Ohhhhhh… no. That’s just… wrong!

Am I off base here or is this just… wrong?

This comes to you from purity solutions: "artistic World-Class Churchware Proudly Mass in the USA for Over 60 Years".

D’ya s’pose they have a ShamWOW in liturgical colors for those pesky Precious Blood Dispenser accidents?


Okay… I thought at first…. this is a fluke… but now I see there is a regular industry around the idea.

A better look…

And look at that great button!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. crnugent says:

    First! I agree….

  2. Melania says:

    This is a joke, right? Even as a joke this is in very poor taste. If real, this is another example of H1N1 hysteria. Abominable!

  3. Henry Edwards says:

    I didn’t see a Precious Blood Dispenser offered there. Don’t they realize the fullness of sign that subsists in communion in both kinds? Obviously they need to sell matching squirt bottles also. Maybe market them in boxes of a dozen, for these parishes where EMHC chalice bearers are scheduled by the dozen.

  4. patrick_f says:

    Where the devout catholic should be saddened is that the Lord has been reduced to “dispensible”, This device, in my opinion, is blasphemous to say the least [I think you may mean sacrilegious.]

  5. It is a Eucharistic PEZ machine.

    What’s next? A Super-Soaker for priests to use during the Asperges Me rite?

    (Asperges me, Domine, super-soakero et mundabor, lavabis me, et super (soaker) nivem dealbabor.)

  6. One word…sacrilegious…

  7. Patrick: The super soaker is actually a pretty good idea, especially with a large congregation.

    But let me ask everyone a question.

    Right away this gives Catholics pause.

    And yet it is permissible to use an instrument of some kind for the distribution of Holy Communion. For example, Eastern Catholics receive Host and Precious Blood from a small spoon. Of course there is liquid involved.

    But if memory serves – and I am working from memory and ask correction if wrong – it is permissible in some situations to administer Communion with a tong or tweezer of some sort. In the Latin Church that is clearly an exception to the usual practice.

    I think we sense that this is different… but how?

  8. Allena says:


    Why is it that many people believe in the real presence…but can’t grasp that you will not get cooties from God? Even people in our traditional parish are getting all freaky about this stoopid floo thing. God doesn’t have cooties people! And if someone gets their cooties on God…He’s GOD and can poof the cooties into nonexistence. Or he can take the cooties outside of time so they are harmless, or he could re-engineer them to be beneficial microbes that make you smarter/heal the sick and cause cancer to be cured, liberals to be converted…the possibilities are well…infinite.

  9. gloriainexcelsis says:

    To quote Charlie Brown, “AAAUGH!”

  10. Melody says:

    Firstly, this just makes me shudder.

    Father asks an interesting question, what makes this different?

    I think Patrick Madrid answered that already when he noted that it’s a Eucharistic PEZ machine.
    I’ve noticed that whenever the Church incorporates some object into the celebration, it is somehow distinguished from ordinary profane use. Some in the Church once used straws for the precious blood, because they were associated with royalty at the time.

    This thing doesn’t glorify God at all or enhance the rite. It’s an object meant to aid in worldly convenience, resembling the cup dispenser in my bathroom.
    Moreover it damages the act of Christ handing Himself over to us.

  11. irishgirl says:

    I keep asking this question-what was done in the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic with regards to the administering of Holy Communion?

    Allena-I like your ‘cooties’ rant!

  12. Marius2k4 says:


    Haha, lovely.

    I’ve always been of the belief, similar to St. Benedict when he prayed over the poisoned cup, that in reverently receiving the Sacrament, no ill will come to me. Whatever be God’s will, let it be; I, however, will not allow fear of the worldly to come between myself and proper reception of the Sanctissimum Sacramentum. God will allow as he sees fit.

  13. Choirmaster says:

    Are we sure that this is marketed primarily to Catholics?

    If you watch the advertisement video on their website, it shows a bunch of ladies, while loading the dispensers, also decanting wine into small shot-glasses in some sort of jig or tray. That is not allowed, even in the Novus Ordo.

