The Liberal Agenda
Blogged by James Preece on 15th September 2008
NOTICE: I am married to an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. I know that the following is not reflective of the vast majority of extraordinary ministers. This blog entry should definitely not be interpreted as 'extraordinary ministers = bad'. No. This blog entry is about disturbing widespread abuse of Church teaching on extraordinary ministers.
I wrote today about an 'Inspirational Study Day' that Ella went on, the leaflet for which I reproduce below:
"Ministers of Holy Communion"
Let me be blunt. The only ministers of Holy Communion are priests. Laypeople can be extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion but only in extraordinary circumstances.
The canonical discipline concerning extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion must be correctly applied so as to avoid generating confusion. The same discipline establishes that the ordinary minister of Holy Communion is the Bishop, the Priest and the the Deacon.
"when necessity and expediency in the Church require it, the Pastors, according to established norms from universal law, can entrust to the lay faithful certain offices and roles that are connected to their pastoral ministry but do not require the character of Orders"
With regard to these last mentioned areas or functions, the non-ordained faithful do not enjoy a right to such tasks and functions. Rather, they are "capable of being admitted by the sacred Pastors... to those functions which, in accordance with the provisions of law, they can discharge" (50) or where "ministers are not available... they can supply certain of their functions... in accordance with the provisions of law"
Translation: Priests are allowed to ask lay people to take on tasks that belong to the priest. Lay people don't have the right to these tasks, but they are capable of doing them if asked.
Let me use an analogy guaranteed to offend. This is a bit like when a teacher asks one of the kids to take a message down to the school office. The teacher is asking a non-teacher to take on a task that belongs to a teacher because the teacher recognises that the kid has the capability of doing this task. The teacher is not appointing the child any kind of permanent position. The kid has an extraordinary role, a special responsibility granted for a special reason or occasion.
This is the sort of context under which we should understand the use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. They are lay people who have been given "supplementary and extraordinary" permission to take on a role ordinarily reserved for priests.
Unfortunately, liberal clergy have completely misrepresented the Church's position on this. The way they present the Church's teaching is like this: They are like a teacher who says to a child "previously you were not allowed to go in the corridor on your own during lessons, now you are allowed!" This is a gross misrepresentation. They say things like "lay people were not allowed to distribute communion and now you are".
Like all the best lies, it has a grain of truth. Yes, lay people were not allowed to distribute communion. Yes, lay people are now able to distribute communion. These things are true. But the implication is that a power has been granted.
Instead of having the attitude of a child who has been given extraordinary permission to be out of class during lesson times. Lay people are being taught that some aspect of the priesthood has been made open to them. More specifically, has been made open to women and married men.
This is the long term agenda. Slice by slice, bit by bit, take things that are unique to the priesthood and find ways for laypeople to do them. Usually, a situation is found where the Church allows something in extraordinary situations and then, as the Church herself put's it... utilise "the abuse of multiplying "exceptional" cases (cf general absolution).
Next on the list is the so called 'eucharistic prayer service'. In very special serious exceptional circumstances when it cannot possibly be avoided the Church says that laypeople can lead prayer and distribute communion. To the untrained eye (and there are a lot of untrained eyes) this looks a lot like mass. Readings, Blah Blah Blah, Amen, Our Father, Blah Blah, Queue for Communion. What's the difference? The difference, is that women and unmarried men and women can do it. Did I mention that women can do it?
That's the goal. A church with no priests. Just lay people praying, singing and sharing bread and wine. Priest shortage solved. Feminists satisfied. Everybody happy.
Oh sure, somebody will need to consecrate the hosts, but some theologian somewhere just needs to hint that maybe some kind of 'baptism of desire' type situation is even conceivable and Ta-Da! We're there.
Think I'm exaggerating? I've already had somebody from a certain parish (think 'Robin Hood') brag to me that their parish is so developed that they don't need a priest to cover when their priest is away. They just have a 'eucharistic service'. They've had several already.
Now read this (Again, from 'On Certain Questions on Collaboration of the Non-Ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of Priest'):
1. In some places in the absence of priests or deacons,(90) non-ordained members of the faithful lead Sunday celebrations. In many instances, much good derives for the local community from this useful and delicate service when it is discharged in accordance with the spirit and the specific norms issued by the competent ecclesiastical authority.(91) A special mandate of the Bishop is necessary for the non-ordained members of the faithful to lead such celebrations. This mandate should contain specific instructions with regard to the term of applicability, the place and conditions in which it is operative, as well as indicate the priest responsible for overseeing these celebrations.
2. It must be clearly understood that such celebrations are temporary solutions and the text used at them must be approved by the competent ecclesiastical authority.(92) The practice of inserting into such celebrations elements proper to the Holy Mass is prohibited. So as to avoid causing error in the minds of the faithful,(93) the use of the eucharistic prayers, even in narrative form, at such celebrations is forbidden. For the same reasons, it should be emphasised for the benefit of those participating, that such celebrations cannot substitute for the eucharistic Sacrifice and that the obligation to attend mass on Sunday and Holy days of obligation is satisfied only by attendance at Holy Mass.(94) In cases where distance or physical conditions are not an obstacle, every effort should be made to encourage and assist the faithful to fulfil this precept.
I wonder if Bishop Drainey recalls giving a special mandate for non-ordained members of the faithful to lead such celebrations. I wonder if anybody has approved any texts.
I know what my guess is, and it's not confined to that particular parish either. Lay people are being groomed at a diocesan level. Training days for Ministers of Communion have been little more than preparation for the phasing out of priests.
Phase out the priests and you phase out Christ.
Fortunately, I think Bishop Drainey might just have the balls to turn this thing around. I certainly hope so, because nobody else is going to do it.