Pope John Paul II Appoints New Prefect to CDWDS
On October 1, 2002, Pope John Paul II accepted the resignation of Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estévez as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and announced the appointment of Cardinal Francis Arinze as the new Prefect.
Formerly president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Cardinal Arinze was born on 1 November 1932 in Eziowelle, a city of the Archdiocese of Onitsha, Nigeria. Ordained a Bishop in 1965 he was appointed to the titular church of Fissiana and named coadjutor to the Archbishop of Onitsha. In 1979 he was elected president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, which post he filled until 1984, when John Paul II asked him to head as pro-president the Secretariat for Non-Christians (now the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue). Created and proclaimed Cardinal by John Paul II in the consistory of 25 May 1985, Cardinal Arinze also served as a member of the Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith, Oriental Churches, Causes of Saints, and Evangelization of Peoples.
In a letter congratulating the new Prefect, Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, USCCB President, observed that in the dioceses of the United States of America, "the liturgical reform has truly been for us ‘the most visible fruit of the whole work of the Council.' (Vicesimus Quintus Annus, number 12) The vitality of the Church in the dioceses of the United States presents us with manifold opportunities for implementing the vision first articulated by the Council Fathers almost forty years ago in the Conciliar Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium. I look forward to the many opportunities we will have to benefit from Your Eminence's wisdom and assistance as together we seek to bring that vision to fulfillment."
Pope John Paul II on the Collaboration of Lay Persons and Priests
On September 21, 2002, The Holy Father addressed a group of Bishops from Brazil in the course of their visit ad limina apostolorum to the Holy See. An excerpt from his comments are provided here for the information of our readers.
The Church is born of the Father (Lumen gentium, no. 2) from the "utterly free and mysterious decree of his own wisdom and goodness" to save all people through his Son and in the Holy Spirit; "De unitate Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti plebs adunata" ("a people made one with the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit"), the Bishop and Martyr, St Cyprian says, describing the Church (De Orat. dom. 23; PL 4, 553). In founding his Church, Christ does not make her a simple institution that would be juridically self-sustaining, into which human beings would be inserted to obtain salvation. She is far more than all this. The Father has called men and women to build a people of sons in the Son, in Christ, through the immolated flesh of his Son made man: in other words, so that they might become the Body of Christ.
The Council opened itself to a positive vision of the specific character of the laity: its special feature is to "seek the Kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God" (Lumen gentium, no. 31). All those who live in the world and from it draw the raw material of their sanctification, seek to transform human realities in order to foster the common good of the family, of society and of politics, but, above all, to elevate them to God glorifying the Creator and living in a Christian way in the world...
The Church has the goal of continuing in the world Christ's saving mission. In the course of history, she is dedicated to fulfilling this mandate with the light of the Holy Spirit through the action of her members, within the limits of the proper function that each one exercises within the Mystical Body of Christ.
4. Among the objectives of the liturgical reform established by the Second Vatican Council, there was the need to bring all the faithful to "that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people' (I Pt 2,9), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism" (Sacrosanctum concilium [SC], no. 14).
In practice, however, in the years following the Council, with the goal of realizing this mandate, what took place was an arbitrary "confusion of roles especially regarding the priestly ministry and the role of the laity indiscriminate, shared recitation of the Eucharistic Prayer, homilies given by lay people, lay people distributing communion while the priests refrain from doing so" (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Inaestimabile Donum, Instruction Concerning Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery, Foreword). These serious practical abuses have often originated in doctrinal errors, especially with regard to the nature of the liturgy, the common priesthood of Christians, of the vocation and mission of the laity and the ordained ministry of priests.
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate, as you know, the Council held that the liturgy is "an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ," which involves "the sanctification of man ... manifested by signs perceptible to the senses, and is effected in a way which is proper to each of these signs; in the liturgy full public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and His members" (SC, no. 7).
Redemption is fully accomplished by Christ. Indeed, in this great work in which God is perfectly glorified and men are sanctified, Christ always associates the Church, his beloved Bride with himself (SC, no. 7). Through the liturgy, the Lord "continues the work of our redemption in, with and through his Church" (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], no. 1069). The liturgy is the action of the whole Mystical Body of Christ, Head and members (CCC, n. 1070). It is the action of all the faithful, because they all participate in the priesthood of Christ (cf. CCC, nos. 1141 and 1273). However, all do not have the same function, because all do not participate in the same way in the priesthood of Christ. Through Baptism, all the faithful share in the priesthood of Christ; this is what has been called the "common priesthood of the faithful." In addition to this priesthood and to serve it, there is another form of participation in Christ's mission: the ministry conferred with the Sacrament of Orders (CCC, no. 1591), or the "ministerial Priesthood." "The common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless related to each other. Each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ. The ministerial priest, by the sacred power he enjoys, molds and rules the priestly people. Acting in the person of Christ, he brings about the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and offers it to God in the name of all the people. For their part, the faithful join in the offering of the Eucharist by virtue of their royal priesthood. They likewise exercise that priesthood by receiving the sacraments, by prayer and thanksgiving, by the witness of a holy life, and by self-denial and active charity" (Lumen gentium, no. 10).
5. To prescind from this essential difference and mutual relationship of the ministerial priesthood and the common priesthood of the faithful to each other has had immediate repercussions on liturgical celebrations that are the actions of the organically structured Church.
I wanted to recall these declarations of the Magisterium of the Church, certain that, although you know them yourselves, you will once more explain them clearly, so that lay people may avoid exercising in the liturgy the functions that belong exclusively to the ministerial priest since he alone acts specifically in persona Christi capitis ("in the person of Christ the head").
