John Lilburne's journal about an apparent contradiction of instructions about whether Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion can consume remaining consecrated wine at Mass. n


About John Lilburne



1237 K Sat 20 April 2002

The Liturgy department of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have added another new page, listed on the right.

Unfortunately there is conflicting information on whether Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion can consume what remains of the consecrated wine, the Precious Blood.

On 22 March 2002 there is approval of the USA Norms by Cardinal Medina Estevez "All things to the contrary notwithstanding." The text includes:

52. When more of the Precious Blood remains than was necessary for Communion, and if not consumed by the bishop or priest celebrant, "the deacon immediately and reverently consumes at the altar all of the Blood of Christ which remains; he may be assisted, if needs dictate, by other deacons and priests." (Footnote 55: GIRM, no. 182.) When there are extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, they may consume what remains of the Precious Blood from their chalice of distribution with permission of the diocesan bishop.

But in the USCCB BCL Newsletter of March/April we are told:

With respect to the second request, Cardinal Medina, Prefect of CDWDS, noted that neither an indult nor even the permission of the diocesan bishop is required for extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion to help the priest celebrant to consume what may remain of the Precious Blood after the distribution of Holy Communion. "Rather," he wrote, "given the grave and overriding need to safeguard the Precious Blood, ministers of Holy Communion or other communicants may consume what remains of the Precious Blood in a dignified and reverent manner."

Does it need the diocesan bishop's approval or not? We are not given the full text of the letter. But at least as presented, the instructions from Cardinal Medina Estevez seem contradictory.

I think it highlights the difficulties that arise from having new legislation, the Norms, on top of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Perhaps things will be simplier in Australia without such Norms.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 20 April 2002.


Other Sites:

Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion under Both Kinds in the Dioceses of the United States of America, - full text

USCCB BCL Newsletter of March/April 2002