    I did not find any evidence on their website that made me think that this was in any way marketed for Catholics (other than a news report that a Catholic Diocese in Vermont has issued a warning about people maybe getting sick).

    Nevertheless, I know of many zealous parish priests that jump at any quasi-liturgical novelty product like this.

  14. Magpie says:

    That’s just mad. I had a look at the rest of the site – it’s not a joke.

  15. MichaelJ says:

    If it makes any difference, I do not think that the company is Catholic or is marketing to Catholics. Briefly looking at the site, they refer to the “bread plate”, “disposable wine cups” and similar terms that I would not expect a Catholic to use.

  16. MargaretMN says:

    OK, I just don’t get it. How is this supposed to be hygienic? Does it shoot out of the machine into a person’s mouth or hand? It at least requires good aim on the part of the priest. I also don’t get the claims about how it helps clergy since they still have to be there to use it. The special body+blood version of the hosts sounds wrong too. It sounds like they presoak the hosts, then priests consecrate on site, or they bake in some kind of dry wine additive into the hosts ahead of time. Either way, doesn’t sound too good. And for all the hoopla about how artistic this device is, it still looks like a metal urinal with a cross on the side, especially in a hospital context.

  17. Yes, it’s just plain wrong!

    I do think that Fr. Z asks a good question, however, regarding the use of an instrument of some kind in a unique circumstance. I could possibly envision a situation in which tweezers (or something similar) could reverently be used in a hospital situation — but that would certainly be the exception and not the rule. (And the emphasis would still be on “reverently”!) After all, I am aware of situations in which a nurse has performed an emergency baptism of an infant using a hypodermic needle full of sterile water. Again, not the usual method — but with valid intent.

  18. Nathan says:

    All, just a bit of context. I looked around their site for a bit, and it is clearly a firm that makes religious goods for Protestants. The video has the “church ladies” filling the dispenser, then the plate of little grape juice glasses, all set out in a clearly Protestant church. All of their “Communion Sets” for sale (even their non-hygenic ones) are obviously not intended for the Holy Mass. This setup and accoutrements were exactly the same years ago when I grew up Methodist.

    Given the mainline Protestant beliefs about the Holy Eucharist, as well as their lack of valid orders, such gadgets would probably not offend their sensibilities. The lack of a claim that their services are anything close to Holy Mass should at least mitigate some of the worries about sacrilege.

    Taking that into account, their all-in-one “Body+Blood Commmunion Host” with both species built in could be taken in a very humorous way, especially the claim that it “Eliminates the need for a separate chalice or individual cups of wine, there is no unused wine that must be disposed of.”

    In Christ,

  19. Marcy K. says:

    Think of it as a time saver! Mount it on the wall and people can just pop in for a few moments on a Sunday and get Communion. Who needs to waste all that time listening to the bible and the boring homily at Mass. I bet it will save on the church’s heating and cooling bills too!

  20. smeej says:

    Read the history part too. A couple of brothers were wanting to create a set with which they could “receive communion” anywhere on the go. As an Evangelical teenager, I once was instructed to dig through a trashcan, looking for a “treasure”. It wound up being a cracker and box of fruit juice, and it had instructions on how I was supposed to receive communion. I’m now fairly horrified that it happened, even knowing that it was, at best, symbolic in the loose sense of the term.

    It seems to be fairly clearly intended for those whose theology of Holy Communion is very, very low. And really, why not dispense bread from a dispenser? I wish they’d make one for Pringles, because that sounds like it could make office lunch much more entertaining.

  21. pcstokell says:

    One more for the ashheap of liturgical history, right along with distributing the Precious Blood with a silver straw…

  22. ghlad says:

    A sterile “dispenser” for a sterile faith.

  23. ghlad says:

    Argh, accidentally posted before my 2nd line, which was going to be:

    I’ll still receive my Lord’s Body manually, thanks.

  24. john 654 says:

    I’ll take my Lord on the Tongue Please!

  25. Nathan says:

    Perhaps the best commentary on this comes from the sheriff in “Cool Hand Luke:” “What we got here is a Failure to Communicate.”

