A recent experience finally pushed me over the edge. Has anyone really read, pencil in hand, Redemptionis Sacramentum, the 2004 Instruction of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments? The wanton proliferation of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion in circumstances that do not meet the criteria established by the Holy See is a pastoral problem with grave theological implications. Liturgical practice has a direct bearing on one’s understanding of the faith. A few observations based on the text of the Instruction:
[154.] As has already been recalled, “the only minister who can confect the Sacrament of the Eucharist in persona Christi is a validly ordained Priest”. Hence the name “minister of the Eucharist” belongs properly to the Priest alone. Moreover, also by reason of their sacred Ordination, the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are the Bishop, the Priest and the Deacon, to whom it belongs therefore to administer Holy Communion to the lay members of Christ’s faithful during the celebration of Mass.
[156.] This function is to be understood strictly according to the name by which it