The Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion The non-ordained faithful already collaborate with the sacred ministers in diverse pastoral situations since "This wonderful gift of the Eucharist, which is the greatest gift of all, demands that such an important mystery should be increasingly better known and its saving power more fully shared".(95) Such liturgical service is a response to the objective needs of the faithful especially those of the sick and to those liturgical assemblies in which there are particularly large numbers of the faithful who wish to receive Holy Communion. § 1. The canonical discipline concerning extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion must be correctly applied so as to avoid generating confusion. The same discipline establishes that the ordinary minister of Holy Communion is the Bishop, the Priest and the the Deacon.(96) Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are those instituted as acolytes and the faithful so deputed in accordance with Canon 230, § 3.(97) A non-ordained member of the faithful, in cases of true necessity, may be deputed by the diocesan bishop, using the appropriate form of blessing for these situation, to act as an extraordinary minister to distribute Holy Communion outside of liturgical celebrations ad actum vel ad tempus or for a more stable period. In exceptional cases or in un foreseen circumstances, the priest presiding at the liturgy may authorize such ad actum.(98) § 2. Extraordinary ministers may distribute Holy Communion at eucharistic celebrations only when there are no ordained ministers present or when those ordained ministers present at a liturgical celebration are truly unable to distribute Holy Communion.(99) They may also exercise this function at eucharistic celebrations where there are particularly large numbers of the faithful and which would be excessively prolonged because of an insufficient number of ordained ministers to distribute Holy Communion. (100) This function is supplementary and extraordinary (101) and must be exercised in accordance with the norm of law. It is thus useful for the diocesan bishop to issue particular norms concerning extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion which, in complete harmony with the universal law of the Church, should regulate the exercise of this function in his diocese. Such norms should provide, amongst other things, for matters such as the instruction in eucharistic doctrine of those chosen to be extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, the meaning of the service they provide, the rubrics to be observed, the reverence to be shown for such an august Sacrament and instruction concerning the discipline on admission to Holy Communion. To avoid creating confusion, certain practices are to be avoided and eliminated where such have emerged in particular Churches: — extraordinary ministers receiving Holy Communion apart from the other faithful as though concelebrants; — association with the renewal of promises made by priests at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, as well as other categories of faithful who renew religious vows or receive a mandate as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion; — the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass thus arbitrarily extending the concept of "a great number of the faithful".
All particular laws, customs and faculties conceded by the Holy See ad experimentum or other ecclesiastical authorities which are contrary to the foregoing norms are hereby revoked. The Supreme Pontiff, in Audience of the 13th of August 1997 approved in forma specifica this present Instruction and ordered its promulgation. Vatican City 15 August 1997, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Congregation for the Clergy Darío Castrillón Hoyos Pro-Prefect Crescenzio Sepe Secretary Pontifical Council for the Laity James Francis Stafford President Stanislaw Rylko Secretary Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Joseph Card. Ratzinger Prefect Tarcisio Bertone SDB Secretary Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments Jorge Arturo Medina Estévez Pro-Prefect Geraldo Majella Agnelo Secretary Congregation for Bishops Bernardin Card. Gantin Prefect Jorge María Mejía Secretary Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples Jozef Card. Tomko Prefect Giuseppe Uhac Secretary Congregation for Institutes of Consecretated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life Eduardo Card. Martínez Somalo Prefect Piergiorgio Silvano Nesti CP Secretary Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts Julián Herranz President Bruno Bertagna Secretary (Here are the notes for those that want them and the full document is here)
(95) Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments, Premiss of the Instruction Immensae caritatis (29 January 1973), AAS 65 (1973), p. 264. (96) Cf. C.I.C., can. 910, § 1; cf. John Paul II, Letter Dominicae coenae (24 February 1980), n. 11; AAS 72 (1980), p. 142. (97) Cf. C.I.C., can. 910, § 2. (98) Cf. Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction Immensae caritatis (29 January 1973), AAS 65 (1973), p. 264, n. 1; Missale Romanum, Appendix: Ritus ad deputandum ministrum S. Communionis ad actum distribuendae; Pontificale Romanum, De institutione lectorum et acolythorum. (99) Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of The Code of Canon Law, Response (1 June 1998), AAS 80 (1988), p. 1373. (100) Cf. Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction Immensae caritatis (29 January 1973), n. 1; AAS 65 (1973), p. 264; Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship, Instruction Inestimabile donum (3 April 1980), n. 10: AAS 72 (1980), p. 336. (101) Can. 230, § 2 and § 3 C.I.C., affirms that the liturgical services can be assigned to non-ordained faithful only "ex temporanea deputatione" or for supply.