    In Christ,

  26. chonak says:

    It’s plastic, and not even lined with gold. Tsk, tsk.

    Seriously, this is using a utensil for a different reason than the approved utensils (spoon, straw).

    Those are tools of neatness for the sake of reverence, to avoid spills or other indignities to the Eucharist. This is done for the sake of hygiene against invisible germs, to protect the minister and the recipient of the sacrament from theoretically contaminating each other.

    So it’s a case of misplaced priorities, an act that reduces human contact, coupled with an insult to the persons involved.

  27. ejcmartin says:

    What a great idea! Soon we can have video link-up every Sunday to hear our “Parish Cluster” priest celebrate with his six parishes simulaneously. Then just line up single file to receive Communion from the Eucharistic PEZ machine. Hand takers to the left, tongue takers to the right (after signing the communicable disease waiver of course). The future is here!

  28. Tom A. says:

    At first it looked to me to be a Curt Jester spoof (I am sure he is kicking himself thinking why he didn’t think of it first), but I see it is serious. If it is for Protestants then really who cares, it’s only wheat. The only use for Catholics could be prior to Mass where the faithful dispense a wafer in preparation of Mass in order to only consecrate an certain number of hosts, much like we used to do in military chapels that had no Tabernacle. But in those situations, I agree some sort of dignified thongs would be more appropriate. The whole PEZ dispenser aspect is too, shall I say profane.

  29. Eric says:

    These are probably for Protestants.
    I own a Catholic book store and every once in while I will get a panicked looking person come in and ask for a “communion set.”
    The first time it happened I asked them (sorry bad grammer, I can’t remeber if it was a him or a her) what a “communion set” was.
    They looked at me like I had no business working in a religious store and said,”You know, the little plastic sqeeze bottle and set of plastic cups.”
    After shuddering for a minute, I said, “No, we don’t carry those.”

  30. mpm says:

    “I think we sense that this is different… but how?” – Fr. Z

    The “tongs/tweezers” are, I believe, used with intinction.

    How is it different? IMO, the spoon, intinction, etc., are “natural” ways of dispensing food from one person to another. This eucharistic PEZ dispenser (I had same reaction about it as Patrick) is a mechanical, impersonal, non-meaningful (signum) abomination.

    For even greater efficiency, why not have the “eucharistic M-16”, with a preloaded 500 “cartridge” clip, which the priest can use to “spray” the congregation in one minute. Foul.

    I’m sorry if I offended anyone.

  31. trad catholic mom says:

    This must be a joke.

  32. RichardT says:

    It dispenses from the bottom, which suggests that it is for communion in the hand (think about the logistics; for communion on the tongue, the priest would have to hold the device over the communicant’s head). Perhaps we should ask them to produce a “traddy” version that dispenses from the top, for communion on the tongue.

    But there is worse. Click on “products” and look down near the bottom:
    “Body + Blood Communion Host”
    “Eliminates the need for a separate chalice”
    “no unused wine that must be disposed of”

    The whole website is horrible.

  33. irishgirl says:

    I used to work in a Catholic bookstore. Besides the usual ‘Catholic things’ [Rosaries, medals, etc] various church goods were also sold [vestments, hosts…no wine, state no-no]. Had customers for the church goods that were Protestant clergy/laity as well as Catholic. Had a lot of church goods catalogues that they could order from. So I saw the ‘trays’ for the Protestant bread in the catalogues. The little plastic cups for the wine were available, too-they came in little plastic ‘sleeves’.

  34. LarryD says:

    And when it’s empty, you can refill it with Neccos.

    Even if it’s not intended for Catholics, it still borders on the sacrilegious. I mean, if germs are what they’re concerned with, why not have the priest wear plastic gloves like those used in the food service industry?

  35. DCtrad says:

    “What’s next? A Super-Soaker for priests to use during the Asperges Me rite?”

    -Patrick Madrid

    In mass no way! But what about pehaps exorcism,It would be pretty cool to blast the devils with this:


  36. Rob Cartusciello says:

    They’re doing it all wrong. It should be a PEZ dispenser with a little flip up head of Jesus on the top.

