Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: Eucharist Minister
Eucharist Minister QUESTION from Christine Cush October 6, 2001
My niece was just commissioned as a Eucharistic Minister. My sister said that she was ordained. She said that's what they told her. Am I wrong in believing that only priests and deacons may be ordained or are they misusing this title? Or perhaps they are validly using this term outside of Holy Orders?
Thank you for your response.
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on October 1, 2001
Dear Mrs. Cush,
You are correct. Only candidates to become bishops, priests, and deacons are ordained. They receive Holy ORDERS. Whoever told your niece that she is being ordained is not using the term correctly. They are also using the term Eucharistic Minister incorrectly. Only ordained clergy are Eucharistic Ministers. Your niece is an EXTRAordinary Eucharistic Minister.
Taking it a step further, women may not be formally INSTALLED to the ministry of acolyte (or Lector) by the bishop. They may only be used if there is a serious need, and no ordained/acolytes/installed ministers are available.
SO, I see that one of two things is happening. First, there is a innocent misunderstanding or miscommunication. Not too serious of a problem, but whatever the source is, needs to be corrected, so that the misunderstanding does not spread.
Second, whoever told your niece this has a serious misunderstand of what Holy Orders are, or worse yet, he rejects what the church teaches about Holy Orders and is attempting to assert that candidates for the priesthood may be women. (I presume this because your niece is a woman) The person (whoever it is) is attempting to ease the idea of female clergy slowly by saying women are okay for ordination to the ministry of extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. Once the congregation is comfortable with this, he is likely to move on to greater ideas. He must be stopped before he causes great damage. He has a serious problem with church teaching, so I question his spirituality. I doubt that he could effectively do his ministry, so the pastor needs to replace him immediately. If it IS the pastor who is saying these things, well, I don't know what you should do except contact the local bishop.
Or, as stated above, this may be an innocent misunderstanding. I sure hope it is.
Thank you for writing.
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