Possible Sacrilege with Dropped Host


Today I attended a Mass at my campus Newman Center. There were multiple priests in attendance.

The first lay communicant elected to receive on the tongue, and the host fell to the tile ground approximately 5.5 feet. The host was retrieved, and as near as I can tell, it was not thrown away. I was the next communicant. I waited for the priest to move to purify the tile. He did nothing. I presented myself for communion and received on the tongue, carefully sidestepping the area where the host had dropped.

Other communicants came up to receive, stepped near where the host had landed. They then stepped directly on the area where it fell as the approached to receive the most precious blood. All 15 or so communicants stepped directly on the area. In the course of returning the vessels to the side table, the area was repeatedly stepped on by the priests.

I left, but nothing was being done to the area.

Is this a case of negligent sacrilege? Merely a liturgical abuse?

I personally found it horrific, as did the young man who was attempting to receive when the host was dropped.

I cannot imagine that fragments of the host were not on the ground. I am also unsure as how to approach the pastor of the parish (the one who was distributing communion) concerning this issue. It is not my home parish, so I do not wish to cause too much disturbance, especially as this parish is so liberal that it my even suggesting to the pastor that I think he handled something inappropriately might just cause resentment, but no further respect for Christ present in the Eucharist.

I’m not going to address your main question, but I do have a suggestion for you as to how to approach a priest when you think something is wrong.

Don’t accuse.

Don’t go charging in with documents in hand, even if you’ve done the research. There are two reasons for this. First, most priests will react badly. Second, there may be more to the issue than you have uncovered in your research.

Do go in with the assumption that the priest is right. Ask your questions in an information-gathering way. “Say, Father, I was interested in how you did XYZ. Back in my home parish we do it such and such a way. What can you tell me about that?”

In your present circumstance, you might say something like this: “Father, when that Host was dropped the other day, it got me thinking about something I heard once. I heard that there used to be a special procedure for cleaning up the floor and everything. When did that change?” Then you can pick up on what he says and ask more respectful questions if you need to.

Odds are, the priest will catch on to the fact that you think something’s wrong. However, he will appreciate very much your effort to ask respectfully and will be less likely to write you off as a wacko right-wing malcontent. It might make him think and take corrective action.


When I was an altar boy, we were instructed on what to do if the host fell, i.e. cover the host with a white cloth, so no one will step on it, and after communion the priest would retreive the host and with holy water purify the area.

As an adult, I now see what you see. A “whatever” attitude. In fact on one occassion, I witnessed a layperson return after mass to the spot where the host fell, and with Holy Water she had taken from the church entrance wash the area. As “,the woman washed Jesus feet with her tears and tried them with her hair…” It was moving.

\The first lay communicant elected to receive on the tongue, and the host fell to the tile ground approximately 5.5 feet. The host was retrieved, and as near as I can tell, it was not thrown away.\

**This is the THIRD time on these fora I’ve heard of a host being dropped when someone tried to receive on the tongue. I’ve not heard of such happening with CITH.

If there is no recognizable piece of the Host–and it must be clearly recognizable as bread–then the Sacramental Body of Christ does not exist.**

I admit, I will only take Communion on the tongue if there is a paten underneath, for just that reason.

It bothers me to take CITH, but, it beats it being dropped, stepped on, fingers licked, etc. I once had it pop off my tongue and fall aobut five feet away. I just went, picked it up, and popped it in my mouth. I don’t think it was on the ground for more than a second. I told myself, that’s it, no more. Lord, I’m sorry, but if You want meto recieve on my tongue You’ll have to inspire your bishops to require it.

One of our priests occasionally ignores cleansing the vessels on weekday Masses, leaving it for the EMHC’s. If I were one, I would refuse to do it. Why does he get to ignore the directives?

I think the issue is not deliberate or even neligant sacrilege. The host dropped and was immediately picked up. The type of hosts I’ve seen in every church I’ve been in recently are the thicker more ‘durable’ type. They do not crumble or flake as easily as the thinner type from years ago did. The priest was probably aware that no particles of the host were left on the floor. However, it would have been better if he’d stepped away from that spot if he didn’t have a cloth to put over it. Betsy gave you great advice as to how to approach him on this issue.

A related question: Does anyone belong to a parish where the communion plate has been re-introduced after falling into disuse? I would like to approach my pastor on this, and I was wondering the best way to do it.

From Redemptionis Sacramentum:

  1. The Communion-plate for the Communion of the faithful should be retained, so as to avoid the danger of the sacred host or some fragment of it falling.

That is very nice.

I have personally seen the Blessed Sacrament drop when people received in the hand. Twice in fact in different churches.

However on talking to people who have only attended indult masses or SSPX masses because of the existence of communion patens and altar rails they have never seen it happen.

Dropping when you receive on teh tongue is due to the three possible things.

  1. Incompetence of the minister.
  2. Lack of Communion Paten — ABUSE my friend.
  3. Standing when the Minister is shorter than you.

There we have it. The traditional method of kneeling at an altar rail while a server follows with a paten will cause almost zero drops.


:eek: I certainly hope it wasn’t thown away!!! Forget cleaning the floor with holy water or covering with a purificator, you would be looking a a true sacrilege if a consecrated host was “thrown away”.



A typical procedure (if the Host cannot be consumed) is to place the Host in an ablution cup full of water and allow it to dissolve completely until it no longer resembles bread (this can take some time). It can then be put in the sacrarium.

That is different than thowing a consecrated host away and cannot possibly be what the OP meant since he/she was concerned that it wasn’t done by the time he/she received.



You mean the paten? Around here, it was never discontinued. It is used whether communion is on the hand or the tongue.

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