I have already had occasion to refer to the confusion and the idea of an equivalence between the common priesthood and the ministerial priesthood. I have also mentioned the scarce observance of certain ecclesiastical norms and laws, the arbitrary interpretation of the concept of "supply," to the tendency toward the "clericalization" of the lay faithful etc., pointing out that "it is also necessary that Pastors guard against a facile yet abusive recourse to a presumed ‘situation of emergency' or to ‘supply by necessity' where objectively this does not exist or where alternative possibilities could exist through better pastoral planning" (Christifideles laici, no. 23).
Ten Questions on Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
- Are Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion really necessary at Mass?
- Who appoints Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and who regulates their ministry?
- Why may only a priest or deacon distribute the Precious Blood into other chalices during the Agnus Dei?
- We have no deacon at our parish. If Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion can't help with the distribution to ancillary chalices, won't this unduly lengthen this part of the Mass?
- Because we have no deacon or concelebrating priests present, we must use eight extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. How can they receive Holy Communion in a reasonable amount of time?
- How is the consecrated bread distributed to the faithful?
- How is the Precious Blood distributed to the faithful?
- What does a minister do if the Blessed Sacrament is dropped or spilled during the distribution of Holy Communion?
- May Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion assist with the purification of the sacred vessels?
- May Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion assist with the consumption of what remains of the Precious Blood after the distribution of Holy Communion?
While extraordinary ministers may never distribute Holy Communion in the place of priests and deacons, their ministry is often needed to facilitate the distribution of Holy Communion "when the size of the congregation or the incapacity of the bishop, priest, or deacon requires it." (Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion under Both Kinds [Norms], no. 28) All should be grateful for the exemplary ministry provided by so many Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion throughout the dioceses of the United States of America.
While individual priests may depute persons of good Christian reputation to serve as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion on an ad hoc basis (General Instruction of the Roman Missal [GIRM], no. 162), it is the diocesan Bishop who is responsible for this ministry. The Bishop may issue norms pertaining to the selection, preparation and fulfillment of this liturgical role (Norms, no. 28).
In a March 22, 2002 letter (Prot. 1383/01/L) to Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, USCCB President, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez noted that the duties of an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion are, by nature, limited to assisting ordained ministers and then only when a clear need to do so presents itself. "Any extrapolation from that provision in the direction of other responsibilities that they may fulfill as a consequence of that extraordinary deputation may indicate that the extraordinary nature of their deputation is in danger of being obscured. No such deduction or extrapolation of additional responsibilities is legitimate for an essentially extraordinary provision. It is for this reason that the Holy See has ascertained the need at the present moment to reassert such a distinction both by making certain clarifications in the general liturgical norms of the Roman Rite, and by refraining from the approval of new legislation that would extend the competence of extraordinary ministers into areas that were not previously encompassed according to the understanding of the legislator."
Presuming as many as eight chalices for distribution to the faithful, practice has shown the filling of these chalices by one person takes less than ten seconds per chalice. During the additional minute and a half added to this rite additional tropes may be added to the singing of the Lamb of God.
The Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion approach the altar as the priest receives Communion. (see Norms, no. 38). When a large number of ministers are needed, the priest may go to the first two ministers and give them the consecrated bread. He may then give them the Precious Blood, after which they may assist him in communicating the rest of the extraordinary ministers. After all the extraordinary ministers have received Communion, the priest celebrant returns to the altar. The ministers without vessels may then approach the priest and he hands each their proper vessel. (see Norms, no. 40) When a deacon is present, he may assist the priest in the actions assigned to him at this time.
"Holy Communion under the form of bread is offered to the communicant with the words The Body of Christ. The communicant may choose whether to receive the Body of Christ in the hand or on the tongue. When receiving in the hand, the communicant should be guided by the words of St. Cyril of Jerusalem: "When you approach, take care not to do so with your hand stretched out and your fingers open or apart, but rather place your left hand as a throne beneath your right, as befits one who is about to receive the King. Then receive him, taking care that nothing is lost." (Norms, no. 41)
"The chalice is offered to the communicant with the words The Blood of Christ, to which the communicant responds, Amen." (Norms, no. 43) After each communicant has received the Blood of Christ, the minister carefully wipes both sides of the rim of the chalice with a purificator. This action is a matter of both reverence and hygiene. For the same reason, the minister turns the chalice slightly after each communicant has received the Precious Blood. (Norms, no. 45)
"Should there be any mishap—as when, for example, the consecrated wine is spilled from the chalice—then the affected area . . . should be washed and the water poured into the sacrarium." (Norms, no. 29)
A decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (March 22, 2002, Prot. 1383/01/L) states that "the diocesan Bishop may grant to priest celebrants the faculty for extraordinary ministers to assist with the purification of sacred vessels after the distribution of Communion at Mass when this is necessary." This indult extends for a period of three years, ad experimentum, and was made effective by a decree signed by Bishop Gregory, dated March 22, 2002. The complete text of this decree may be found on the USCCB website.
Yes, they may consume what remains of the Precious Blood from their chalice of distribution, but always in accord with whatever norms may have been published by the diocesan Bishop. (see Norms, no. 52)
Note on the Solemnity of the
Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 2002
In recent weeks the Secretariat for the Liturgy has received several inquiries concerning the liturgical celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 2002. Since December 8, 2002 occurs on a Sunday in Advent, the USA Liturgical Calendar has transferred it to Monday, December 9th in accord with the Table of Liturgical Days According to their Order of Precedence." In the Dioceses of the United States of America, therefore, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated on December 9, 2002 and is not a holy day of obligation.