    I’d suggest a line of saint’s heads as well, but I don’t think the folks using these would ascribe to the Communion of Saints.

    Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.

  37. patrick_f says:

    “[I think you may mean sacrilegious.]”

    thank you for pointing that out, thats one word that came to mind too, and its a definate better word. I guess I was so overly offended by the item, which, in itself, to me, almost mocks the sacrament (thus my Blaspgemy thought). Here, recieving communion has been reduced to “being dispensed”. You can almost hear the Lord saying “Who Touched my Cloak”

    This is different, because it doesnt take meticulous care and respect of the Eucharist. It also has a feel of a vending machine, which to me, profains the Sacrament.

    Other questions arise, is it made from a precious metal for one? Are we to wait for the priest to “Load it up” during the Agnus Dei? Purification, how does one properly purify an over glorified Pez Dispenser. AHHH THAT’s IT. It reminds me of a Pez Dispenser.

    The Lord isnt Pez candy. So yes, that is where the difference is. Our Lord is a gift, not something you just line up to get because everyone else is.

  38. Brian K says:

    One of our local priests already dispenses the Eucharist pes style. He grabs a stack of consecrated hosts in his palm and slides them out one at a time between his thumb and index finger.

    Maybe this would actually be an improvement?

  39. I honestly thought this was a joke until I clicked the link. Then I realized with horror that this is a real product. I sincerely hope I never see one of these little gems in my parish, but I fear that someday I will.

    John P.

  40. AndyMo says:

    It looks like a staple gun. They should call it a Jesus Gun.

  41. q7swallows says:

    I am sputtering. 

    That dispenser is the ultimate sterile incarnation of the hermeneutic of discontinuity!  The entire *bodily* connection with Jesus is severed with that little monstrosity!

    Discontinued would be the Touch of His Hands in healing, the blessing from His Hands, His lifting of the dead, the laying on of His Hands upon the heads of the apostles, the feeding of them at the Last Supper — that benificent Touch of the Great High Priest which has come down to us for centuries through His priests — would be stopped by a little scrappy tube of metal (no matter what it’s made out of)?!  In the name of “hygiene”?! 

    What is being said here except that He, in His Eucharistic Body, somehow does not have charge over the smaller kingdom of pestilence?!  Is this not a temptation of faith in His Real Presence?!  

    Even if I were to contract H1N1 flu from taking Holy Communion on my tongue from a priest, the chances of my death being a holy one are exponentially increased since It would be my Viaticum.  Is there a better way to go?! 

  42. Dr. Eric says:

    “I’ve always been of the belief, similar to St. Benedict when he prayed over the poisoned cup, that in reverently receiving the Sacrament, no ill will come to me. Whatever be God’s will, let it be; I, however, will not allow fear of the worldly to come between myself and proper reception of the Sanctissimum Sacramentum. God will allow as he sees fit.”

    The Precious Blood can’t be contaminated, but that doesn’t mean that the Chalice can’t have something added to it:


  43. AndyMo says:

    I agree with Nathan. Their press release:


    It mentions approval from Anglican bishops. On second reading, this is exactly the kind of thing I expect from the ECUSA.

  44. Allena says:

    Oh thank God this isn’t for actual consecrated hosts phew. IF it’s just for plain bread protestants use, then it’s actually kind of funny, although a sad example of how empty the ceremony they celebrate is…

    So, do ya think they shoot out machine gun like and you could yell PEW PEW PEW!?!

  45. thereseb says:

    “Even if it’s not intended for Catholics, it still borders on the sacrilegious. I mean, if germs are what they’re concerned with, why not have the priest wear plastic gloves like those used in the food service industry”

    And a plastic apron

    And a hairnet, like you have to in a biscuit factory.

    Fr Z – in a hairnet…..no – can’t quite see it.

  46. pelerin says:

    The idea of a super soaker made me laugh.

    It also reminded me of the outdoor Mass for the Assumption in Lourdes this year. The temperature was approaching 40C and to cool us down as Mass started there were a couple of men walking through the crowds with large plastic containers spraying water over us all. This was most welcome in the heat but I was amused to see several people cross themselves as the water flew over. Perhaps they thought this was a new way of distributing the asperges!

