Accident with Eucharist/was this the proper way to deal with it?


#1

Someone I know, who attends a campus Mass, sneezed after receiving Our Lord at communion. She pulled out a tissue just in time, but was concerned that there might be particles of the host in it.

After Mass, she asked the priest about it, and he told her that, in such an unusual circumstance, she should go outside and rinse the kleenex into the ground. He assured her that this was the acceptable practice, and not to worry about it.

Believing that he would know more about this than she would, she obeyed him, but felt uneasy about it.

Ever since then, she has felt uneasy about it. She talked to another priest, who reassured her that it was okay. Then, after a while, she still didn’t feel right about it, and went to confession to yet another priest (a seemingly very orthodox one), who told her that what the original priest said was wrong, but that she was forgiven for her part, since she didn’t know the right thing to do.

Here is the problem: she still has a great sorrow over this, and wonders whether or not she should contact her bishop about it, in order for him to correct the priest in question, so that he never does this kind of thing again.

What do you think she should do? Should she contact the Bishop? Or was the first priest correct about what should have been done.

FYI, it is a busy campus, and it would be hard to find a proper place for the procedure that he suggested. There is a park-like area that is much less traveled, and might have sufficed. She chose an area near bushes (but close to a paved sidewalk area) because she thought that it would be less likely that anyone would step there.
Personally, I think the priest should have taken the tissue and have done whatever needed to be done himself.


#2

And if you think the Bishop should be contacted, should a letter be written, or an appointment made to talk to him about it?

I said a letter should be written, but now that I think of it, other people in the chancery might be authorized to open the letter, and since it would name the priest, this might not be a good idea.

Anyone?


#3

I'm curious, what did that third priest tell her she should have done in this case?

When there's precious blood on the linens, we rinse them at the sacrarium so that it is emptied into the ground. I would think that if the body of Christ were in the tissue, putting it into the ground would be the proper thing to do, surely no one would eat the tissue.

Perhaps burn it?


#4

[quote="opus101, post:1, topic:317067"]
Someone I know, who attends a campus Mass, sneezed after receiving Our Lord at communion. She pulled out a tissue just in time, but was concerned that there might be particles of the host in it.

After Mass, she asked the priest about it, and he told her that, in such an unusual circumstance, she should go outside and rinse the kleenex into the ground. He assured her that this was the acceptable practice, and not to worry about it.

Believing that he would know more about this than she would, she obeyed him, but felt uneasy about it.

Ever since then, she has felt uneasy about it. She talked to another priest, who reassured her that it was okay. Then, after a while, she still didn't feel right about it, and went to confession to yet another priest (a seemingly very orthodox one), who told her that what the original priest said was wrong, but that she was forgiven for her part, since she didn't know the right thing to do.

Here is the problem: she still has a great sorrow over this, and wonders whether or not she should contact her bishop about it, in order for him to correct the priest in question, so that he never does this kind of thing again.

What do you think she should do? Should she contact the Bishop? Or was the first priest correct about what should have been done.

FYI, it is a busy campus, and it would be hard to find a proper place for the procedure that he suggested. There is a park-like area that is much less traveled, and might have sufficed. She chose an area near bushes (but close to a paved sidewalk area) because she thought that it would be less likely that anyone would step there.
Personally, I think the priest should have taken the tissue and have done whatever needed to be done himself.

[/quote]

Yes I believe this is correct. and if she was told to do this by a Catholic priest, and reaffirmed by a second Catholic priest the action is no longer hers. As a sacristan I know that sometimes the deacon or priest will purify the chalice and ciborium in a special sink that rinses directly to the ground and not the sewer or septic.

It seems to me that the sorrow is unwarranted. But of course if she feels compelled she could confess it. But contacting the Bishop is not needed at all.


#5

[quote="gh4, post:3, topic:317067"]
I'm curious, what did that third priest tell her she should have done in this case?

When there's precious blood on the linens, we rinse them at the sacrarium so that it is emptied into the ground. I would think that if the body of Christ were in the tissue, putting it into the ground would be the proper thing to do, surely no one would eat the tissue.

Perhaps burn it?

[/quote]

Sacrarium! couldn't think of the word. Thanks!


#6

[quote="gh4, post:3, topic:317067"]
I'm curious, what did that third priest tell her she should have done in this case?

[/quote]

I don't know.
My thought was that the original priest perhaps should have taken it and rinsed over the sacrarium...I don't have much of a background in such things, but hope to learn. I don't recall anyone ever mentioning a situation like this in any of my theology classes.


