Visiting priests preaches on "bread-only" Mass

This morning we had a visiting priest – a long time military chaplain. Seemed like a nice man.

He told the story about his experience at a base in Fallujah, Iraq. Some troops were preparing to go out on an op and asked him to celebrate the Mass for him. He didn’t have a Mass kit with him (he didn’t explain why), but they were able to come up with “two slices of bread, a glass of water”, a pocket NT and the memorized prayers of the Mass and they were thus able to have Mass. He poo-pooed the need for anything else.

He said sometime later he learned the reader for the Mass had been killed during the op. He was so thankful that he had been able to celebrate the Mass for him before he was killed. I looked around and everyone was eating it up.

It brought to mind: “Can. 927 It is absolutely forbidden, even in extreme urgent necessity, to consecrate one matter without the other or even both outside the eucharistic celebration.” I was aware of this canon after reading stories about Catholic priests who always kept a morsel of bread on hand while in POW camps during WWII, should a sympathetic guard allow them a teaspoon of wine which would allow them to celebrate the Mass.

I realize the bread WAS confected into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, yet the Mass itself would have been invalid and what the priest intentionally did is “forbidden even in extreme urgent necessity” by canon law.

So what gives? Did the priest do the right thing, or was he wrong to do what he did under wartime circumstances? It seems like he did was gravely wrong. What’s done is done though. To preach about it today as if it was something to be proud of, left me cold.

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Phones at the Diocese will be ringing on Monday morning.


That would not be a mass. A mass is a sacrifice, and a sacrifice requires the victim to be slayed. The double consecration is the slaying of the victim; without the second consecration, there is no slain victim present.

I doubt it. People around me were lapping it up like it was a milkshake. The deacon added “all I could think about during your homily were priests celebrating the Mass on the hoods of Jeeps during WWII.”

This sorta stuff really makes me wonder. No matter how serious the direction from the Church, can they be ignored on the fly during exigent circumstances? I would hope any Catholic priest would be aware that it’s a huge NO-NO to only consecrate one species. Yet in this case he did and then he preached about it.

This is precisely the sort of thing that someone someday will say “only bread and water is needed, father said so!”

Maybe it’s best to remain ignorant? I knew of Canon 927 only after reading about WWII and becoming interested in what priests faced in concentration camps…

No. The bread (presuming it actually was wheat bread) WOULD have been transformed into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. The Mass would have been invalid though.

Transubstantiation would have happened, yes, but it would not have been a mass PERIOD. The mass is a sacrifice and a representation of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. No sacrifice occurs until the priest consecrates the wine. The slaying of the victim is not at the first consecration, but at the second

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Wonder Bread has ingredients other than wheat and water. Invalid matter, cannot be transubstantiated.

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It’s a grave abuse no matter the circumstances. If he had even a teaspoon of wine it could have been a valid Mass.
Father could have given the troops absolution, a blessing, and prayed with them rather than attempting Mass without the elements essential to Mass.


That’s not true. While Wonder Bread does have other ingredients in it, it can still be confected into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity because it’s still principally bread made from wheat flour. It’s abusive, but it’s not like trying to consecrate a tri-tip roast or a Polish sausage.

It would have been an invalid Mass, “PERIOD.”

I know that when I produce the documents, you will find a comma or the color of the paper that means you are correct. You MIGHT want to check the documents from the CDF that contain words like “The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition.”

You’re wrong to suggest the use of Wonder Bread would invalidate the Mass. It would not. The use of the Wonder Bread would be illicit however. Conversely if someone tried to use BBQed spareribs in place of approved wheat hosts, it would indeed invalidate the Mass.

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Invalid Mass end of story.

Some priest and Catholics are just irreligious.

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It is not valid matter for the Eucharist.

The requirement is not such a low standard of “principally bread made from wheat flour.”

Once anything (yes anything) other than wheat flour, water, (and in the East a little leavening and maybe a tiny bit of salt) are added, the bread immediately becomes classified as “questionable matter”

The brand name Wonder Bread has so many other ingredients that it is no longer even questionable matter. It is invalid matter. It has milk and oils and syrups and sugars and all sorts of other ingredients.


It’s not licit material for the celebration of the Mass. Its use won’t invalidate a Mass however.

It’s sad too, because he seemed like a nice guy and he had been a military chaplain for years…

Again, it is not valid matter.


The priest’s decision to do this in a combat situation is on his conscience. I’d like to know why he didn’t have his Mass kit handy, unless he had just accidentally lost it dodging from enemy fire or it got blown up in a bombardment or something.

Preaching about it like he deserves a cookie for it is going a bit far though.

He probably is a nice guy. People make mistakes. People also break the rules sometimes when they think they have good reasons. The Lord will probably forgive him. He probably still should have used some better judgment through this whole situation though.

Is there in fact a canon that says a priest may not consecrate bread outside of Mass? I don’t mean celebrate a Mass, I mean consecrate bread.

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