"Chewing the Eucharist is like torturing Jesus"?


#1

A lapsed Catholic (now protestant) who argues online against the Catholic faith said this today...

*I was required to swallow the eucharistic host whole for many years. Chewing was like torturing Jesus, we were told. *

Were people ever really required to swallow the host whole?
I've heard some talk about this teaching before. My question is, what was the extent of this teaching in the Church? Was it widespread, official teaching or false teaching? Widely practiced, or not at all?

I understand the word "eat" translated from "trogane" actually means to 'gnaw', so I think we are instructed by our Lord to chew or 'gnaw' on His flesh in the Blessed Sacrament.


#2

[quote="Nigel7, post:1, topic:312808"]
A lapsed Catholic (now protestant) who argues online against the Catholic faith said this today...

Were people ever really required to swallow the host whole?
I've heard some talk about this teaching before. My question is, what was the extent of this teaching in the Church? Was it widespread, official teaching or false teaching? Widely practiced, or not at all?

I understand the word "eat" translated from "trogane" actually means to 'gnaw', so I think we are instructed by our Lord to chew or 'gnaw' on His flesh in the Blessed Sacrament.

[/quote]

I sure hope we're allowed to chew! :eek: I play flute for the choir, and it would be really difficult to play accompaniment for the communion hymn if I still had the host in my mouth


#3

At the Fraction in the Byzantine Mass the priest says, “Broken and divided is the Lamb of God, which is broken and not disunited, which is ever eaten and never consumed, but sanctifieth those that partake thereof.”

Chewing is not torture. If it was torture, so would be breaking the Host.


#4

[quote="Nigel7, post:1, topic:312808"]
A lapsed Catholic (now protestant) who argues online against the Catholic faith said this today...

Were people ever really required to swallow the host whole?
I've heard some talk about this teaching before. My question is, what was the extent of this teaching in the Church? Was it widespread, official teaching or false teaching? Widely practiced, or not at all?

I understand the word "eat" translated from "trogane" actually means to 'gnaw', so I think we are instructed by our Lord to chew or 'gnaw' on His flesh in the Blessed Sacrament.

[/quote]

Yes, when I took first communion (1967) we had to let the host dissolve on our tongue.

But in John chapter 6 Jesus says (like you have alluded to) that unless we eat, no indeed unless we gnaw on His flesh we will not have life within us.


#5

I believe it is a caution so that you will not loose a portion.

Baltimore Catechism No. 3

Q. 915. What should we be particular about when receiving Holy Communion?
A. When receiving Holy Communion we should be particular:[INDENT] 1. About the respectful manner in which we approach and return from the altar;
2. About our personal appearance, especially neatness and cleanliness;
3. About raising our head, opening our mouth and putting forth the tongue in the proper manner;
4. About swallowing the Sacred Host;
5. About removing it carefully with the tongue, in case it should stick to the mouth, but never with the finger under any circumstances.

[/INDENT]Baltimore Catechism No. 4

Q. 250
... However, the particle that is given to the people is about the size of a twenty-five-cent piece, so that they can swallow it before it melts. In receiving Holy Communion you must never let it entirely dissolve in your mouth, for if you do not swallow it you will not receive Holy Communion at all. ...


#6

Yes! In Catholic grade school in the 1940's - 50's we were instructed by Sisters of N.D. to swallow the Host whole, NEVER CHEW.


#7

We were taught by the "Filles de Jésus" Sisters never, ever, to chew the Host. Like Limbo, this may never have been 'official' teaching, but it was certainly extensively taught.

In one parish where I was in the '80s we had to teach people that it was OK to chew the Body of Christ when we started using home-baked altar breads and saw parishioners choke trying to swallow the 1"x1"x.5" pieces whole (no way would they dissolve).


#8

The priest breaks the Host with his hands. We break the Host with our teeth. There is no difference. :wink:


#9

It seems that this sprang up as some kind of pious devotion among religious sisters and filtered down to children receiving their First Holy Communion. It is certainly nothing more than private opinion, and has never been held as a discipline or law of the Catholic Church. Imagine those in the Eastern Churches trying to swallow whole leavened bread! Ugh!

To me, this is very unfortunate. It has been pointed out that Jesus Himself said we should "gnaw" on His flesh. To contradict this and teach innocent children not to do so, especially claiming it was some kind of "torture" is directly against the Gospel message and, as you can see, has done damage to our credibility. Hopefully this is just one of the many practices that will die out with the "biological solution" working on us all.


#10

I too was taught not to chew. Now when I think of it, we would let the host dissolve on the tongue before swallowing. So is the acid in our mouth or stomach is better than chewing?


#11

[quote="Phemie, post:7, topic:312808"]
We were taught by the "Filles de Jésus" Sisters never, ever, to chew the Host. Like Limbo, this may never have been 'official' teaching, but it was certainly extensively taught.