#7

Yeah, what would the proper thing to do actually be? It seems to be that what the first and second priest said were acceptable solutions.

Anyway, I don't agree with the practice of forming an opinion, then priest shopping until you find one who agrees with you. (and that kinda sounds like what your friend did.) Maybe she should keep looking for a really, really, really orthodox priest who will tell her that it was a mortal sin and she must be flogged before she can have absolution?

No, I don't think she needs to contact the bishop and even if she did, I don't think the bishop would act on it. Then she might feel compelled to go looking for a "better" bishop who will take the matter more seriously. Three priests have told her that she did nothing wrong. Leave it at that and go on with life, secure in God's grace.


#8

As far as I know - she acted correctly and the original instruction was correct.

In the normal course of things there is a place in the Sacristy (can't remember the name) that is a sink with a drain that simply goes into the ground (not the sewer).

This is the place where they wash everything that has come in contact with the consecrated bread and wine.

The instruction to rinse the tissue directly onto the ground fits perfectly well with this practice.

As a personal experience...My wife has Alzheimer's and several years ago, when I was getting out one of her shirts I discovered half of a host in one packet. :eek:

Evidently I just wasn't watching her close enough and she ate half and stored the other half...my bad.
I went ahead and consumed the remaining half and washed the shirt as usual.

When I mentioned this to our deacon's wife, she said the same thing that your friend's priest said. That the correct thing to do would have been to rinse out the pocket directly onto the ground. My mother (a devout Catholic of the "old School") also said that this was the technically correct procedure.

I committed no sin of course since what I did was with a correct intention just a faulty procedure.

So - I would tell your friend to put the incident behind her. All is well.

Peace
James

P.S. Obviously while I was typing this you received many excellent replies....sorry that mine is somewhat redundant....:shrug:

JRKH


#9

[quote="gh4, post:3, topic:317067"]
I would think that if the body of Christ were in the tissue, putting it into the ground would be the proper thing to do, surely no one would eat the tissue

[/quote]

Her concern wasn't that anyone would eat it, but that someone might step on it, or possibly pick it up and throw it in the trash.


#10

I think she needs to find peace about it. Going to three priests proves that she is looking for peace somewhat. Perhaps it was a mistake for the last priest to inform her that the first priest was wrong.

I read here time and time again about it is a Venile/mortal? sin if one deliberately commits it. She was faithfully following the instructions she had at the time. She was simply following advice. But her mind needs to be put at rest.

Would a letter to the Bishop help put her mind at rest? What would happen if the Bishop wrote back saying that all the priests were right in what they said? That would make the matter worse because of conflicting advice seemingly.

What does she feels need to happen to help her to put her mind at peace on this? A chat with the first priest? A chat with the last priest? Perhaps she is seeking forgiveness? It is something she is to work out as to a way forward with her peace. But a chat with one of the priests would be a good step forward so he can encourage her that she hasn't done anything wrong and to regain her peace.:thumbsup:


#11

Recently, my dd vomited in church, shortly after consuming the host. At the time it happened, we were so consumed with her sickness and the mess of it all, that it didn't occur to us that we needed to be careful about how to dispose of it, but later in the day, I realized that I had clearly seen particles of undigested host. Thankfully, we had cleaned everything up with paper towels and brought those towels home in a plastic bag. We were advised by a priest I trust to bury the paper towels in our yard. So maybe the mistake of your friend was to rinse the tissue ONTO the ground? Maybe she should have buried it beneath the ground?


#12

[quote="opus101, post:1, topic:317067"]
Someone I know, who attends a campus Mass, sneezed after receiving Our Lord at communion. She pulled out a tissue just in time, but was concerned that there might be particles of the host in it.

After Mass, she asked the priest about it, and he told her that, in such an unusual circumstance, she should go outside and rinse the kleenex into the ground. He assured her that this was the acceptable practice, and not to worry about it.

Believing that he would know more about this than she would, she obeyed him, but felt uneasy about it.

Ever since then, she has felt uneasy about it. She talked to another priest, who reassured her that it was okay. Then, after a while, she still didn't feel right about it, and went to confession to yet another priest (a seemingly very orthodox one), who told her that what the original priest said was wrong, but that she was forgiven for her part, since she didn't know the right thing to do.

Here is the problem: she still has a great sorrow over this, and wonders whether or not she should contact her bishop about it, in order for him to correct the priest in question, so that he never does this kind of thing again.

What do you think she should do? Should she contact the Bishop? Or was the first priest correct about what should have been done.

