fumbing the body of Christ

At mass today, I almost dropped the Eucharist body. I had to shovel mouth it to avoid dropping it. I hope I didn’t handle it disrespectfully, though it would have been at least as bad to drop it. So, how does one handle a dropped, or nearly dropped, Eucharist body.

If it can be consumed, it should be consumed. If it soiled, it should be returned to the priest for reverent disposal after Mass – usually dissolved in water and poured into the sacrarium in the sacristy.

See GIRM no.280 for full details.

This is why I prefer receiving the body of Christ on the tongue instead of risking desecrating His body.

Two questions for you .

1 . Have you never seen consecrated hosts fall to the ground when Communion is received on the tongue ?

2 . Is one desecrating the Eucharist if one lets it fall accidentally to the ground ?

The Lord would not have chosen the form of Bread if had he wished to never be dropped accidentally!!!

In the Gospel reading today, Divine Mercy Sunday, Jesus allow Saint Thomas the Apostle to place his hand into the wound from the Centurion’s spear. Jesus wants us to know that he is a real, physical, and bodily person. He chose bread because we handle it daily; it is a sign that he is an ordinary and extraordinary part of our lives!

As a trained Extraordinary Minister of the Holy Eucharist, it is our responsibility to handle a dropped Host or spilled Wine. We simply pick up the Host, and quietly hold on to it under the bowl until we have a moment to discreetly consume it. For wine, we would place a purificator (the napkin we wipe the chalice with) over the spill and the priest would dissolve it with holy water after mass. Once the wine is sufficiently dissolved, it is no longer our Lord’s blood (if I recall correctly).

There is no sin for dropping our Lord accidentally. It is itself a sign of great humility that our Lord appears to us in a form that could be dropped, a sign of his great desire to be a part of us!

I always receive on the tongue for this exact reason. However, I have experienced “dropping” the Host when a priest hurried a bit too much and didn’t place the Host properly on my tongue. But at least receiving on the tongue removes the danger of me dropping Him, which is all I can do, really.

I see your point, as it is bound to happen sooner or later for any priest. However, it is the tradition of the Church to strive for this to never happen, and we should therefore do all in our power to never make it happen.

In the Gospel reading today, Divine Mercy Sunday, Jesus allow Saint Thomas the Apostle to place his hand into the wound from the Centurion’s spear. Jesus wants us to know that he is a real, physical, and bodily person. He chose bread because we handle it daily; it is a sign that he is an ordinary and extraordinary part of our lives!

This is true. But at the same time, we do not handle the Sacred Species as if they were bread (or wine). We do all in our power not to let anything go to waste, down to the last particle. This has, however, been watered down in the modern liturgy, and from what I observe in the parishes I frequent, this has had devastating effects on people’s attitude towards the Eucharist. I am however glad to see it is slowly turning around, among priests as well as the faithful. I’m even observing an increasing amount of priests keeping their finger and thumb together after the consecration, something for which I rejoice.

As a trained Extraordinary Minister of the Holy Eucharist

Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

I’m sorry if this seems like nitpicking, but it’s not; it is an extraordinarily (pun intended) important distinction.

, it is our responsibility to handle a dropped Host or spilled Wine. We simply pick up the Host, and quietly hold on to it under the bowl until we have a moment to discreetly consume it. For wine, we would place a purificator (the napkin we wipe the chalice with) over the spill and the priest would dissolve it with holy water after mass. Once the wine is sufficiently dissolved, it is no longer our Lord’s blood (if I recall correctly).

A purificator should also be placed over the spot where a Host drops, preferably with a candle placed on top or to the side so the faithful and servers can avoid stepping there, and the floor purified after Mass. This is not still in the rubrics, but it has not been superseded by new instructions either - so presumably, it is still the correct way to handle it.

Additionally, the rubrics for the Ordinary Form of the Mass actually specifies that a communion plate should be present at the credence before Mass starts, and hence presumably also used. But sadly, few people, even priests, are aware of this.

The rest sounds correct. Or that is, I’m not sure any other action should need to be taken with the purificator other than the general method of washing, since also a purificator used to clean the Chalice may have traces of the Precious Blood. But then again purificators are washed in a rather specific manner to begin with.

There is no sin for dropping our Lord accidentally.

This is true if it simply just happened (we all have accidents from time to time, which is part of the reason I refuse to receive in my hands, in addition to the thing about particles), however if the accident was due to lack of attention or focus on Him, it would be a mortal sin, if I’ve understood correctly. However it would still not be desecration, so there would be no excommunication.

It is itself a sign of great humility that our Lord appears to us in a form that could be dropped, a sign of his great desire to be a part of us!

True, as long as it is not used as an excuse or rationalization to not be careful. The fact that He can be dropped does not mean He should be dropped. I don’t think that’s what you wanted to insinuate, but in case anyone reads it that way, it should be mentioned.

However, I wonder a bit about which form He could have chosen which was undroppable :slight_smile: . Except for thin air (which wouldn’t be easy to consume), there’s not a lot that seems to be unaffected by gravity on this planet.

My point is to reassure an individual who is overly worried about dropping the Host. Christ promised to free us from all distress.

On that point, we absolutely agree.

To desecrate His Body is a direct, intentional act. If you dropped the Host accidentally, that is not intentional, so it cannot be a desecration.

Unless you have been granted the facility to read people’s hearts, this is a very judgmental statement.

since a mortal sin has to be intentional, you have not understood correctly.

Careful. These things can happen in the EF too. Today a host fell out of someone’s mouth, bounced off the paten, right onto the floor under the communion rail kneeler. Our priest had to stop everything, get a purificator, come around to the other side, kneel down and reverently consume the host, and place a purificator over the spot until after Mass.

