Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ is a transmitter of diseases?

The topic of this thread is examination of the erroneous claim that Jesus Christ – truly present in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, is a transmitter of diseases.

The thread topic would probably fit in several forums – including Traditional Catholicism since it truly is a subject which concerns all and each of us as Catholics. It is not meant to be an issue which should be so complicated that hardly anyone can understand it. So let’s see what we can do with it.

Every once in a while someone here (sadly Catholics too- :sad_yes: ) will come up with this idea that Jesus can be a transmitter of diseases .What I believe people are expressing when they claim the aforementioned, is their lack of faith in Christ really being present in a consecrated Host. Now if anyone is struggling with their faith/belief/trust in our Lord being present in the Blessed Sacrament, they aren’t alone – and faith untested is no faith at all. Jesus even addressed his closest disciples (and us) on occasion as “O you of little faith.” But once people publicly make these unsubstantiated erroneous claims that Jesus can transmit diseases , it can inhibit a properly disposed person from seeking that intimate union with Him in Holy Communion ; and that is never a good thing.

For some unknown reason , this topic seems to come up as a side topic on other threads – as it did just recently. It would seem the OP preferred it not be discussed on his thread of a different topic where it occurred. So I’ve tried to preserve the arguments presented on the other thread w/o the names of those who posted so they can remain free to either join in the conversation here or not. I’ve condensed it into three ( III ) posts.

Here it is in chronological order from members A, B, C ,and myself :


[quote=Member ”A”]I didn’t know that about priests in Ireland. I had to Google:
Irish priests say they will disobey new confession box law on child … . Or maybe:
I was saddened a few years ago when Bird Flu (or something?) epidemic in England caused the Church to capitulate to Health and Safety dictats that Communion wine was to be suspended and the host given on the hand and not on the tongue. I asked my PP why: it is not wine but the blood of Jesus and the host is His body. Incorruptible! He said, “you believe that, Ian; I believe it, but the Government doesn’t.” However I’m not sure if the Church capitulated or left it up to the Parish priest. I know some Catholic churches continued to administer the body AND blood of Jesus. I don’t know about the USA or other countries but here in England I am saddened by the number of worshippers who pass up the chalice.

[quote="Member “B”]A little off track for the thread, but surely if bread and wine is not corruptible and able to play host to bacteria, viruses and so on, it is no longer bread and wine, and therefore, under Catholic teaching, unable to become the body and blood of Christ? Bread and wine are naturally corruptible.

[quote=Member “B”]I am certainly not disrespecting Catholic beliefs about the Eucharist. But when a scientific claim is made I feel able to question it. In this case it was claimed that the ‘accidents’ of the Eucharist, the bread and wine, could not be corrupted. I know of no evidence tht this is so, and it seems most unlikely. Bacteria and other substances in human bodies act on the Eucharist after it is consumed, and as I dimly recall from my time as an altar boy there are protocols to follow to dispose of any ‘spoiled’ consecrated hosts. I would not myself raise disease as an issue in conjunction with the Eucharist, as I can see the potential for offence. But I am happy to discuss it once it is raised. The question I asked was about catholic teaching, and I think RobG has given a good reply above. As to the idea of Christ the healer being unable to transmit disease - do you believe this was true during his earthly life? Did he never pass on a cold? Did bacteria an parasites live in his body just as they do with all humans? Until now I would have thought this was a part of being fully human, and I would be interested to know if there is a belief or tradition which says this is not so. And yes, I admit to being most grievously off-topic, :blush: and apologise to the OP, but the thread appeared to have cooled down.


[quote=NeedImprovement]. . I didn’t mean to imply you were intentionally disrespecting Catholic beliefs Member “B” . Yet, however inadvertent it may be, anything which weakens (or attacks or diverts) a Catholic’s faith in the True personal Presence of our Blessed Lord in the Eucharist, is not a good thing ; so one really should anticipate a firm response on that account – at least, at CAF. In the previous post , a link was provided to an article, whose title comes from Lumen Gentium : The Holy Eucharist is the Source and Summit of the Christian Life. In other words , it is the Heart of our faith ; as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says (highlights mine) . . .

1382 The Mass is at the same time, and inseparably, the sacrificial memorial in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated and the sacred banquet of communion with the Lord’s body and blood. But the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice is wholly directed toward the intimate union of the faithful with Christ through communion

. To receive communion is to receive Christ himself who has offered himself for us

Anyone who interferes with that “intimate union”, should understand that they are not only getting in the faithful’s way, they are also obstructing Christ - from intimately uniting himself with them. If we present people with thoughts, sugggestions which are going to distract them at that particular moment, or make them apprehensive of receiving Holy Communion, that also is interfering.

[quote=Member “B”]. . . And yes, I admit to being most grievously off-topic, and apologise to the OP, but the thread appeared to have cooled down.

I’m just as guilty in that respect too. But if the OP didn’t object , I wouldn’t be against discussing it with you further. Still, I continue to think you may not be interpreting Member A’s post correctly . . .
Maybe we should begin there.

