Choose a topic from Part 3a:

82. The Minister of the Holy Eucharist

1. The Sacrament of Holy Eucharist is of such dignity thatit is confected only in the Person and by the authority of Christhimself. Hence, a priest is one ordained and appointed to act asChrist's instrument, and to use Christ's own voice andauthority in confecting the Holy Eucharist at Mass. Only a dulyordained priest can consecrate the elements of bread and wine andso confect the sacrament of Holy Eucharist. Only the priest canoffer this sacrament as sacrifice, and he does this when hecelebrates Holy Mass.

2. It is possible for several priests to consecrate oneand the same host. And, at ordination, the newly ordained priestscon-celebrate the Mass with the ordaining bishop. All say the wordsof consecration together, and jointly consecrate the host which isheld in the bishop's hands.

3. Apart from cases of necessity (as, for example, whenthe sacred species is in danger from fire or flood or desecration),no one but the priest should touch the consecrated hosts.Therefore, the priest is not only the minister of consecration(that is, of confecting the sacrament of Holy Eucharist at Mass),but he is also the minister of distributing the Blessed Sacramentto all who receive it in Holy Communion. A deacon may distributeHoly Communion, with pastor's or bishop's permission, whenthere is a reasonable cause for having him do so.

4. The Holy Eucharist is both a sacrament and asacrifice. Whoever offers a sacrifice must share in it.Hence, the priest who offers the Eucharistic Sacrifice (that is,the Mass), must receive the Eucharist as sacrament. Otherwise thesacrifice would not be complete.

5. The power of consecration, of confecting the HolyEucharist, is given to the priest, and as often as he celebratesMass he exercises this power. It is a power independent of thepriest's own condition as virtuous or wicked. Even a priest inserious sin confects the Holy Eucharist when he offers Mass.

6. In itself, the Mass of a wicked priest is of equalvalue with the Mass of a good priest. In either case, it is thesame sacrifice. And the prayers of a sinful priest during Mass andin all his ecclesiastical offices, are fruitful prayers inasmuch asthey are offered by one set and qualified to speak officially forthe Church. But the private prayers of a bad priest are notfruitful, for scripture says (Prov. 28:9): "He that turnethaway his ears from hearing the law, his prayer shall be anabomination."

7. If a duly ordained priest should become a heretic,schismatic, or be excommunicated, he would still have the power toconsecrate,although he would sin gravely in using that power.Even those who are validly ordained priests outside the Church (byheretical, schismatic, or excommunicated bishops) have the power toconsecrate.

8. A priest degraded and deprived of the right toconsecrate is not deprived of the power to consecrate.

9. One may not lawfully assist at Mass offered by aheretical, schismatic, or excommunicated priest, nor may onelawfully receive Holy Communion at his hands. However, thisprohibition applies only when the official condemnation of theChurch has been pronounced, and the priest in question has beendeclared heretical, schismatical, or excommunicated.

10. A priest, even if he have not the care of souls, isunder obligation of offering the Mass on some occasions, as forexample, on the major feast days. Such obligation is in thepriesthood itself, which calls for sacrifice, not only in theservice of the people, but for the glory of God. If the priestnever consecrated the Holy Eucharist in Mass, he would be a priestin vain. Scripture says (II Cor. 6:1): "We exhort you that youreceive not the grace of God in vain."

"God speaks to us without ceasing by his good inspirations."
The Cure D'Ars

* * *

"A tree that is cultivated and guarded through the care of its owner produces its fruit at the expected time. "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

* * *

"To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself. "
Thomas á Kempis

* * *