[/quote]

Yep. May not have been "official" but we all were taught that the host was to be swallowed, not chewed. Back then the hosts were made to dissolve easily. They weren't like the heavier, "chewier" hosts like we Western Catholics frequently have today.

I don't recall ever hearing that chewing was akin to torturing Jesus, however.


#12

[quote="Nigel7, post:1, topic:312808"]
A lapsed Catholic (now protestant) who argues online against the Catholic faith said this today...

Were people ever really required to swallow the host whole?
I've heard some talk about this teaching before. My question is, what was the extent of this teaching in the Church? Was it widespread, official teaching or false teaching? Widely practiced, or not at all?

I understand the word "eat" translated from "trogane" actually means to 'gnaw', so I think we are instructed by our Lord to chew or 'gnaw' on His flesh in the Blessed Sacrament.

[/quote]

When I was a child we still received kneeling and on the tongue and they used a small white host that dissolved rather quickly...of course in those days we did not receive the blood either.

Anyway...When we were preparing for first communion - yes we were told (By Sister Mary Francis SND) not to chew the host, but to let is soften and then swallow.

I rarely see anyone use this type of host anymore and the hosts that seem to be in common use today are larger, do not readily dissolve and pretty much have to be chewed.

As for the translation - yes that is my understanding too. That it's best understanding is to gnaw.

Anyway - depending on when this person received first communion and who it was who taught him...it is quite possible that he heard this.

Peace
James


#13

The Host tastes bitter to me if I chew...I don't know why.


#14

[quote="JRKH, post:12, topic:312808"]
When I was a child we still received kneeling and on the tongue and they used a small white host that dissolved rather quickly...

I rarely see anyone use this type of host anymore and the hosts that seem to be in common use today are larger, do not readily dissolve and pretty much have to be chewed.

[/quote]

Thanks JRKH. I was wondering if wafers used to be smaller or less dense. The ones we normally receive around here are somewhere between 1 and 1.25 inches and baked in a way that seems to be water resistant (almost a shell like finish). I assume they are baked in a way to not break in shipping and to have give a good shelf life before consecration. It would take quite some time for those to soften in your mouth, let alone dissolve to any degree.


#15

[quote="Usige, post:14, topic:312808"]
Thanks JRKH. I was wondering if wafers used to be smaller or less dense. The ones we normally receive around here are somewhere between 1 and 1.25 inches and baked in a way that seems to be water resistant (almost a shell like finish). I assume they are baked in a way to not break in shipping and to have give a good shelf life before consecration. It would take quite some time for those to soften in your mouth, let alone dissolve to any degree.

[/quote]

We use double thick whole wheat hosts 1 3/8". No way those will dissolve and people have become used to chewing. The very thin, easily dissolving, 1 1/8" white hosts that I remember as a child we use only for hospital calls and sometimes the patient can only receive a very small piece.


#16

[quote="Elizium23, post:9, topic:312808"]
It seems that this sprang up as some kind of pious devotion among religious sisters and filtered down to children receiving their First Holy Communion. It is certainly nothing more than private opinion, and has never been held as a discipline or law of the Catholic Church. Imagine those in the Eastern Churches trying to swallow whole leavened bread! Ugh!

To me, this is very unfortunate. It has been pointed out that Jesus Himself said we should "gnaw" on His flesh. To contradict this and teach innocent children not to do so, especially claiming it was some kind of "torture" is directly against the Gospel message and, as you can see, has done damage to our credibility. Hopefully this is just one of the many practices that will die out with the "biological solution" working on us all.

[/quote]

Since most of us who were taught this were trained by nuns in the 1960s and prior to that by several decades, you can be assured that the biological solution has pretty much taken place.

While this was certainly a pious example of what was often called "nun theology", it was meant well to promote reverence for the Eucharist. I honestly think that thinking this was a damage to our credibility is a bit of a stretch. Most of us came away from this "teaching" unscathed, and can look back at it with humor. You might want to lighten up, just a little. :)

I prefer to think of it as one of the many stories that was passed down through our "family", one that make us chuckle about the "good old days" (which weren't really that good). If this the best that something can come up with to bash Catholicism, they really don't have much to work with!


#17

I believe that the meaning in the Gospel of John is correct, but whether you gnaw or allow the Host to dissolve like a lozenge, it still gets Jesus up in ya!:extrahappy:


#18

The Coptic Rite uses leavened bread in large chunks. There is NO way to swallow the Eucharist without chewing. ;)


#19

[quote="coachdennis, post:16, topic:312808"]
If this the best that something can come up with to bash Catholicism, they really don't have much to work with!/quote

:thumbsup: Indeed!

[/quote]


#20

In any case it makes no difference whatever to Jesus. If the priest breaks the host into pieces or if the communicant chews the host, he is not thereby breaking or harming Jesus. Anything we do with the accidents--appearances--of bread and wine does not affect Jesus, who remains whole and undivided under each particle of the host.


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