Am I excommunicated (Canon 1367)?

Under the Code of Canon Law: “Canon 1367 One who throws away the consecrated species or, for a sacrilegious purpose, takes them away or keeps them, incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; a cleric, moreover, may be punished with some other penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state.”

I went to Mass and received communion at around 6:30 pm. After that I had dinner, which consisted of chicken, rice, and some vegetables. I got home at around 8. I rinsed my mouth with water and mouthwash. Since I had gone through dental surgery to remove my wisdom tooth, I got a cotton swab and put in some special ointment to apply to the gums where my tooth was removed. When I removed the cotton swab, I noticed that there was some white substance stuck to it. I panicked since I thought it might have been the Eucharist that may have been lodged there. So I consumed these particles, as well as the other particles I found were lodged in my gums. As I was chewing these tiny particles though, it didn’t feel like it was the Eucharist since it felt more like it was the chicken or rice that I ate. Not taking any chances, I took the cotton swab and placed it in a container of water (since I know that’s how you properly dispose of the Eucharist). Anyway, the cotton swab itself didn’t have any appearance of particles anymore. I let the cotton swab stay in the water for about 10 minutes. After a moment’s tense deliberation (where I tried to convince myself that I wasn’t violating anything because of my doubt or lack of knowledge for better judgment), I then threw the cotton swab into the trash can, then poured the water into a plant pot (“ground”), though some of the water didn’t get in and instead was ***spilled ***outside onto the floor.

Am I excommunicated? I’m almost certain that the particles were chicken or rice and not the Eucharist, but I just wanted to make sure. Was my procedure correct? Am I excommunicated for throwing the cotton swab into the trash can or accidentally allowing some water to not spill in the plant pot (even if the cotton swab or the water didn’t have the appearance of the particles anymore)? Or is my doubt as to whether it actually was the Eucharist some exempting circumstance?


No, you are not.


No, you are fine. To violate Cannon 1367 you have to intend to sneak out the Eucharist with the intention of committing sacrilege. When you found what you thought might be the bread, you took precautions. Dismiss this worry completely, you are fine.

Please speak to your confessor about possible scruples.

No, not at all.

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