'A eucharistic minister distributes Communion during Mass - Last August, as Catholics prepared to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Vatican II, Pope Benedict XVI said all Church members need to make a renewed effort to ensure laypeople are aware of their responsibility for the Church and are allowed to exercise it.' (sic)
I've written a letter to the Editor about the accompanying Loftus article, which is the usual confection of half-truths designed to lead readers to a conclusion at right-angles to the law and teaching of the Church. We'll see if they print it.
But the caption, I assume, is the responsibility of the editors. In a one-man show like the Catholic Times, editor Kevin Flaherty must have seen and approved it, if not had personal responsibility for its grammar. What on earth was he thinking?
What is a 'eucharistic minister'? Flaherty cannot fail to be aware that this term is a grossly misleading expression, with no basis in the documents of the Church. The minister of the Eucharist is the priest. End of story. If you want to know about 'Extraordinary' Ministers (of Holy Communion: EMHC), then we come into the realm of exceptional circumstances.
Thus Redemptionis Sacramentum (151):
Only out of true necessity is there to be recourse to the assistance of extraordinary ministers in the celebration of the Liturgy. Such recourse is not intended for the sake of a fuller participation of the laity but rather, by its very nature, is supplementary and provisional.
Now isn't this weird? Loftus is doing the old schtick of suggesting that the Traditional Mass is only intended for a tiny minority of eccentrics who grew up before the Council. (Er, like him.) So the 'extraordinary' bit of 'Extraordinary Form' is a bit of boon for him, at least superficially. But then Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion really are 'extraordinary', in the sense of exceptional, and the Catholic Times fails to see the irony in trying to finesse this away.
And what's this about being 'allowed' to exercise this responsibility? Is that a jibe aimed at the poor fools who want to celebrations of the Ordinary Form to follow some semblance of liturgical law, and try to put some limit on the unnecessary use of EMHCs? So the Holy Father is taken to be condemning those who follow, and want others to follow, the law of the Church?
Well, what exactly does the Holy Father think about liturgical abuses? This about sums it up.
...in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear. I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.
Another passage from Redeptionis Sacramentum is also worth quoting:
For abuses “contribute to the obscuring of the Catholic faith and doctrine concerning this wonderful sacrament”. Thus, they also hinder the faithful from “re-living in a certain way the experience of the two disciples of Emmaus: ‘and their eyes were opened, and they recognized him’”.
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