  47. Cantuale says:

    While watching the video adv I was wondering: “Must be difficult to catch Jesus with your tongue if that device is used!” hi hi hi!
    It is really incredible how the influenza madness has been infecting the churches more than the actual virus.

  48. Brian Day says:

    Fr Z – in a hairnet…..no – can’t quite see it.

    Thereseb: Don’t give Vincenzo any ideas!

  49. kenoshacath says:

    Apparently this blog is only for entertainment purposes and shock value. VERY SAD!

  50. Nathan says:

    Thereseb: As long as Father has the hairnet attached to his biretta…

  51. rinkevichjm says:

    Obviously intended for Baptists and others who only admit a spiritual (if they admit any) presence. Of course, for Catholics it would be an insult to Christ to use this even if it was made of pure gold.

  52. Gabriella says:

    It’s just PLAIN WRONG :(

  53. Trad Tom says:

    I guess I’m glad to read that it’s really for protestant communion, but I find the whole thing — the whole idea! — not only sacreligious but so very sad.

  54. Trad Tom says:

    oooops! Spelling error: sacrilegious

  55. Eric says:

    From unother part of their site.

    Ecclesiastically correct; no unleavening agent and are made with wheat flour.

    Gotta hate them unleavening agents.

  56. paladin says:

    Wow. Truth is either stranger than fiction, or it follows it, or both. When I was in the seminary, I remember joking with someone about the “ultra-mod, ultra-quickie” trends, and we hypothesized a Eucharistic ATM machine: where you put in your PIN code (to prove that you were Catholic), touched [YES] for the disclaimer about being in a state of grace (yes, we were optimists, even in our funnies), and saw a final screen which read:

    “The Body of Christ.”
    [AMEN] [CANCEL] (Push one.)

    …followed by an automatic dispensing of the host, easily reachable from one’s car window. (How the other passengers received, we didn’t yet figure out, since passing the Host from person to person would have been a violation of the norms, after all! :) )

    Seriously, though: can someone explain to me how this… this… “THING”… could possibly be more sanitary than receiving from the hands of someone else (so long as the minister had washed his hands)? Wouldn’t there be people who touch the doo-hickey and potentially contaminate everyone else in line, anyway?

  57. Mike says:

    I don’t like it. A few years ago, I received from the chalice at Mass, something I usually don’t do. Day later, horrible flu. I mentioned this to a devout friend, a retired doctor, and he said along with Our Lord’s Precious Blood, you got the Cross too.

    Even so, this machine doesn’t work for me. We receive Him from the hands of men. We share in the fallen world, lifted and redeemed by Grace. Blessed be suffering!

    Blessed be holy prudence, too!

  58. catholicmidwest says:

    Look at that! Automated extraordinary ministers.

  59. Felicitas says:

    I can just imagine Fr. F going down the communion rail with one of those things: “ker-CHUNK. … ker-CHUNK. … ker-CHUNK.”

  60. Mike Morrow says:

    I don’t know if it’s proper to dismiss in such an off-hand manner as many are doing. Since it is designed for Protestant use, it would just be a logical progression in the 40 year old Annibale (il Cannibale) Bug-nini liturgy.

    I think it should be battery-powered, with some LEDs flashing the appropriate liturgical colors, and a LCD showing the number that have been served since Advent, and a smaller display and audio tone to warn the dispenser when the magazine is nearly empty so it can be re-loaded before all the ammo is gone.

    Of course, there’ll be some reactionary traditionist troublemakers that will reject its use, but it’s been demonstrated that the bishops will hop on board and suppress right-wing liturgical fascists.

  61. Joshua08 says:

    I hate to be too harsh here, but my experience with celiacs and others to whom the reception of Communion does often carry physical risk leads me to this

    to allena and others who think that the Host or the Precious Blood cannot carry disease- I understand that such a belief is motivated by piety and that God can, when He wills, prevent through another miracle contagions from being spread or the accidents of the Sacrament from harming anyone, yet to believe that as such the Sacramental Species cannot carry contagions or harm anyone is wrong theologically and practically.

