Wine and Grape Juice for Consecration? [edited]

I went to lunch with a friend of mine today and got on the subject of wine vs grape juice being used in the Catholic Church. She is no longer a practicing Catholic but she said the priest that was at the church she used to go to would have both wine and grape juice. I have never heard of that so I couldn't comment one way or another. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing? :shrug:

Thanks.

A priest who is an alcoholic may concecrate mustum, which is a wine that has had its fermentation arrested so early that an alcoholic may drink it.

To the best of my knowledge, consecrated mustum is never to be consumed by anyone except an alcoholic priest who has permission to do so. If the Eucharist is to be offered under the species of wine, wine having the regularly-required percentage of alcohol has to be consecrated in another chalice or chalices. My understanding is that, because it is not necessary for anyone except the priest to consume the Eucharist under both species, it is an abuse for a priest to offer consecrated mustum to anyone else. If a person is alcoholic, they simply receive under one species.

If the priest were to attempt to consecrate grape juice that had not fermented at all, that would be invalid. It would just remain grape juice. Let us hope the priest in question never offered grape juice as if it were the Blessed Sacrament!!! It is also an abuse to offer the food of a regular meal in the same context with the Mass, so regular grape juice couldn't be offered even if it were meant and understood only as a "symbolic replacement" for the Precious Blood. "Very, very not OK", so to speak.

I have heard of Catholics with celiac disease who are also alcoholic asking for special permission to consume the Eucharist under the species of wine in the form of mustum, on the grounds that special reduced-gluten hosts still make them sick, but I have never heard whether or not such permission has ever been granted. In that theoretical case, it would be OK, of course. I've just never heard of that actually happening.

Some perfectly acceptable altar wines can taste extremely sweet to a person used to drinking the dry high-tannic wines that are used as dinner wines these days. Perhaps the communicant experienced two very different wines on two different days, and assumed the very sweet wine was juice?

I hope the priest had the grape juice for his after-Mass snack. If it was for Mass, there'd be a huge problem. Pure grape wine (without additives) is required for a valid Mass. The only exception is for cases where the priest is unable to consume wine, in which case a low-alcohol grape wine (aka "must") may be allowed. But never grape juice.

[quote="kitafraya, post:1, topic:184656"]
I went to lunch with a friend of mine today and got on the subject of wine vs grape juice being used in the Catholic Church. She is no longer a practicing Catholic but she said the priest that was at the church she used to go to would have both wine and grape juice. I have never heard of that so I couldn't comment one way or another. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing? :shrug:

Thanks.

[/quote]

I had a kid in my Youth Group tell me that a priest gave him grape juice for his First Holy Communion, because he had made a vow when he was little never to let alcohol cross his lips. (He's a really interesting kid.) I told him I consider it unlikely that what he was drinking was actually grape juice - or that if it was, then he was not in a Catholic Church. I don't know how likely that is, since I don't know his parents, but I have noticed that a lot of Catholic parents are very easily confused into thinking that Protestant ceremonies are "the same as" Catholic ceremonies.

My friend says at his Baptist church that they have grape juice, but I never heard of a Catholic church having that.

My friend was very insistant that the priest had wine and grape juice. I thought that was very odd. She said the priest that she used to go to used to do things differently. She now attends a Luthern Church. She tells me there is no difference. Ohhhh how wrong she is!!!!!! :eek:

This is what Redemptionis Sacramentum:

[50.] The wine that is used in the most sacred celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice must be natural, from the fruit of the grape, pure and incorrupt, not mixed with other substances.127 During the celebration itself, a small quantity of water is to be mixed with it. Great care should be taken so that the wine intended for the celebration of the Eucharist is well conserved and has not soured.128 It is altogether forbidden to use wine of doubtful authenticity or provenance, for the Church requires certainty regarding the conditions necessary for the validity of the sacraments. Nor are other drinks of any kind to be admitted for any reason, as they do not constitute valid matter.

