Protecting the Sacred Species - What can be done?

Today at Mass, I saw an elderly man drop the Body of Christ. He had taken a bite out of the Host, dropped it, slowly bent to pick it up, and then he tucked it in his hand and walked away down the aisle like (I’m guessing) he thought he would dispose of “food” that fell on the floor…Not sure anyone else saw this, but I think they did–at least the EME…???

I receive on the tongue, but I have instructed my children if there should be a fumble–IMMEDIATELY pick up Our Lord and eat His Flesh and pray for forgiveness for the carelessness.

I became overwhelmed with worry about Our Lord and prayed that the man would consume Him at his seat.

Also at this Mass an EME poured the Sacred Blood after consecration into the vessles–I don’t think that is supposed to happen either.

What is one supposed to do, or what can one do other than pray for forgiveness and reparation?

He took a bite of it? Was it a large host or something? :confused:

Then of course we come to the problem of him placing the Body of Our Lord in his pocket and taking it away. Such a thing should not be allowed- the communicant must recieve the Body of Christ at the foot of the Sanctuary, not at the pew, or down the aisle.

Thanks for the title change:thumbsup: much more clear! Super fast too! Wow.

Normal sized…He was elderly, so perhaps he had eating issues…still it was a healthy sized bite. I thought it odd too.

After the fact…what? Should I have followed him down the aisle? I don’t think accosting an old man in the middle of mass would be appropriate either. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen such things since I sit up front…I would like to know what is appropriate.

I like the traditional idea of the communion rail which prevants this problem- if the host falls from somebody’s mouth then it is retrieved on the paten.

The EHMC should have stopped the old man as soon as he/she saw that he was walking away with the Host. The old man would have been asked to give the Host to the EMHC, who would have then eaten the Host or given the Host to the priest at the altar to consume. EMHC’s are supposed to be trained to react immediately to those situations.

If the EMHC did not notice what had happened, and you did, then it would have been your responsibility to take note of the situation and ask the old man as soon as you could (discreetly) to surrender the Host or eat the Host. Under no circumstances should the old man have been allowed to leave the Church with the unconsumed Host.

I was never in favor of mandating that Holy Communion be placed on the tongue until I became an EHMC and saw how many times these kinds of situations happen and how they could be altogether avoided by placing the Host on the tongue instead of in the hand.

We have found old, dried up Hosts tucked into the cushions of pews and in the missal holders attached to the pews on more than one occasion in our parish church.

Perhaps I should drop a line to the Parish office and suggest this specific issue be brought to the attention of the Extraordinary Ministers (is “of Holy Communion” or “of the Eucharist” correct?).

Also at this Mass an EME poured the Sacred Blood after consecration into the vessles–I don’t think that is supposed to happen either.

What about that part…that’s not correct either is it?

You’re absolutely right – the Precious Blood should not be poured into the Vessels by anyone after the Consecration. This should have been done before the Consecration even began.

Also, the proper title is “Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion” for those duly commissioned to assist the priests and deacons in the distribution of Holy Communion.

You may want to ask your Pastor to revisit the Holy See’s Document Redemptoris Sacramentum.

You should be able to find it here:

ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDWRDSAC.HTM

Instruction on the Eucharist (Redempionis Sacramentum), number 106: However, the pouring of the Blood of Christ after the consecration from one vessel to another is completely to be avoided, lest anything should happen that would be to the detriment of so great a mystery. Never to be used for containing the Blood of the Lord are flagons, bowls, or other vessels that are not fully in accord with the established norms.

If he received the Lord at his seat then it was not a problem; however, as an EMHC, we are instructed to ensure that our Lord is consumed before the individual departs to prevent any possible abuse or questions of this type.

As noted above that the pouring must be avoided before consecration, if this practice is followed then no EMHC would not be on or near the altar.

I am an EMHC. When I am distributing the Precious Blood, I always watch the communicant who is receiving the Body of Christ. If I see him/her doing anything unacceptable, such as not consuming all of the Body of Christ, I say something to that communicant before he/she is able to walk away from me down the aisle. That is what we were instructed to do. If Communion is given under both kinds, it is easier to have that “extra set of eyes” to watch out for any improper treatment of the Lord’s Body.

I’m almost afraid to ask what you’re supposed to do then?

Originally Posted by az 4 faith
"…We have found old, dried up Hosts tucked into the cushions of pews and in the missal holders attached to the pews on more than one occasion in our parish church."

By Island Oak: “I’m almost afraid to ask what you’re supposed to do then?”

Monsignor Peter Elliott wrote about this:

“When a discarded Host is found in a clean condition, it should be immediately consumed. If it is soiled or has been stuck beneath the seat with saliva (I know of such cases), it should be immediately placed in a vessel of water that is then kept in a secure place such as the safe place for sacred vessels. After some days the contents of this vessel are poured down the sacrarium.”
(Peter Elliott, Liturgical Question Box, Ignatius Press, 1998, ISBN 0-89870-677-7, pages 139-140).

