The Minister of the Holy Eucharist

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Who can celebrate the sacrament of the Eucharist? A validly ordained priest/bishop alone can celebrate the Eucharist. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke we have already seen that Jesus entrusts to the 12 the worship of the New Covenant. In so far as anyone other than an apostle has authority over the churches, it was done by an apostolic delegate. In the history of the Church we have some people at some time questioned this practice of the Church.  The Waldenses who rejected the hierarchy and claimed that all faithful can consecrate. The reformers rejected the Sacrament of Order, some of the Catholic theologians are of the opinion that in the early Church the community leader performed the Eucharist along with the community there was no question of any valid ordination in the early Church according to some critics.

The Catholic Church teaches: The 4th Lateran Council declared in 1215 “no one can perform this sacrament, except the priest duly ordained…” Christian Faith 21. St. Thomas Aquinas only minister is the ordained priest cf. Tour of Summa p.388.  COT defined the institution of a special (ministerial) priesthood, to which the power of consecration is reserved solely cf. Christian Faith 1714. Pius X, Decree Lamentabili cf. Christian Faith 1729; Mediator Dei (Christian Faith 1734) LG 10, 28; Speak about the necessity of ordained ministers; Canon 900 “The only minister …….is a validly ordained priest”. The subsequent canons speak of the obligation of Minister of the Eucharist. Canon 910 speaks about the ministers who can administer the Eucharist (different from celebration) to avoid all confusion today they are called ministers of Holy Communion; as “the name ‘minister of the Eucharist’ belongs properly to the Priest alone” (RS 154). CCC 1348 “It is in representing him that the bishop or priest acting in persona Christi……preside over the assembly and says the Eucharistic Prayer”. See also “On the Mystery and Worship of the Eucharist”.. 2, par.3. “The Church teaches that priestly ordination is the indispensable condition for the valid celebration of the Eucharist. Indeed, ‘in the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, High Priest of the redemptive sacrifice’.” (Sacramentum Caritatis,23 cf. also EE 29).

Requirements: State of grace; proper intention; an hour of fasting before communion; being faithful to the liturgy; saying only one mass (exceptions permitted); taking only one mass stipend for himself; (not mixing many intentions for himself; not trading with mass intentions); saying mass at least on Sundays and days of obligation; Can offer mass for the unbelievers and for the excommunicated…but one should follow the diocesan rule with regard to this.

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