I hope this helps

[quote="malphono, post:3, topic:184656"]
I hope the priest had the grape juice for his after-Mass snack. If it was for Mass, there'd be a huge problem. Pure grape wine (without additives) is required for a valid Mass. The only exception is for cases where the priest is unable to consume wine, in which case a low-alcohol grape wine (aka "must") may be allowed. But never grape juice.

[/quote]

What is the significance of alcohol? Why does the CC say it has to be there?

[quote="mmmcounts, post:8, topic:184656"]
What is the significance of alcohol? Why does the CC say it has to be there?

[/quote]

Wine is what was used at the Last Supper. Jesus' first miracle involved wine. Wine is also scriptural. The prophets said that when the Messiah would come, rivers of wine would flow. Wine gladdens the heart. Jesus chose the elements of bread and wine and transformed them into His Body and His Blood.

At the Last Supper, Jesus celebrated the Passover with the Twelve.

As I understand it, there is an obligation to drink four cups of wine during the Passover Seder (one at each of four prescribed points)... meaning "since that's what Jesus did, we (i.e. His Church) don't have the authority to change it."

Grape juice is just not right. I can remember watching the church ladies at the evangelical church I grew up pouring Juicy Juice into the little plastic cups in the kitchen before the service and thinking the whole "Lord's Supper" service thing was silly. Wine has dignity. :)

I've heard the whole "new wine = grape juice = what Jesus really used" argument. It doesn't wash, for a couple of reasons:

a) Wedding at Cana - the steward comments on the quality of the wine. Now there is an appreciable difference in the quality of different wines, but not of different grape juices. Ancient Israel was not like today where we have all sorts of chemical flavourings, colourings, preservatives and so on that affect the quality of a fruit juice, it would've all been good!

Nor would people serve inferior grape juice last at a celebration because after drinking good grape juice that they couldn't tell the difference later. It doesn't compute unless it's actual alcohol he's referring to.

b) Jesus was accused of being a glutton AND a drunkard - impossible if He stuck to grape juice.

c) Passover has often been discussed. 'Nuff said already.

d) The Apostles on Passover start speaking in a manner that is unintelligible to those listening, who sneer 'they must have been drinking new wine'. In other words the argument is 'they are drunk', as grape juice doesn't cause strange speech!

Not only that, Peter gets mortally offended at the suggestion and reminds his listeners that it is still only early morning. Why would anyone get offended at the suggestion that he had been drinking grape juice?

I love the 'they are the same thing' comment. Jesus didn't say 'do near enough to what I've done', He said 'do THIS' - in other words the same thing. If grape juice is the same thing as wine then attempting to observe the 'Lord's Day' on a Wednesday is exactly the same as truly observing it on a Sunday. :shrug:

A few years ago we had a parochial vicar (assistant to the main priest for those who do not know) who said several times he was an alcoholic before he became a Priest. He always took a sip of the Blood because he said it was no longer wine but the true blood of Christ. I thought growing up that a leopard can't change its spots but it can be done.

What do you get when you crush grapes?

You get WINE.

Why do you get wine?

Because fermentation starts immediatly from the yeast that floats in the air and lands on the skins.

Please remember the L&S forum is not the Apologetics forum. The context of this thread is the claim that a priest had both wine and grape juice for consecration, whether or not this could be the case, and if it is what should be done about it. Thank you all.

[edited]

Since the OP was talking to a non-practicing Catholic who was telling her about a situation in her distant past, there is not much to do, except to comment that grape juice isn't a valid substitute for grape wine, that only priests with an addiction to alcohol use mustum, and to hope that the friend was mistaken or had heard a rumor that was mistaken. It would be better not to conjecture about what kind of priest would do that or any of the rest, but to change the subject or turn it to a discussion of shared faith, instead.

Our friends and family should be able to turn to us (and we to them) when deciding what to do about a difficult situation, and there is profit to be had in talking about how one might contend with theoretical situations that could arise, but the fewer adamant pronouncements having to do with people not present using facts not in evidence on a case that we have no particular business giving counsel on, the better. While it is far easier said than done, keeping our mouths closed when we have nothing edifying to say is a witness to the Gospel, too, after all!

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