I believe you’re referring to this part

[quote=Member “A”]. . . it is not wine but the blood of Jesus and the host is His body. Incorruptible! . .

It is quite common to refer to God as “incorruptible”. It is the very essence of God to exist (I AM)
Exodus 3:14
God replied, “I am who am.” Then he added, "This is what you shall tell the Israelites: I AM sent me to you."

God is from everlasting to everlasting and He does not change – He doesn’t need to. So it is also correct to say that God is absolute incorruptibility.

All following definitions are quoted from MODERN CATHOLIC DICTIONARY; Fr. John Hardon, S.J.


Incapacity of decay or destruction. This may be absolute, as God, who is wholly unchangeable by nature; or natural, as the angels and souls, which, being spirits, cannot disintegrate by decomposition; or substantial, as in physical nature, whose elements can be variously.

Member “A” is also correct when he says, “it is not wine, but the Blood of Jesus.” The substance is the Blood of Christ , only the accidents of wine (and bread) remain. Now one funny thing about accidents is that they cannot exist in and of themselves ; they must inhere in a substance or subject , yet transubstantiation says that the substance ( the essence – how it is defined) is the “Body and Blood of Christ.” The only reason the accidents ( appearances) of the bread and wine remain, is because they are “sustained in existence by divine power.”


The complete change of the substance of bread and wine into the substance of Christ’s body and blood by a validly ordained priest during the consecration at Mass, so that only the accidents of bread and wine remain. While the faith behind the term was already believed in apostolic times, the term itself was a later development. With the Eastern Fathers before the sixth century, the favored expression was meta-ousiosis “change of being”; the Latin tradition coined the word transubstantiatio, “change of substance,” which was incorporated into the creed of the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. The Council of Trent, in defining the “wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the body, and the whole substance of the wine into the blood” of Christ, added “which conversion the Catholic Church calls transubstantiation” (Denzinger 1652). After transubstantiation, the accidents of bread and wine do not inhere in any subject or substance whatever. Yet they are not make-believe; they are sustained in existence by divine power. (Etym. Latin trans-, so as to change + substantia, substance: transubstantiatio, change of substance.)

Things whose essence naturally requires that they exist in another being. Accidents are also called the appearances, species, or properties of a thing. These may be either physical, such as quantity, or modal, such as size or shape. Supernaturally, accidents can exist, in the absence of their natural substance, as happens with the physical properties of bread and wine after Eucharistic consecration.

A being whose essence requires that it exist in itself. It is an ens per se (a being by itself) or ens in se (a being in itself). It is commonly distinguished from an accident, whose essence is to exist in another, that is, in a substance. (Etym. Latin substantia, that which stands under, principle, foundation.)


Foremost among those protocols is for the person responsible for custody of the Blessed Sacrament to consume the Host . That is the most “proper” thing to do. The secondary provisions are there due to a principle which is also applied in Canon law : A person is never required to go beyond their own personal point of natural repugnance . Nobody is at exactly the same point on this one. Sometimes a burning faith and/or love for our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament sees only Him, regardless of even the most extenuating circumstances. Other times , someone, due to their upbringing, might be hesitant to consume anything once it has fallen to the floor.

[quote=Member “B”]. . . As to the idea of Christ the healer being unable to transmit disease - do you believe this was true during his earthly life? Did he never pass on a cold?. . .

If He ever passed on a cold, don’t you think that would be a little bit like the merchant who falsely inflates a price before giving someone a discount ? Does it even mesh logically that He could be going around healing and making people sick at the same time. If he took away the fever of Peter’s mother-in-law, healed the paralytic, gave sight to the blind ? If we search the Gospels, we’ll find the words “All who touched him were healed” [Mark 6:56 ; Matt 14:36]

Finally, my aforementioned comments were partially quoted by the OP- ( Member “C” ) who posted this in reply :

[quote=Member “C”]Man, I hate to get off topic again, and yet I have to comment on this part. Transubstantiation is the one and only case wherein accidents DO remain without inhering in any substance! Christ does not assume or take on the accidents of bread and wine. He has his own proper accidents. The substance of bread and wine is gone. The accidents of bread and wine remain but do not inhere in any substance, and are indistinguishable from the accidents of bread and wine because they are the accidents of bread and wine. As such they can transmit germs or whatever, and are corruptible. The accidents are not Christ. Christ is present under the accidents of bread and wine, not in them. Now, back to the topic!

It’s rather difficult to make sense out of/decipher exactly what Member “C” was saying in that post ( although it did become clear that his thread wasn’t the place to discuss this topic) . I would usually try to respect what the topic of any given thread is, but as a Catholic , what is one to do when someone (whether inadvertently or not) attacks another’s faith in the presence of our Blessed Lord in the Blessed Sacrament ? In their zeal to make their own limited ideas known , they run the risk of scaring someone who may be properly disposed out of receiving Holy Communion , by falsely asserting that our Blessed Lord Jesus is a transmitter of diseases. Hence the focus shifts from concentrating on Jesus truly present in the consecrated Host, to fear of getting sick. And on that very note , it is unfortunate that Member “C” has posted a comment that contributes to that same effect by erroneously claiming that a consecrated Host

[quote=Member “C”] . . . can transmit germs or whatever, . . .