    The accidents of bread and wine wholly remain. This means everything which comes under sensation, whether under a microcope or in a chemical reaction. The very real accidents that belong to wine as an alcoholic beverage remain and one an get drunk off the Precious Blood. A celiac can get sick or die from the accidents that follow upon gluten. And germs and virus can live on the Host or in the Precious Blood as well as they can on regular wine and bread. Hence low-gluten hosts, or even separate Chalices are used to accommodate celiacs and mustrum is used at times, by dispensation, for priests recovering from alcoholism.

    Now this contraption depicted is a travesty of course. The guidelines that the Boston archdiocese gave I think are the most reasonable. Suspend giving communion under both kinds, and to urge those distributing communion not to touch the hands or tongues of the recipients. I suppose if someone were really concerned the server who should be holding a communion plate could also have a purificator and some anti-viral wipe or cleaner for the priest/deacon/EHMC in case they do touch a tongue or a hand.

  62. Oneros says:

    Allena, it doesnt work that way. The presence of cooties would be an accident, and it would be just as possible to get germs from consecrated hosts as unconsecrated. Otherwise, there would be empirical proof of the real presence, if they could show that consecrated hosts gave disease less in a double-blind “placebo” experiment…but that’s not how it works.

    I dont see why everyone is SOOO upset about this. Yes, the thing is ridiculous and ugly looking. But the PRINCIPLE isnt bad. Like someone said, golden tweezers or tongs might make more sense. In fact, that’s what Orthodox deacons use when bringing the host to the sick (deacons actually being the proper minister of the Chalice, not the host)…

    So, yeah, that’s my thing: golden tweezers. It would be infinitely better than EMHC’s or Communion On The Hand.

  63. seminarian87 says:

    Father, I think that perhaps the new Lavabo prayer should be the following:

    The Priest Purell’s his hands and says inaudibly:

    Lord Purell my iniquity, and sanitize me of my sins.

  64. nasman2 says:

    How would one purify that thing? I’m sure there would be particles created by the mechanism propelling the host in sterile fashion into the mouths of the faithful. I’ve wondered about tweezers causing some crumbling as well. I’m going to assume one of the reasons the Eastern right uses the spoon and tincture is to cut down on stray particles.

    I just make sure I don’t ‘tongue-bump’ my priest’s fingers. It’s the polite thing to do…..

  65. California Girl 21 says:

    [grin] “Tweezers” would indeed probably cause crumbling. I think what you would need are “stamp tongs”–made for handling rare postage stamps without damaging them. Although I’ve never seen any gold-plated ones… [grin off]


  66. isabella says:

    After being assured that this wasn’t just a sick joke, I thought about Father’s question about why this was so offensive.

    It doesn’t acknowledge that the consecrated host is the Body of Christ, which I guess would make sense if it is being marketed to people who do not believe that anyway.

    Since I believe the host DOES become the Body of Christ at Consecration, then I have no problems receiving behind somebody who accidentally “tongue-bumps” the priest – I’ve never heard that expression. I am willing to bet my life that receiving Jesus is NOT going to give me a disease. That is why the device seems like a sick joke.

  67. al007italia says:

    technically, this is aimed at protestant Churches. In the video I would say Lutheran. But, I can think of more than 1 Catholic priest that would go for it.

    Then there was the Purity Body + Blood Communion Host, a Communion host already impregnated with the wine. & they proudly brag “•Ecclesiastically correct; no unleavening agent and are made with wheat flour.” Again, I can think of a few priests that would opt for this ecclesiastically incorrect method.

  68. eulogos says:

    I second Joshua 08’s and Oneros’s comments to Allena. The accidents, and their full nature remain. Grace in general does not eliminate nature. Of course God can by a miracle do any of the things she mentions, but it is not a consequence of consecration, which changes only the substance, the being, of the bread but not any of its accidental qualities, including the being subject to bacterial or viral contamination. (Viruses don’t live long on environmental surfaces though.)

