Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: Receiving Communion

Receiving Communion QUESTION from Shirley O'Connor May 11, 2001
I would like to know if I have a right to receive Jesus from the Priest if I so choose as opposed to a Eucharistic Minister.
I realize that it is the same Jesus, however I just seem to feel better about receiving from the Priest if one is available. (Could this be the sin of pride on my part?)
I would never embarrass anyone by leaving one Communion line to go to another, however, I feel that since the Priest is the only one who can perform the consecration, then he should be the oneto distribute Holy Eucharist.
I'm not trying to offend anyone nor am I trying to say that the role of the laity is not an important one. I guess what I am really asking is what are my rights as a Catholic and where can I find the documentation to back it up
Thank you for your time and may God richly bless you for all that you do.
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on May 18, 2001
Dear Mrs. O'Connor,
We need to begin with a point of clarification about a commonly misunderstood issue: Only priests, deacons, and bishops are Eucharistic Ministers: all others are Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers. In parishes this distinction is commonly overlooked, sometimes intentionally by those pushing an agenda.
In terms of your question about a right to receive from the Priest, when the church mentions Extraordinary Ministers in Her liturgical books, She never mentions a right that the lay faithful have to receive the Blessed Sacrament from a priest. I think that the reason is for the same reason that we have extraordinary ministers in the first place: because sometimes it is impossible for EVERYONE to receive from the priest.
With this having been said, we must remember that the PRIEST has a DUTY to distribute Holy Communion, and extraordinary ministers are used only in cases of necessity. Because you, me, and all the faithful have a RIGHT for properly celebrated Liturgy, the ORDINARY ministers of communion (bishop, priest, and deacon) must make themselves available to help with communion whenever they attend Mass. Sometimes able-bodied, healthy priests will sit back and let an army of lay ministers distribute Communion. This is a SERIOUS abuse with a hidden agenda.
I understand when you say that you feel better about receiving from a priest, for I much feel the same way. However I normally will not switch lines, because I understand that the graces are same no matter from whom He comes. I don't think it should be too big of a problem if you were to switch lines quietly, as long as you are CLEAR with the fact that it doesn't make any difference. You must not be a distraction. Please, do not get upset up about this, either. The church gave us extraordinary ministers, so we are to use them, if they are needed.
Thank you for your question.
Mr. Slavek
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