For the time being, I’d ask that we leave Member “C” ’s comment as is , until he has had time to consider this thread (if he sees it).

Initially, maybe we could consider some of the more eloquent ways in which our Holy Catholic Church speaks of our Lord’s True Presence in the Blessed Sacrament . I think the simpler, the better, at least to start off with.

One of the saints who had a sureway of expressing this was St. Peter Julian Eymard, who according to Fr. Hardon, intimated :

What must be kept in mind, however, is that Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is Jesus. He is here, geographically, in our midst. He is here, corporally, among us. He is here, the same identical Jesus that Mary carried in her womb for nine months and held in her arms on Christmas Day.

I don’t remember our Lord promising that the physical accidents of the bread and wine carried no viruses or bacteria.

Our Lord isn’t the transmitter of disease, but the bacteria and viruses that get into the accidents of the bread and wine certainly are.

For this reason I prefer to receive the Eucharist by hand. If that option is removed I will of course receive by mouth but while I have the choice I’d rather take as little risk regarding disease as possible.

Since our Lord never promised that basic biology would cease on the consecrated bread and wine I will assume that bacteria and viruses are still quite active.

EDIT: And by all means, if you want to quote me later please feel free to use my username. I have no shame regarding these views.

So in other words, you are saying that a consecrated Host can transmit disease ?

Not at all. I’m saying that physical objects might have bacteria or viruses on them, and since the accidents of the bread and wine are physical the bacteria and viruses ON the consecrated host can transmit disease.

Bacteria and viruses transmit disease. Our Lord never promised that viruses and bacteria would become the consecrated host.

The physical accidents of bread and wine remain. Since viruses and bacteria are physical I see no reason that they would disappear.

I’ll have to correct myself before we get too far into it here. As I was unsubscribing from the other thread, I only just noticed that Member “C” wasn’t the OP at all - just a member who was disgruntled that this topic had turned up on that particular thread . . . oh well :shrug: . . . no harm done seeing as the OP wasn’t ever identified anyway. In that case, we might examine Member “C” 's comment in a day or two either way.

I agree with you insofar as all other (ergo unconsecrated) objects might have bacteria on them. What is left when we remove the physical accidents of the bread and wine ?

Irrelevant. The accidents are still there, and so can still carry viruses and bacteria.

Question: Why do you think that biology stops working when Jesus never told us that it would?

The question was not whether the accidents are still there, the question was : What is left when we remove the physical accidents of the bread and wine. I assure you the question is most relevant . . . a little surprised you can’t see it.

Right, but the physical accidents aren’t removed from the bread and wine; they’re still there. So this question has nothing to do with the topic of whether physical things can be transmitted into our body by other physical things.

The question is not whether Christ is present in the bread and wine. We know He is, let’s move on. The question is whether the physical accidents can carry viruses and bacteria into our bodies. Since our Lord never promised that the consecrated Host could kill viruses and bacteria I won’t assume that it will.

This would be a very easy thing to test, scientifically. But I’m just curious, if somebody put, say, some anthrax on a consecrated host, would you consume it?

Why do you think God our Healer, Saviour and Redeemer would want to make you or me sick - particularly if that thought might make us avoid what He desires most - our seeking intimate union with Him in Holy Communion?

Why would do you think our loving God allows cancer? :shrug: He has control of that too. And yet He allows it to exist, presumably in order to allow a greater good.

Christ never promised he would get rid of sickness and suffering. He also never promised that He would kill bacteria and viruses on the consecrated Host, so I’m not going to assume that He did.



This is supposed to be a serious thread for Catholics concerning Holy Communion. Do you really suppose if someone put anthrax on a thread (:ouch:) the first thing they’d be doing is going around telling people who were about to consume it that they did ?

Please take comments like the one quoted above to the clubhouse or something.

Only the bread and wine get transsubstantiated. They do not get disinfected in the process. This is only a tad bit ridiculous, sorry to say–I mean that in all charity.


I believe he means that he was a Catholic, became an atheist, and is now a Catholic again-in other words, he is a revert.

You’re missing the point; you’re telling us that the Consecrated Host won’t transmit sickness or disease. So why would it matter if you consumed it with anthrax on top of it? It should make no difference if what you say is true.

Precisely. :slight_smile:

You’re missing the point; you’re telling us that the Consecrated Host won’t transmit sickness or disease. So why would it matter if you consumed it with anthrax on top of it? It should make no difference if what you say is true.

Indeed. Let the OP explain why my scenario would or would not cause him to catch a deadly infection.

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