Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pinoy EMHC asks: "Can I self communicate?"

From Zenit answered by Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university. Fr. McNamara is beginning to be one of my favorite liturgists, along with Fr. Z, of course.  Frs. AC and GD are OUT OF THE QUESTION!


Related to our comments on the laity taking the host directly (Jan. 12), a lay extraordinary minister of Holy Communion from Manila, Philippines, presented a particular case:

"Each weekend I distribute Communion among the sick in our parish. Occasionally, because of the absence of some of the sick, I end my rounds with an unconsumed, consecrated host or two. I am told that it is all right to consume the hosts myself. However, I want to know if self-communion is really allowed as a practice. At the moment, the only option is to make the long way back to return the hosts to the church."

The rite for distributing the Eucharist to the sick in this kind of case does not foresee the extraordinary minister receiving Communion; nor does it foresee that hosts might be left over. An exception occurs when Communion to the sick is made under the species of wine; [they do that?! why do that?!] in that case, the minister always consumes the extra species after administering the sacrament.

The rite for Communion outside of Mass by an extraordinary minister, however, does make allowances for the minister to take Communion and for reservation in the tabernacle.

The reason for this difference is that the rite supposes that in the first case the minister to the sick has had ample opportunity to receive Communion from a sacred minister, whereas the second circumstance normally presupposes the absence of an ordained minister. It would be paradoxical in the latter situation that the only person inhibited from receiving the host would be the minister who is giving out Communion.

The fact that the second rite permits the "self-communion" [which happens with communion in the hand if you ask me.] of the extraordinary minister proves that its absence in the rite for the sick is based on practical and not theological grounds. There are probably some circumstances in which the extraordinary minister to the sick could receive Communion if it were the only opportunity to do so on a given weekday.

It must also be remembered, however, that one may receive Communion twice in a day only if the second time is at Mass. Viaticum is an exception to this rule (see canons 917 and 921.2 of the Code of Canon Law).

Therefore, I do not think that the minister consuming the extra hosts is the most apt solution. [I think self-communion is out of the question!  Only a priest who offered the Mass himself can do this.  Even the pope, who attends Mass in choir, received the Lord from the hands of the officiating priest.  He does not self-communicate, nor should we.  In the TLM, since there are no concelebration, except during ordination Masses, priests attending receive the Lord from the officiating priest even if the priest in choir will assist in the distribution of Holy Communion.]

I would suggest that the easiest and most practical solution to having one or two extra hosts is to administer two hosts to the last communicants. This may be done to the sick if they are able, or to one of those attending the sick. Receiving more than one host at the same time, or receiving half a host, in no way increases or diminishes the grace received and constitutes a single act of communion. [Amen!  Christ's Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity is in the host no matter the size and number.]

A reader from Ireland asked: "In our parish it is the practice that the ministers of Communion self-administer the chalice from the altar and the last minister brings the chalice to a side table for the members of the public who are celiac to self-administer the blood of Christ. Can you advise if this practice is acceptable?"

The short answer is no. [Hah!  Our modernist parish priest loves to do this.  Even some EMHCs would take away the chalice even if the priest (the other one) has not fully consumed the Precious Blood, probably the priest intends to consume It fully after he distributes Holy Communion.] Everybody except the priest should receive the Eucharist from a minister. Even the deacon should receive the host and the chalice from the priest, after the priest has made his communion.

In the case of those who are celiac, the minister should go to a suitable place and present the chalice to them one by one, saying, "The blood of Christ." They may then take the chalice and reverently consume the species as this is not a case of self-communion but the most practical means of avoiding any loss of the Precious Blood. An acolyte with a Communion plate should be present, and the minister should have a purificator available in order to wipe the chalice rim.

1 comment:

  1. They do give the Sacrament under the appearance of wine to people who can't take in solids. I have known a man who had gastric surgery and can't take solid food. The deacon who visited the sick gave him the Precious Blood