BFP: The Coronavirus Should Be the End of EMHCs, But your Bishop Can’t Do That

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Show Notes

Twenty three years ago, a document from the Pope and most of Rome condemned the abuse of EHMCs (“Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion” or – illegally “Eucharistic Ministers” aka important people of future-church) , particularly their use in Masses for the reason that they confuse the faithful into seeing a parallel ministry of lay people.  They warned that a Ministerial-Industrial Complex of Parallel Ordination Clouding the vision of Actual Ministry…

Now, in response to the Coronavirus, health authorities tell us to wash our hands as a means to prevent the spread of the virus.  The dioceses are trying to make prudent guidelines, but some of them cannot get rid of the industry of busybody lay people.  This “ministry” is precisely the Cloudy Complex of Important People who have inserted themselves into pastoral activity today.  Instead of removing extra hands from the mix, some dioceses are mandating that the dirty hands of lay people willl continue distribution, and tell us that we should receive on the hand from the dirty hands of another lay person. 


Now, let’s take stock here for a minute… several other good things have happened here:

  • distribution of Holy Communion under both species has gone away almost everywhere.  
    • Thank God.  That’s really only supposed to happen by in tincture anyway.
      • The USCCB itself says that it should really only happen for a priest that cannot concelebrate himself, a deacon, or certain religious
  • the sign of peace is gone.   Thank God.  stupid lunacy that is
  • But…  some dioceses are trying to say Communion in the hand…
    • say what?
    • just a second ago they said no sign of peace
    • health concerns says don’t shake hands
    • everyone is saying wash your hands
    • nobody is saying wash your tongue

Not every diocese is doing away with it….  I have to hand it to Youngstown — their instruction says you should be careful when receiving on the tongue not to lick the distributor…  and they make it express that EMHCs must use hand sanitizer.

but other dioceses…  they don’t get it

GK Chesterton said it somewhere

“It isn’t that they can’t see the solution.  It is that they are the problem.”


because it’s an empire…   the busybodies have made a co-parallel “ministry”

Rome said this in 1997 — get rid of them.

But stand back for a minute…   most of the listeners go to a parish where there is not such liturgical abuse excess…   but think about the standard fare suburban Parish…

these…. these are   pillars of the small faith communities!!!

Picture this with me

St. Monica-St.Lucia-St. Stanislaus Parish of the Second Wave of Suburbia — it is the consolidated parish after the bishop regretfully closed seven parishes and put them all together.

Back in the 80s, The consolidated parish was rebuilt to house the new parish.   Locals seeing the new structure thought perhaps it was going to be warehouse.  Once inside the place, cold concrete and large bulkheads form a semi-circle worship space, and might tempt you to think that the diocese hired an ex-soviet gulag guard who had architecture school in Kursk where he learned to despise German bauhaus brutalism by making something more brutal. 

once inside, you feel like you are in the parking deck beneath a sports stadium…

All that aside, once you see how Mass develops in this proto-typical american “First Catholic Church of the Second Suburb” , you realize how Ringling Brothers went out of business…   they couldn’t compete with this…

In the old days, if little Johnny showed some spunk and ingenuity, maybe he’d go off to work the carnival… today, he gets a ministry commission in the parish 

Don’t even get me started on the lectors…   where do they learn to all raise their hands exactly the same way?  Is there a carnival school somewhere that tells them to do that?

But, Communion time comes…. what happens?

If you’re lucky, just the priest comes to distribute… but no…  you’re at the Home of Busybodies, and the place where all are welcome and you can have it your way…

You see it…  these people start waddling up to the “table”…  I hate calling it that…  but it’s not really an altar, is it?  it’s some sort of thing placed in the middle of the open space …   there is no discernible sanctuary…   Ivan the architect was told to make it easy for people to walk there.

They start…

First comes Sister Bruiser…  You’d be forgiven if you thought she was a retired longshoremen from the merchant marine…  You’d never know she was a sister except you’ve seen the pictures of the masthead of the LCWR…   looks just like em.  

Then, you got the Deacon… man, where do they find these guys?  Ever seen them carry the book in the procession?  They got arms longer than Stretch Armstrong… The deacon’s job is to try and establish some sort of logistics… and most of them are happy… the rest of the Mass they stand there looking like someone forgot they were there.

Here comes the old lady and her multicolor jacket…   she has all her bracelets on today because she saw her name on the EHMC schedule in the bulletin…   You know, she’s been on the welcoming committee and a welcome minister for twenty years…   She loves the church and helps out by distributing Communion

Then, you get that guy…   nobody really knows what he does… maybe sales… maybe some sort of management thing… he always has the shirt with the company logo on it…  he gets the softball league team sponsored by his company…  so he’s involved and gonna distribute…

and they all take their time to stop and make the weird protracted bow thing …

oh, I almost forgot…  you know the schedule lists ten EHMCs for Mass…   two lectors..

You get the idea…  they are a business…

They are a “ministry”….  the bishop can’t take this specialness away from them…

He has to do the obvious dumb thing…   none of them can distribute on the tongue…  shoot half of them can’t see your tongue without adjusting your readers…  and the young one they picked to show youth ministry is involved, she’s freaked out seeing people’s tongues like that…  it makes her fidgety and feel like her space is inadequate.

But that’s precisely the problem…  Rome said using these people all the time creates a confusing and fake “ministry”….

§ 2. Extraordinary ministers 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. (100) 

This function is supplementary and extraordinary (101) and must be exercised in accordance with the norm of law. It is thus useful for the diocesan bishop to issue particular norms concerning extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion which, in complete harmony with the universal law of the Church, should regulate the exercise of this function in his diocese. Such norms should provide, amongst other things, for matters such as the instruction in eucharistic doctrine of those chosen to be extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, the meaning of the service they provide, the rubrics to be observed, the reverence to be shown for such an august Sacrament and instruction concerning the discipline on admission to Holy Communion.To avoid creating confusion, certain practices are to be avoided and eliminated where such have emerged in particular Churches:

— extraordinary ministers receiving Holy Communion apart from the other faithful as though concelebrants;

— association with the renewal of promises made by priests at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, as well as other categories of faithful who renew religious vows or receive a mandate as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion;

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


What bishops should be saying is “No EHMCs, no sign of peace, and wash your hands…”

Gee…  wash you hands, why?  because they are dirty!

Youngstown said EHMCs must use hand sanitizer before distributing… think about that one for a minute…   it’s going to take Sister Bruiser a couple liturgical advisory committee meetings to get the new procedure down pat  as to when they can use hand sanitizer and look important up there… and where will they put the sanitizer? Gonna have the stantion at the end of the aisle for people to use right before Holy Communion???

So why would people want to receive in the hand if the hands are dirty?  Because the Bishop can’t tell the EHMCs to go home… it’s too big of a business…

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John B. Manos

John B. Manos, Esq. is an attorney and chemical engineer. He has a dog, Fyo, and likes photography, astronomy, and dusty old books published by Benziger Brothers. He is the President of the Bellarmine Forum.