When, if ever, does a consecrated host cease to be the Real Presence?

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ajancola

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I recently was on line for communion when the priest paused and watched a man, two people in front of me, walk away after having given him communion. He asked the person in front of me if he put it in his pocket? The person was questioned and ultimately left alone, but it raised a question for me: if a nonbeliever follows the line up to receive the Eucharist, not knowing what it is or what to do, but just following everyone else, and does just put it in his pocket and forgets about it or throws it away later, does it remain the Eucharist? Is that just one of the sacrifices Jesus suffers for us? Someone told me that when the host ceases to have the appearance of bread it ceases to be the Eucharist (i.e., when it is digested), but I have been unable to find anything the church has written on it. Does anyone know anything about this, or about where I can find out?
 
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ajancola:
I recently was on line for communion when the priest paused and watched a man, two people in front of me, walk away after having given him communion. He asked the person in front of me if he put it in his pocket? The person was questioned and ultimately left alone, but it raised a question for me: if a nonbeliever follows the line up to receive the Eucharist, not knowing what it is or what to do, but just following everyone else, and does just put it in his pocket and forgets about it or throws it away later, does it remain the Eucharist? Is that just one of the sacrifices Jesus suffers for us? Someone told me that when the host ceases to have the appearance of bread it ceases to be the Eucharist (i.e., when it is digested), but I have been unable to find anything the church has written on it. Does anyone know anything about this, or about where I can find out?
In my knowledge, the essence of Christ in the appearance of Bread and Wine remains as long as the appearance itself still exists. I certainly would like to see more (name removed by moderator)ut in this matter.
 
According to the Churchs teaching:
USCCB:
Do the consecrated bread and wine cease to be the Body and Blood of Christ when the Mass is over?

No. During the celebration of the Eucharist, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, and this they remain. They cannot turn back into bread and wine, for they are no longer bread and wine at all. There is thus no reason for them to change back to their “normal” state after the special circumstances of the Mass are past. Once the substance has really changed, the presence of the Body and Blood of Christ “endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist” (Catechism, no. 1377). Against those who maintained that the bread that is consecrated during the Eucharist has no sanctifying power if it is left over until the next day, St. Cyril of Alexandria replied, “Christ is not altered, nor is his holy body changed, but the power of the consecration and his life-giving grace is perpetual in it” (Letter 83, to Calosyrius, Bishop of Arsinoe [PG 76, 1076]). The Church teaches that Christ remains present under the appearances of bread and wine as long as the appearances of bread and wine remain (cf. Catechism, no. 1377).
 
This part of the quote
“endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist”
Is the main point. Digestion chemically alters the bread and wine, therefore, the species no longer exists and therefore ceases to the the Body and Blood. Simply removing the Host from the church building, or treating irreverantly, like putting it in your pocket, does not alter it in any way. I would say that, yes, this is one of the indignities that Christ suffers for us. But in the case of a non-Catholic who doesn’t understand or believe, I don’t think God would blame him for making this particular mistake. It’s another instance of “forgive them, they know not what they do.”
 
Don’t put this in stone, but I think there is an exception. If someone carelessly (God forbid!) mixes the blood with a substantial amount of wine (i.e. the cup contains over 50% wine), I have heard that since the blood is indistinguishable from the wine, the blood ceases to exist.

Again, I am not sure if this is true, but I have heard it before. Perhaps someone else can give this confirmation or lay it to rest.
 
I can’t think of many other topics that scare or bother me more than desecration of the Eucharist. I have a terrible fear that someday I may accidentally drop the Consecrated Host or that, as I’m carrying one of my children, I somehow spill Jesus’ blood. I’m simply horrified at the thought of that happening. And I have to pray extra hard not to go crazy when I see someone chewing gum DURING MASS and then going up to receive Communion. Did they spit out the gum first? Did they just mix Jesus’ body with a stick of gum? Argh!
 
Some parishes are finding that desecration or disrespect of the Eucharist has become more commonplace. Ushers have found discarded hosts in pews. In one instance I know of, a recent convert from the RCIA accepted the host in her hand, then started to walk away. The priest stopped her and asked that she consume the host. That of course, should be common knowledge. We must consumer the host immediately, not carry it back to the pew. Once consecreated, the Eucharistic species remains the body and blood of Christ, since the substance of bread and wine is gone; and only the appearances remain.

JimG
 
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Sanosuke:
Don’t put this in stone, but I think there is an exception. If someone carelessly (God forbid!) mixes the blood with a substantial amount of wine (i.e. the cup contains over 50% wine), I have heard that since the blood is indistinguishable from the wine, the blood ceases to exist.

Again, I am not sure if this is true, but I have heard it before. Perhaps someone else can give this confirmation or lay it to rest.
When the proper substance no longer exists, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity ceases its Real Presence. In other words, adding a large quantity of *water *to the cup following consecration would remove from the Sacrament the proper substance, and the Real Presence would end.

If unconsecrated wine were added to the cup, that would not remove from the consecrated wine, the Precious Blood, the nature of its proper substance. Therefore, I think what you would have is a mixture of wine and Precious Blood, that must be consumed with reverence. Alternatively, one might add a copious amount of water to dilute the mixture to remove from it all possibility of being proper substance.

An interesting question.

Regards.
 
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the_geezer:
When the proper substance no longer exists, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity ceases its Real Presence. In other words, adding a large quantity of *water *to the cup following consecration would remove from the Sacrament the proper substance, and the Real Presence would end.

If unconsecrated wine were added to the cup, that would not remove from the consecrated wine, the Precious Blood, the nature of its proper substance. Therefore, I think what you would have is a mixture of wine and Precious Blood, that must be consumed with reverence. Alternatively, one might add a copious amount of water to dilute the mixture to remove from it all possibility of being proper substance.

An interesting question.

Regards.
Careful with that question.

There was a time*, I am told, when it was thought you could perform “consecration by admixture” – That is: If more wine were added to the precious blood, because the two liquids would mix thuroughly, the whole of the cup could be considered consecrated. If this were true, however, it would be impossible to purify the sacred vessels (no matter how many water rinses were used)!

(* When was this time I know not. It sounds like a medival belief, but I thought it was only recently that one might desire large amounts of the precious blood for distribution? Maybe my informant was pulling my leg?)
 
For certain accidents, I believe the consecrated host should be completely dissolved in water and poured down the church’s sacrarium which leads directly into the ground. By dissolving the host, the appearances of bread cease and I would presume the Real Presence ceases as well. Interesting to think about.
 
Under no circumstances is the Precious Blood to be mixed with wine. It is a sin of the gravest kind and according to Canon Law 1367 carries latae sententiae excommunication, meaning by doing the act you are excommunicated no questions asked. This can only be lifted by the Holy See. The same applies for any desecration of a consecrated host or the Precious Blood. This penalty is incurred even if the person doesn’t know that what they are doing is wrong.

That doesn’t mean that consecrated hosts cannot be disposed of in a proper manner, mainly consuming them or disolving them in water in a reverent manner then dumping that water down a sacrarium or consuming the water, or if the need arises digging a hole and pouring the water into it and then covering the hole. Mixing water with the Precious Blood is also the proper way of disposing or purifying vessals that held the Precious Blood. The sacred elements cease to be sacred elements when the accidents of bread and wine are gone. Aka if Precious Blood is dripped onto clothing without being noticed and then dries it is no longer the Precious Blood.

Additionally, these days, priests and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion have to be careful not to allow people to carry of the Eucharist due to people engaging in black masses using them for the most heinous purposes.
 
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