overuse of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
At my parish, I continue to observe two priests and one Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (EMHC) distributing Holy Communion at weekday Mass. Given the size of the congregation(which can barely fill ten pews) it is obvious that this is in direct contravention of Redemptionis Sacramentum, paragraph 157:
If there is usually present a sufficient number of sacred ministers for the distribution of Holy Communion, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may not be appointed. Indeed, in such circumstances, those who may have already been appointed to this ministry should not exercise it.I do not see the difficulty in telling EMHCs to turn up for Mass on "standby", with the simple instruction that if there are two priests, don't come forward and distribute Holy Communion. I believe this is something that is quite acceptable to many, once you explain that priests are the Ordinary ministers of Holy Communion, as they alone can consecrate the bread and wine.
I was told that this is something that has to be implemented slowly. I am not convinced that this is is the case - after all it takes merely a simple instruction, as I have argued above. If the EMHC forgets, let the priest tell him to go away. If it is a problem for the EMHC to turn up for Mass only to find himself not needed, well - perhaps then some evaluation of priorities should be in order.
I think I am running out of patience - I came across an old copy of the Catholic News, dated July 2004 where a letter writer mentions this particular abuse. It seems that no one takes notice of these things. Perhaps, to many, liturgical abuses are not an important matter as compared to eg. singing hymns in a language you understand. Nobody protests when Holy Communion is distributed irreverently, they protest when parts of the Mass are sung in Latin. We have got our priorities wrong.