I think the reasoning is that it stops being bread, stops being the Body of Christ, and so can safely be poured down the sacrarium.

On the issue of people not consuming the Body of Christ, firstly they are required to. From the 2002 General Introduction to the Roman Missal (GIRM) which can be accessed from romanrite.com/girm.html :
“161. If Communion is given only under the species of bread, the priest raises the host slightly and shows it to each, saying, Corpus Christi (The Body of Christ). The communicant replies, Amen, and receives the Sacrament either on the tongue or, where this is allowed and if the communicant so chooses, in the hand. As soon as the communicant receives the host, he or she consumes it entirely.

If someone does not do this, the action taken will depend on the circumstances.

Usually I think the approach would be to stop them walking away by blocking their path. Then tell them they are required to consume it now. If they do not understand a gesture may be helpful. If they will not consume the Host, offer to receive it from them. If they will not give it, take it.

If there is violence, or the threat of it, another approach would be to call ushers or the police. Details of the person (perhaps photos) could be gathered for reporting, which may mean their excommunication and reduce the chance of them being given the Body of Christ again.

Ignorance of the details of sacremental “etiquette” isn’t always the fault of the individual. Today’s priests seems to think people will learn and remember the sometimes complex rules of our liturgy and sacraments by osmosis.

Holy Communion, once a highly formalized element of the Liturgy has become increasingly casual. No more fasting, no more kneeling for the Consecration or receiving, taken in the hand…from other lay people, no patens to catch loose bits, no meditation afterward. Some priests openly downplay the need for “Reconciliation” (ours did this morning). Virtually all those old venerations of the Host that older generation had drummed into them as kids were summarily dumped. They’re inconsistent with today’s practices, and some may even think, somewhat understandably, that even the Transfiguration as doctrine has been abandoned. Its not hard at all to see why some older Catholics may think the Eucharist was devalued along with most of the things they were taught were sacrosanct, and is “no big deal” in today’s Mass.

99% of adult Catholics only contact with their religious institution is at Mass, yet its rare that ever a word of xplanation, instruction or reminder is spoken to the congregation. Not even in the weekly bulletin. I believe a few minutes spent by a priest or deacon occasionally reviewing the basics after the homily would prevent most violations and might help in maintaining overall liturgical discipline.

I think the reasoning is that it stops being bread, stops being the Body of Christ, and so can safely be poured down the sacrarium.

Actually, we are expected to assume that Our Lord is present when we find a discarded Host, place the host in the oblution cup, let the Host dissolve and pour the dissolved host and water into the Sacrarium.

That’s the purpose of the Sacrarium, to place our Lord directly into the earth rather than some other unsuitable place.

Thank heavens two of the churches I attend have in recent times given, during Mass, explicit instruction regarding the reception of the Eucharist.

I’ve only ever in one circumstance seen someone walk away with the Sacred Body in their hand. Luckily I was able to catch their eye and make a sign to them to consume the Host, which they did immediately.

If they hadn’t, you can believe I would have gone up to them (as nicely as possible of course) and asked them to do so.

Is it our responsibility to act in this circumstance? The communion distributor is the one charged with making sure the faithful consume the sacred species in front of them. If they fail at their job, are we expected to intervene? And could someone provide documentation.

By the way, inspite of the correct term being “Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion,” I would like to renew my recommendation that we go back to the term “communion distributors.” This takes away all sense of “superpower,” and I suspect that a communion distributor would have acted appropriately in this situation. I have no evidence, however, to back that statement up.

You know, I’m beginning to agree with that. I have seen some really inappropriate things happen over the past few weeks at mass that makes me think that receiving at the communion rails on the tongue is not the worst thing in the world.

Now don’t get too excited - I’m not ready to go Trad yet! Still like my modern masses, but maybe some sort of compromise might be in order, too.

I don’t care whether or not technically I have an obligation to intervene. We’re talking blasphemous and sacreligious treatment of the actual Body and Blood of our Lord - how could I not try to prevent it if I truly love Him? :eek:

I feel obliged, as should anyone who truly loves Christ, to speak up when people are blaspheming against his name or otherwise disparaging him, or even his church, in their speech. How much more so when his very self is being profaned in the Eucharist.

I feel obliged, as should anyone who truly loves Christ, to speak up when people are blaspheming against his name or otherwise disparaging him, or even his church, in their speech. How much more so when his very self is being profaned in the Eucharist.
That’s why I prayed as I did…It was in the vein of “Forgive them Lord, they know not what they do.”

You know…My mind gets all tangled up in that ~offering our sufferings to unite them with His sacrificed Body~…stuff when I see such things. I pray that somehow His additional degradation serves His glory and that he forgives our callousness.

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