes aesthetical sense that other males be selected to do the same and females be selected to distribute the Precious Blood.

Since EMHC are supposed to be extraordinary, thus not used every weekend, this really is a moot point since only priests and deacons are the ordinary ministers of holy communion.

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