FYI, it is a busy campus, and it would be hard to find a proper place for the procedure that he suggested. There is a park-like area that is much less traveled, and might have sufficed. She chose an area near bushes (but close to a paved sidewalk area) because she thought that it would be less likely that anyone would step there.
Personally, I think the priest should have taken the tissue and have done whatever needed to be done himself.

[/quote]

I believe the priest gave her the exact correct advice. You friend should be very thankful that she has a priest who would tell her the proper thing to do, instead of telling her not to worry about it, but just throw it away. Yes, I suppose the priest could have done it himself, but that is not required. What is required is that water used to wash items that may have particles of the Blessed Sacrament on them is to go immediately into the ground, not into the drainage or sewage system. Every church in the sacristy has a sink that is drained directly into the ground just for this purpose. The instructions given by the priest sound to me to be spot on. I am not for sure why the third priest would have said it was wrong. Did he tell her what the proper procedures were? I honestly can think of nothing else one could do with the Klenex except what the priest told her to do.


#13

Thanks for your response, tafan (and everyone else, too).

This is good to know. One of her concerns was that she was asked to do this on a busy college campus where she could be (and was) seen by others, and the fact that someone might step over the area. But as many of you said, there wasn't much else that could have been done. I had thought that the priest should take the tissue to the parish sacrarium (there isn't one on campus, it's a secular university without a Catholic chapel) and rinse it there rather than have her do it there in public, on campus grounds.


#14

[quote="opus101, post:13, topic:317067"]
Thanks for your response, tafan (and everyone else, too).

This is good to know. One of her concerns was that she was asked to do this on a busy college campus where she could be (and was) seen by others, and the fact that someone might step over the area. But as many of you said, there wasn't much else that could have been done. I had thought that the priest should take the tissue to the parish sacrarium (there isn't one on campus, it's a secular university without a Catholic chapel) and rinse it there rather than have her do it there in public, on campus grounds.

[/quote]

She could have just buried it under the top layer of soil in a flower garden where there's loose dirt, I'm sure the tissue would disintegrate fairly quickly.

I'm a nurse, and I'm not touching the tissue you just sneezed into, I would never expect a priest to take a used tissue with all the germs, especially during flu season. So probably best that she dealt with it herself.


#15

[quote="opus101, post:13, topic:317067"]
Thanks for your response, tafan (and everyone else, too).

This is good to know. One of her concerns was that she was asked to do this on a busy college campus where she could be (and was) seen by others, and the fact that someone might step over the area. But as many of you said, there wasn't much else that could have been done. I had thought that the priest should take the tissue to the parish sacrarium (there isn't one on campus, it's a secular university without a Catholic chapel) and rinse it there rather than have her do it there in public, on campus grounds.

[/quote]

As for someone walking on it, there is no need to be concerned if she followed the priest's directions. The priest had a very specific reason why he told her to rinse it with water into the ground. The presence of the Lord remains in host as long as it maintains the accidents of being bread (or wine if it is the Sacred Blood), that is defined as being when the material is readily identified as bread. Water would have dissolved it so that this was no longer the case, and at that point there would be no particles of the Blessed Sacrament.

Again, I believe the priest was very accurate as to his instructions, and I am at a total loss as to why the third priest disagreed.


#16

[quote="gh4, post:14, topic:317067"]
She could have just buried it under the top layer of soil in a flower garden where there's loose dirt, I'm sure the tissue would disintegrate fairly quickly.

I'm a nurse, and I'm not touching the tissue you just sneezed into, I would never expect a priest to take a used tissue with all the germs, especially during flu season. So probably best that she dealt with it herself.

[/quote]

No she should not have. Why? The issue is not the tissue paper disintegrating, it is the Blessed Sacrament disintegrating (not for sure I like that word but it seems accurate). And fairly quickly is not good enough, you want it disintegrated ASAP and while you are there. Otherwise you leave our Lord in a very vulnerable situation, open to all sorts of abuse.

Again, the priest was correct and precise in his instructions.

BTW, I think your point on why the priest would not have wanted to do it himself is very valid.


#17

[quote="tafan, post:16, topic:317067"]
No she should not have. Why? The issue is not the tissue paper disintegrating, it is the Blessed Sacrament disintegrating (not for sure I like that word but it seems accurate). And fairly quickly is not good enough, you want it disintegrated ASAP and while you are there. Otherwise you leave our Lord in a very vulnerable situation, open to all sorts of abuse.

Again, the priest was correct and precise in his instructions.

BTW, I think your point on why the priest would not have wanted to do it himself is very valid.

[/quote]

Yup, you are right about that, never thought of it quite that way. The water alone would have taken care of the host.


closed #18

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