I just receive on the tongue to avoid this I even broke tradition and received on the tongue when I had my first communion through RCIA just because I was scared of dropping the Host or letting my hands touch it.

I’ve seen an elderly man who shook very badly take communion in his hand and drop the host and pick it up and eat it though so I suppose if you did drop it you could say I’m sorry to Our Lord and eat it anyways I’m not sure I’ve never actually dropped one myself to know

If your worried maybe try receiving on the tongue to see if your more comfortable with that?

I used to receive by hand but not receive on the tongue. I never had a problem receiving by hand, but I have had by tongue. One time the priest pressed the host so hard on my tongue that part of the host snapped off, and flew under the pew. I couldn’t find it until after Mass.

I’ve seen it dropped from my mother-in-law, too, who also receives on her tongue. She was quick enough to catch it.

It would be misleading to say a person should receive on the tongue to avoid the possibility of the host being dropped.

Receiving on the tongue or in the hand doesn’t really have a lot to do with the EF/OF, since receiving kneeling and on the tongue is the default mode of reception also in the OF. But you are right, these things can happen no matter how you receive; the chance is just lowered when receiving on the tongue. And there’s peace of mind, since the accident will almost always be on part of the priest.

Still, reception in the hands is an approved way of reception in most countries, and it is not wrong to do as the Church allows. But this is the main reason why I receive on the tongue, irrespective of which form of Mass I go to.

Did I say anything about people’s hearts or my facility to read them? No. I said something about people’s attitude. And attitude shows in behavior. And people’s behavior increasingly lacks reverence. Which is acutely observable.

That said, this is a lot better among those who regularly go to weekday Mass, Adoration and so on. I mostly observe this on Sundays.

Given the trend many places to actually scoff at external signs of reverence, this should come as no surprise to anyone. This worries me, because what we do externally affects how we think. And even if someone was to be completely disconnected between their external and internal attitude (which I believe is possible, which again is why I would never accuse a specific person of lacking internal reverence), their behavior affects others.

Lastly, you should consider whether you are the one to be judgmental here; I merely made a statement about people’s attitude (which generally means what they exhibit through their behavior), and you went off on a tangent about me claiming to read people’s hearts.

since a mortal sin has to be intentional, you have not understood correctly.

I’m afraid that’s too simple. “Full consent of the will” does not equal “intentional”.

Lack of attention may in itself be a sin; one should be attentive towards Christ when receiving the Sacrament. If such lack of attention then causes the Host to drop, there is grave matter.

However, inattentiveness can or can not be with full consent of the will. If one lacks attention because of external circumstances (worries, illness, some kinds of events, etc), obviously there would not be full consent, though I personally would consider whether I should receive in those situations; in some cases the answer would be “yes”, in other cases “no”. But if the lack of attention merely is because I’m wondering who killed King Joffrey, obviously I would be sinning. Unless I happened to have some condition which causes it, like ADD.

So I’m sorry, it’s not a simple as “not intentional equals not a mortal sin”. However, I think the vast majority of “accidents” happen through no fault of anyone, since accidents may happen even with the person paying full attention, and don’t necessarily happen because of lack of attention. So I’m not writing this to create bad conscience in anyone, on the contrary: I find taking every possible precaution to help my conscience - because then, if the Host drops, I know for certain it was through no fault of my own.

This whole problem is why communion pattens (plates) have been consistiently used up to the council, and still should be used today and communion on the tongue has always been the preferred way, as Redemptionis Sacramentum no. 93 makes clear.

The church already has these things figured out. We just have to follow Her traditions and not reinvent the wheel.

I will stand by my statement.

A mortal sin must be committed with deliberate and complete consent, enough for it to have been a personal decision to commit the sin. “Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice.” The CCC.

The only time I have ever had the Host drop, I was receiving on the tongue. :shrug:

And yes, it fell all the way to the floor. A paten could not have caught the Host, unless the altar server had shoved the priest out of the way. That action would have probably caused the priest to drop the remaining Hosts.

I put up my hand to stop the priest from bending down, I bent down, retrieved the Host and consumed it.

There was no desecration involved. It was simply a mishap. Sometimes there is no way to stop a mishap from happening.

well, Communion in the hand was one of the two ways in which Communion was received in the Roman rite, during the first millennium. And, according to Brother JR, the Franciscans had permission, sometime in the 1200’s and up to today to receive in the hand; and while that was limited to the Franciscans, it is not correct to indicate that this is not one of the traditional ways of receiving.

I have seen far, far more Hosts dropped when one receives on the tongue than I have in the hand; I have seen one instance of someone dropping the Host when it was received in the hand. However, I have seen numerous Hosts lost from a tongue; the usual causes are that the person does not stick their tongue out far enough, and less than half the Host is sticking on their tongue; the other cause is the failure to open the mouth wide enough, and flicking the Host off with the upper front teeth.

And if you want to challenge that, I started receiving on the tongue in 1952, and was an altar boy from 1957 through 1966.

If you stand in front of me and hold your hand out, palm up, I can put a small piece of paper, or a dime, or a wood chip on your hand, and you will not drop it accidentally, to those who express fear of dropping it, you are far more likely to cause the Host to drop from your tongue than your hand, and it is a rare person that cannot put some single thing in their mouth without dropping it.

I don’t have a dog in the fight; it matters not in the least to me how you receive. I have taught RCIA for over 15 years, and always carefully taught both methods, and always noted that one is the norm and the other the indult. I only note the above because the objections about dropping the Host are specious. If you want to receive on the tongue, then for heaven’s sake, do it properly.

I must be the clumsy one, because the carpet which I sit on while eating and typing must be vacuumed daily. Grapes, strawberries, fragments of crackers, you name it.

Most people spill when they are trying to do two or three things at the same time. Pay attention to one, what is in your hand, and you won’t.

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