Never become an extraordinary minister?

Blogged by James Preece on 8th April 2011

I've been meaning to share this for a while now, this is by aelianus over at Laodicea...

I was in Westminster Cathedral the other day and I beheld a most edifying sight, something I have experienced in a number of places over the years. It was a well attended lunchtime weekday Mass, the congregation numbering several hundreds. When it came to communion the priest approached the congregation with three extraordinary ministers of holy communion. After a few dozen people had gone up to receive from the extraordinary ministers the rest of the several hundred laity resolutely refused to budge from the Priest’s communion queue and the extraordinary ministers were forced to stand there pointlessly for quite some time. I felt sorry for the EMs who are usually pious members of the laity keen to assist in their parish. But the fact is that the use of extraordinary ministers is an abuse.


Rarely are they instituted by the Bishop, never out of genuine necessity, their use is universally habitual not exceptional and certainly not unforeseen. Most absurdly of all they are mostly used to administer the chalice which is never necessary by definition because administration under one kind is an ordinary method of administration so it is never necessary to take extraordinary measures to avoid it.


The incident at Westminster Cathedral (and the growing number of similar occurrences) is edifying because it shows the sense of the faithful recovering from years of clericalist modernist bullying. More and more, faithful Catholics are instinctively uncomfortable with this practice and they instinctively avoid participating in it. There are a number of other practices which if the laity simply adopted or avoided would help to turn the tide.

1. Never become an extraordinary minister
2. Never receive communion from an extraordinary minister
3. Always either receive kneeling or genuflect just before receiving
4. Never receive under both kinds
5. Never read unless you are a vested server
6. Never serve if you are a woman
7. Never cleanse the vessels unless you are Deacon
8. Never touch the Eucharist or the Sacred Vessels with your hands
9. Always genuflect when passing in front of the Tabernacle
10. Always double genuflect in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament

Having been an extraordinary minister (years ago when I was unaware of the dodgy status of this practice) and having worked as a sacristan for some time (and spoken to many others) I can tell you the Blessed Sacrament is almost always desecrated when communion is administered under both kinds. Very few priests or sacristans purify the linens and the vessels properly or immediately and they are very very sensitive about it because they have often been acting wrongly their entire priestly lives and they don’t want to hear about it.