Desecrating the Eucharist

Desecrating the Eucharist

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf links to the blog of a young Traditionalist fellow in Singapore who relates the disturbing tale of someone who desecrated a Eucharist at Mass by walking off without consuming It. They couldn’t be sure he hadn’t consumed the Host without subjecting him to a strip search, but they were fairly certain.

He doesn’t say whether this was during a Tridentine Mass or a regular Novus Ordo, but the blogger Deo Juvante does hint that this was a case of Communion in the hand leading to this abuse, thus I bet it was the latter kind of Mass. You just don’t see Communion in the hand at Tridentine Masses.

Ironically, it was the arrival of Isabella that led me back to receiving on the tongue. I will grant that Communion in the hand can lead to abuse and desecration and blasphemy, but I was always most reverent and the only reason I continued the practice was because I liked to emulate what I saw a holy priest do as he consumed the Host, reverencing It with a kiss first. But then, Mother Church is wise and there are reasons not to do such things, even for good reasons.

Why I changed my practice

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  • I personally receive on the tongue when I am not the celebrant or concelebrant.  But there are dangers here as well.

    Very often in parish ministry, the folks who are most desirous of receiving on the tongue are the elderly, and sadly, they often move or shake somewhat (their eyes are often closed and I think this adds to their unsteadiness).  I have often had the unpleasant experience of “missing” their tongue just a bit, and then having the host drop—sometimes to the floor but sometimes onto or into their garments.

    I guess the lesson is that no system is foolproof.

    As to “intinction,” it is actually the preferred method of distributing Communion, but not self-intinction.  And if Communion by intinction were to catch on, we’d need to bring back altarboys with the large patens held under the communicant’s chin—remember those?  Not a bad idea, all in all.

  • My daughter is in Campus Ministry at a high school in Atlanta. After masses in the gym, she has found it necessary to scour the floor in search of unconsumed hosts.

    At a local church here on the South Shore of MA, unconsumed hosts have been found on the floor following the weekly teen Mass.

    Fathet Tom DiLorenzo claims the going price for a consecrated host on the street of Rome is $25 in American money.He also claims they are purchased for the sole purpose of desecration, and it happens everywhere.

    Again, the problem is BAD CATECHESIS.

    One funny thing – at a recent Mass I watched the expression on the celebrant’s face when a communicant fell to his knees to receive on his tongue. Surprise, confusion, and disgust all at once.

    I say let’s go back to the altar rail !

  • Chris, honestly, I can’t keep the two different terms straight and thought I was using the new acceptable term. And I think the difference is subtle enough that most people won’t know the difference. There are much bigger battles to fight, namely the use of EMHCs altogether.

    (Hmm, now that I think of it EMHC reminds me of the Emergency Medical Hologram (EMH) on Star Trek Voyager. I doubt I’ll forget it now.)

  • As one who came back to receiving on the tongue I can identify with a number of the above comments. I find the arguments for receiving in the hand dishonest in the way much of the 60’S style arguments are. They are designed to create the desired situation rather than justify it.

    Argument 1. We are more mature in the 20th Century and don’t need to receive on the tongue. We can be just as reverent receiving in the hand. Well, yes, I have known many faithful Catholics who do so BUT take a look at the Communion line any Sunday Mass and see how many flippantly receive it, shove it in their mouths or show obvious sign of disrespect for what they are doing. Receiving on the tongue helps those whose faith is not as strong to understand what they are doing. It is not the reverent but the irreverent that we must help and strengthen.

    Argument 2. It is quicker and more efficient (this goes with the tram lines). Again this is disingenuous. It assumes the solution and then finds a problem to fit it to. The altar rail was just as efficient and what’s more allows timje for prayer without disturbing the flow of the communion line. I find communion lines lead to jostling and being hurried on to avoid blocking others. Again its about justifying the desired solution not solving a perceived problem.

    Argument 3. There is a danger of the host falling on the floor, clothes etc. Fr Jim’s concern, mentioned above, is answered in his last para. It i only a problem because no-one uses the communion plate anymore. Even with elderly people or indeed elderly priests this was not a problem as if it did fall it simply fell on the paten. Bring back the paten and the problem is resolved. The only reason we don’t is because again the object is not to solve a problem but to impose a pre-determined solution.

  • Our parish still uses altar boys (boys only, I might add) and patens. At the daily Masses, we just started receiving Communion by intinction. The priest has a ciborium with a small metal cup in the center to hold the Precious Blood. There are usually 75-100 people at the daily Mass and the Communion line moves just as rapidly as before. It does seem more reverent to have everyone receiving on the tongue. I had started receiving on the tongue in the last year anyway. I am not sure why. I just felt called to do so.