new low gluten hostJust curious: what do you make of Steve Skojec’s call for boycotting the reception of communion at Pope Francis’s outdoor Masses later this month? I don’t know about those less scrupulous than I, but this blog-post is scary enough to make me think of what would happen if we just had clergy celebrate Mass in hermetically sealed vaults and never let the laity receive Communion at all. Far safer, to be sure.

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Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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12 Responses to Boycott

  1. Jen says:

    The sacristan at my old parish (who’s now in your new diocese, I believe) made the comment that, “Yes, protect the Eucharist. But don’t forget that Jesus can take care of Himself, too.”

  2. Hi Todd. The following might help clear things up:

    The Church teachings about the fragments of the Eucharist

    The presumption that the question of how to perceive and handle the little broken pieces of the Eucharist must be a trivial one is totally mistaken and is not compatible with the official Church teachings. Actually, this question is one of the central and most serious issues facing everyone who practices the Catholic Faith. The question regarding the importance of the fragments of the Eucharist is the same as the question about whether Our Lord is really present in the fragments of the Eucharist or not. If there were no Real Presence of Our Lord in them, this question would indeed be a trivial one. The following are excerpts from the relevant teachings of the Church and the Saints.

    1. “The Eucharistic presence of Christ endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1377).

    2. “Do not now regard as bread that which I have given you; but take, eat this Bread, and do not tread upon (or crush, grind—conteratis) its crumbs (micas); for what I have called My Body, that it is indeed. One particle from its crumbs (e micis ejus) is able to sanctify thousands of thousands, and is sufficient to afford life to those who eat of it” (St. Ephrem, Hymni et sermons, IV, 4).

    3. “Partake of it, but be sure not to lose any of it. For if you lose any of it, you would clearly suffer a loss, as it were of your own limbs. Tell me, if anyone gave you gold dust, would you not take hold of it with every possible care, ensuring that you would not drop any of it or suffer any loss? So will you not be much more cautious to ensure that not a crumb falls away from that which is more precious than gold or precious stones?” (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechesis mystagogica V, 21-22, PG 33).

    4. “Also in every part of the consecrated host or the consecrated wine, when separated, the whole Christ is there” (Council of Florence (1438-1445), Decree for the Armenians, DS #1322).

    5. “In fact the faithful thought themselves guilty, and rightly so, if after they received the Body of the Lord in order to preserve it with all care and reverence, a small fragment of it fell off through negligence” (Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei, no. 58, September 3, 1965).

    6. “Receive it: be careful lest you lose any of it. Further, the practice which must be considered traditional ensures, more effectively, that holy communion is distributed with the proper respect, decorum and dignity. It removes the danger of profanation of the sacred species, in which, in a unique way, Christ, God and man, is present whole and entire, substantially and continually” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Memoriale Domini).

    7. “After Holy Communion, not only should the remaining Hosts and the particles that have fallen from them that retain the appearance of bread be reverently preserved or consumed, as the reverence due to Christ’s eucharistic Presence, but even for the other fragments of Hosts the directions for purifying the patens and chalice should be observed as they are found in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, De Particulis et fragmentis hostiarum reverenter conservandis vel sumendis, May 2, 1972).

    8. “Especially in the manner of receiving Holy Communion (in the hand) some points indicated from experience should be most carefully observed. Let the greatest diligence and care be taken particularly with regard to fragments, which perhaps break off the hosts. This applies to the minister and to the recipient whenever the Sacred Host is placed in the hands of the communicant” (Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments, Immensae Caritatis, January 25, 1973).


    • Todd says:

      Good advice, all, Steve. It would seem your audience would be most attuned to all this and take extra care. Perhaps Communion in the form of the Precious Blood would be more reverent, carefully distributed in flasks or other carefully structured containers. That said, this was all equally true in the years 1978-2013.

      • NorDog says:

        Are you really making snark about concerns regarding reverence toward the Eucharist?

        Did you really offer the false dichotomy of hermetically sealed vaults?

      • Todd says:

        Making snark about the scrupulous concern? Yes. Catholics have been celebrating Mass on the scale of stadiums for almost forty years. Suddenly this is a problem? Count me a skeptic on the 1P5 argument. But I do recall that at least one 16th century bishop argued against public Masses and the distribution of the Eucharist for precisely Steve’s reasons.

        Where would you draw the line? MSG as an indoor facility? A large cathedral or basilica even though it is a church?

  3. NorDog says:

    Are all concerns regarding reverence for the Eucharist at mass Masses scrupulous then?

    So, it’s snark and spiritual discernment of others is it?

  4. Todd says:

    All concerns? No. Just the more unusual ones.

    I think Steve and other like-minded commentators have to come up with something better than spiritual communion and offer something for their silence in 2008 and other years. It’s more of the Culture of Complaint.

    • NorDog says:

      But your snark does not seem to allow for the normal ones.

      Don’t you have issues with Eucharistic abuses, and the higher likelihood of them when the Eucharist is thrown out like Mardi Gras beads – as I understand has been the case?

      • Todd says:

        I don’t think Steve’s points are normal. But if he has a different view, good for him. As I said, the other advice he passed on is good to consider. My view of abuses might be a bit wider that his or yours. I’m far more concerned with abuses perpetrated on people during the celebration of the Eucharist.

  5. john says:

    Boycott is a strong germ. Perhaps Steve meant just don’t receive communion at this mass. I would never receive communion at an outdoor mass mainly because I would never attend such an event. I can’t imagine why people attend those things. Too many opportunities for scandal and gross abuses in àll forms.

  6. Todd says:

    “Boycott” isn’t a totally accurate term. I’m largely in agreement about thumbs down on outdoor Masses, but people attend for the expression of catholicity and identification as a Catholic believer on a large scale. And there’s the pope. It wouldn’t be my first choice to celebrate Mass, but the reward is worth the risk.

    As for scandal, sometimes that is overdone by complainers–people sometimes go looking for scandal. Gross abuse? That happens with persons.

  7. NorDog says:

    >>I’m far more concerned with abuses perpetrated on people during the celebration of the Eucharist.<<

    In my experience the two are inseparable.

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