Cleansing Fire

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Extraordinary? No!

May 31st, 2011, Promulgated by Abaccio

We’ve all seen or heard about the antics commonly present at Masses in the Diocese of Rochester centering around the distribution of communion (such as attempting to forbid reception kneeling or on the tongue, or the incredible overuse of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, failure to perform the ablutions, a layperson taking responsibility for the reservation of the Eucharist in the Tabernacle instead of the priest….and so on)

A friend alerted me to an occurrence at Our Lady of Peace in Geneva this Sunday, which I had previously noticed a few months back.  After distributing Holy Communion to the EMHCs this Sunday, Fr. Paul Tomasso proceeded to…sit down in his chair, rather than distribute Communion to the faithful, instead choosing to allow the six EMHC’s to do the job themselves.  In addition to being utterly despicable in its laziness, and wholly unpastoral, it violates the GIRM and Redemptionis Sacramentum!

Redemptionis Sacramentum states:

[156.] This function is to be understood strictly according to the name by which it is known, that is to say, that of extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and not “special minister of Holy Communion” nor “extraordinary minister of the Eucharist” nor “special minister of the Eucharist”, by which names the meaning of this function is unnecessarily and improperly broadened. (Our Lady of Peace calls them, on their website, “Communion Minister”)

[157.] If there is usually present a sufficient number of sacred ministers for the distribution of Holy Communion, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may not be appointed. Indeed, in such circumstances, those who may have already been appointed to this ministry should not exercise it. The practice of those Priests is reprobated who, even though present at the celebration, abstain from distributing Communion and hand this function over to laypersons.[258] (REPROBATED!)

[158.] Indeed, the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when the Priest and Deacon are lacking, when the Priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged.[259] This, however, is to be understood in such a way that a brief prolongation, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason.

Meanwhile, the GIRM notes:

GIRM 162. The priest may be assisted in the distribution of Communion by other priests who happen to be present. If such priests are not present and there is a very large number of communicants, the priest may call upon extraordinary ministers to assist him, e.g., duly instituted acolytes or even other faithful who have been deputed for this purpose. In case of necessity, the priest may depute suitable faithful for this single occasion.

Note here that the office of acolyte is reserved to men alone.  How many parishes have even tried to use instituted acolytes, the “ordinary” extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion?  It is only due to a distinctly feminist agenda that we see so many female EMHC’s.  It is certainly not the will of Holy Mother Church.

In any case, it seems clear that Fr. Tomasso’s occasional practice is egregiously wrong.

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16 Responses to “Extraordinary? No!”

  1. avatar Louis E. says:

    Perhaps a campaign of mailing Fr Tommasso copies of Redemptionis Sacramentum might sink in?

  2. avatar Susan of Corning says:

    This is not a rare occurrence. I’ve seen this in Southern Tier churches over the years.

  3. avatar Bro AJK says:

    I have only seen this when the priest has great difficulty standing. From the tone, I suspect this is not the case.

  4. avatar peacebewithyou says:

    [158.] Indeed, the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when the Priest and Deacon are lacking, when the Priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason,. . .

    I chose to believe that Fr Tommasso may have had a medical or genuine reason that is not easily discern by the congregation that led to him not distribute communion at that Mass as oppose to being “lazy.” Did anyone take the time to ask him?

  5. avatar Anonymous says:

    peacebewithyou: I doubt it. I’ve seen it done at churches in Monroe County as well. Usually it occurs in a not so orthodox parish and with a not so orthodox priest. Do all these priests have medical problems that prevent them from distributing communion? Probably not! I see these “able” bodied priests walking around the church after Mass talking and laughing (while standing) to their congregation.

  6. avatar Eliza10 says:

    I have seen able-bodied priests at several DOR parishes sitting while lay people administer communion as well (or, more often, while a lay person delivers the homily). Particularly for communion, its always shocking and saddening. In each case, the able-bodied priest walks and stands around both before and after Mass.

    “Peacewithyou”, it is far more pleasant to choose to believe what you believe, but for me, because of my experience, this option seems like imposing a silly kind of “pretending” on myself.

  7. avatar Eliza10 says:

    I have seen able-bodied priests at several Diocese of Rochester parishes sitting while lay people administer communion as well (or, more often, while a lay person delivers the homily). Particularly for communion, its always shocking and saddening. In each case, the able-bodied priest who sits for distribution of the Holy Eucharist also walks and stands around both before and after Mass.

    “Peacewithyou”, it is far more pleasant to choose to believe what you believe, but for me, because of my experience, this option seems like imposing a silly kind of “pretending” on myself.

  8. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    I can day I have also witnessed an apparently healthy priest take a seat during communion on more than once occasion. The last time I went to a typical DOR parish I was amazed at how quickly communion went. There were at least 6 EMHC. I was about in the middle of the church and I swear by the time I returned to my seat and knelt, communion was over. I guess the term “unduly prolonged” is a broad spectrum.

  9. avatar Anonymous says:

    I know Ben, what’s the hurry? Why such a rush to get communion over with. Back in the day when no businesses (other than hospitals and the obvious) were open, people had no place to go in a hurry. There are 168 hours in a week, and we barely could give the Lord 1 of those hours on a Sunday. Some priests need to slow down and PRAY the Mass, not just say the Mass, or go through the motions sort of speak.

  10. avatar Nerina says:

    Add me to the growing list of people who have seen this practice on a number of occasions. And the priest is perfectly healthy. I think some might do this out of a misguided sense of wanting to “include” the EMHCs.

  11. avatar peacebewithyou says:

    @Eliza10: I do speak from my own personal experience of the presider of the Mass not distributing communion because of health issues that are not easily discern by the public. I would caution anyone from making any snap judgments on the state of health of someone. Again I speak from my own personal experience. Take it from someone who has lived with a chronic disease for over forty years with pain and fatigue. Many a person has questioned whether I am disabled because often I do look healthy on the good days.

  12. avatar JLo says:

    As for me, besides the disobedience to rubrics, I also regret that the distribution of the Holy Eucharist is so quickly done… I no longer can commune with Christ within me during that time for more than a couple of minutes! Then the priest is already up and starting the closing! We used to be able to pray in the silence of that beautiful time, but now it is sooooo short and the music is soooo loud. Why is everyone so afraid of silence?! +JMJ

  13. avatar annonymouse says:

    Does DoR have any instituted acolytes other than those who are on the way to diaconate ordination? It is my understanding that the rite of acolyte is really only utilized in DoR as the last step before ordination, and that it’s not a “destination” role.

  14. avatar Scott W, says:

    A huge problem in the other DOR (Richmond). Our older but healthy (he runs in marathons, or 5k’s at least) doesn’t sit down, but he does employ 10+ EMHC’s. It got worse when several were recently stationed at the back of the church and the rearward parishoners were directed to the back. Like bad music, the army of EMHC’s is one of those intractable problems that only a Trent-like smackdown could fix.

  15. avatar Jim R says:

    peacebewithyou that is why you really need to be angry with those priests who are able-bodied and sit – they cause people to believe even those with some hidden disability are shirking – or worse. If this were a rare problem, I know the congregation and the posters on this site would give the priest the benefit of the doubt. Now, however, because of the abusive arrogance of too many priests, the reaction is to believe that a priest who sits is lazy, or has an improper disposition or even an agenda that has been reprobated by the Holy See.

    The problem here is not those on this site who distrust the priest on the altar – it is all the priests who in the hubris have led people to distrust all priests who engage in this, and other, acts.

  16. avatar Eliza10 says:

    Thanks, Jim – You really said it well!


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