SPLIT: Descration to take consecrated host home for private worship?



This is something that I know has occurred recently.

A person enters a sacristy of a chapel that is used occasionally and sees hosts (possibly consecrated) on a shelf, not in a container but just laid down. This person takes one of them and, out of reverence, takes it home and places it in a Communion Pyx. The Pyx is then placed on the home altar.

I have the following questions and would appreciate a clear answer:

Would this episode be considered as a desecration? And if yes, what penalties are incurred?

Does such an altar, provided that the host is consecrated, could somehow be considered as a form of chapel, albeit irregular?




No one is allowed to take a consecrated Host home and reserve it in their home without permission of the bishop, and those cases are extremely rare. The person should have notified the priest as to what they found. It could have been unconsecrated but I would’t take that chance. If I couldn’t find a priest I would have consumed it without delay.



Since you’re asking about penalties, I presume you are referring to canon 1367: “A person who throws away the consecrated species or takes or retains them for a sacrilegious purpose incurs a* latae sententiae *excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; moreover, a cleric can be punished with another penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state.”

Even if the Host is consecrated, such an action is not desecration and does not fall under the terms of this canon. The Host has not been thrown away, in any sense of the phrase, nor is there any sacrilegious purpose. There is no desecration and certainly none was intended. So, no penalties.

Legally, such a place cannot have the title of “chapel” unless it is so deemed by a local ordinary (canon 1226). In common parlance, people may well call it a chapel.



No one is allowed to carry the consecrated Host to their home even if they have good intentions. The OP has asked for clear answers among which, Is there a penalty? While we assume that the intent was not meant to be desecration, it was wrong. We do not know if the person had any business going into the sacristy or what his/her knowledge of what was proper or improper in this situation. Below is a quote from Redemptionis Sacramentum that should clarify. I think the person should be informed that what they did was not proper and have them to either consume the host in question or return it to the priest in charge of the chapel.

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20040423_redemptionis-sacramentum_en.html#Chapter** VI**
[132.] No one may carry the Most Holy Eucharist to his or her home, or to any other place contrary to the norm of law. It should also be borne in mind that removing or retaining the consecrated species for a sacrilegious purpose or casting them away are graviora delicta, the absolution of which is reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith


First, if a host is seen on a shelf in a sacristy, it is certainly not consecrated. Consecrated hosts are reserved in the tabernacle. Every priest I know takes great pains to keep consecrated and unconsecrated hosts separated, for reasons that ought to be obvious.

However, if this host were consecrated, then we do have a grave matter here. Because the purpose was private adoration and not sacrilege, the latae sententiae excommunication does not apply. However, my understanding is that the Blessed Sacrament may be adored only in places approved by the ordinary bishop, and if one wishes for a very serious and compelling reason to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in his home, he must make his case for that before the bishop or one to whom he has delegated the authority. Just because one wants to is not a compelling reason.

The person here in question obviously needs to bring this to the keys, preferably through his parish priest. If the parish priest thinks this might be something grave enough, he will refer the matter to the bishop (or his canon penitentiary or like official dealing with judicial matters reserved to the bishop). I seriously doubt that this host was consecrated and that sin was incurred by action, but sin may have been incurred by will, though mitigated by ignorance. It’s a matter for the Church to judge.

God bless.

closed #7

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