Breaking the Host In Line

I hope that I am just being too picky but I saw something at Easter Mass today that bothered me. Our priest and extraordinary minister did not have enough hosts with all of the extra people in for Easter and began breaking the host in two and presenting it to the parishioners. Is this proper? The sound of them snapping the body of our Lord repeatedly was very bothersome to me, although I cannot really see an alternative either.

The nuns used to say that you were not even supposed to chew the host, is this act now acceptable?


It is very common for the Priest to divide the host when running short. We are allowed to chew the host.

Yeah, nothing wrong with that.

The nuns told us not to chew the Host because the particles might get stuck in between the teeth and that’s not a good thing, especially if they remain when you floss.

I don’t think it’s ideal, but it is ok as far as I know. I hope he did it over the ciborium though- so that any crumbs that might fall as a result of breaking the host wouldn’t land on the ground.

The sound of them snapping the body of our Lord repeatedly was very bothersome to me, although I cannot really see an alternative either.

I don’t think it was wrong for them to do this- Jesus in the Eucharist is not divided, although the hosts may be.

The nuns used to say that you were not even supposed to chew the host, is this act now acceptable?

It was never really forbidden, as far as I know. It is a pious act to refrain from chewing the Host, and the nuns you mention saw this and felt it appropriate to strongly discourage people from chewing the host- but it’s not required (I don’t think it’s even really addressed in church documents).

I have trouble breathing through my nose while I am walking, and I don’t want to breathe through my mouth with the Host still in it- sometimes I have to chew the host (I do it as little as possible) to move it along quicker so I can breathe without blowing crumbs on the floor.

On the one hand, that’s fine. But it is something to be done only when truly necessary.

Keep in mind that there are no consecrated Hosts in the tabernacle from Good Friday to the Easter vigil so the priest can’t rely on simply turning to the tabernacle if he runs short. (There might be a very few reserved for emergencies, but not enough to make a difference). On Easter Sunday it’s quite possible that the priest simply did not anticipate the crowd, or didn’t realize that he would need even more before Mass because of the empty tabernacle (he might not have had enough reserved after the Vigil if this was a morning Mass). Again, it’s an acceptable thing to do, but only out of necessity.

Well the way it should have worked is when they noticed that they were running low, then they should have gone to the Tabernacle and got the reserved Hosts (from last nights Vigil). Usually however they always plan to use the reserved Hosts, so they are not there for their intended purpose. (Viaticum, the sick and home bound, when they run low on Hosts during Mass.)

Don’t see why anyone would want to chew on a host. It dissolves on my tongue and I just swallow the particles. Nothing to chew whatsover. Agree that it should never touch the teeth where it might remain for brushing or flossing. They are only 1 inch diameter, nothing to chew up!

Having never received in the Catholic church, I don’t know if there is a variation of texture, but there certainly was in the Anglican communion. Most hosts simply dissolved as you described, but some…oh my. Since they were purchased from a reputable, liturgical supply house, I can only believe they were of licit matter, but the priests used to refer to them as the “wafers of steel”. They were very tough and slow to dissolve.


Because I chew when I eat and we are commanded by the Lord to take and eat. I would guess that Jesus understood that to include chewing.



It’s not breaking Jesus’ Body, as if His bones were breaking. Remember, that it is required for a consecrated Host to be broken as part of the Liturgy – most people may miss it because they are too busy shaking everyone’s hand.

And remember, the Greek word (trogos, if memory serves) used by Christ during the Bread of Life discourse means to chew and gnaw like an animal.

Especially in the likely event that there’s only a “skeleton crew” for the Easter Vigil. :frowning:

There is a variation of texture, but in my experience it usually differs from parish to parish rather than week to week within the same parish. Just comes from different companies making breads, and different parishes using different companies I suppose (though obviously all the breads are still licit if they’ve come from reputable liturgical supplies).

And “wafers of steel”… haha! I like that! I’ve had a few of those before! Chewing or not chewing just isn’t an option with them…! :slight_smile:

There’s nothing wrong with breaking the host when necessary. Jesus is completely, wholly, and fully present under the appearance of each piece of the host.

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