    However I don’t think receiving communion in any of the ways that it is usually done, in either kind, poses much more of a threat than just being in church standing and sitting close to people for an hour. The handshake does pose some risk, and can be dispensed with, but so does sitting next to people who sneeze or cough, and so does holding the pew to stand up after it has been held by someone who covered his mouth with a hand when he sneezed or coughed. (It is now recommended to sneeze or cough into your elbow, for this reason.) What we don’t get by droplet infection we get by touching our noses with contaminated hands. Flu type infection doesn’t usually come in through the mouth.

    Susan Peterson

  69. eulogos says:

    Seminarian 87, I know an Episcopal (now Anglican, in Anglican Church of North America) minister who does just this at the Lavabo; he uses Purell on his hands. In the days when I was attending his 6:30 am Wednesday Eucharist with my husband, I longed to cite Dom Gregory Dix citing St. Cyril to him. “St. Cyril himself protests that the action is purely ‘symbolic’ in token of the innocence required of those who serve the christian altar, and not utilitarian, ‘for we did not come into the ecclesia covered with dirt.'”

    However there would be nothing wrong with using Purell in the sacristy before mass.

    Susan Peterson

  70. paladin says:

    nasman2 wrote:

    I’m sure there would be particles created by the mechanism propelling the host in sterile fashion into the mouths of the faithful.

    Y’know… above and beyond the (shudder!) “propelling” idea, that’s a good point: after all our talk about leaving particles in the hand while receiving Holy Communion, wouldn’t the inordinate number of particles of the Sacred Host, falling to the ground after having been “ground” between another host and the sharp metal edges, be a practical basis for complaint? Good grief, why not just “dust” each Sacred Host off onto the floor before distribution, if you’re coing to be that chevalier about it?

  71. eulogos says:

    The most controversial of my three comments here is that I am going to protest the comments about Protestants. “If it is only for Protestants, really, who cares, it’s only wheat.”

    Now consider these passages from Vatican II’s Decree on Ecumenism. We do believe that this was an Ecumenical Council, right?

    “Moreover, some and even very many of the significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and give life to the Church itself, can exist outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church: the written word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, and visible elements too. All of these, which come from Christ and lead back to Christ, belong by right to the one Church of Christ.

    The brethren divided from us also use many liturgical actions of the Christian religion. These most certainly can truly engender a life of grace in ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or Community. These liturgical actions must be regarded as capable of giving access to the community of salvation.

    It follows that the separated Churches(23) and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.”

    These are weighty phrases. The “community of salvation” is the church. The decree has already, in the end of the paragraph just preceding what I quoted, stated that the separated brethren are justly to be called Christian by virtue of their baptism. If that was all this means, no more would have needed to be said. The second paragraph above refers then to other ‘liturgical actions of the Christian religion’ chief among which would have to be the Eucharist, or Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion. If this liturgical action ‘gives access to the community of salvation’ that means that it serves to incorporate those who participate into the mystical body of Christ. Or as the Book of Common Prayer says in the thanksgiving after communion “that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son”.

    If participating in the liturgical action of celebrating the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist in an Episcopal or Lutheran church ‘gives access to the community of salvation’ then should we refer dismissively to what they receive when their minister says “The Body of Christ” as “just wheat”?

    Newman dared to suggest, in pre VII days, that Anglicans receive “a kind of quasi sacramental grace” when they receive communion. (I believe this may be in “Difficulties of Anglicans”, a series of addresses he gave to Anglicans after he was a Catholic.)

    But Unitatis Redintegratio, I believe, goes farther than Newman did, because it is not talking about a grace of some sort for an individual believer,(ultimately there is no such thing apart from the community of salvation anyway) but a grace which ‘gives access to the community of salvation.’ Isn’t there a phrase “Receive what you are, and become what you recieve,” which refers to different senses in which believers are the Body of Christ, and in which the Eucharistic species is the Body of Christ, and to the making into one Body of Christ, the Church, which reception of the Eucharist brings about in believers? This isn’t just word play. In what way can celebration of and reception of their Eucharist ‘give access to the community of salvation’ if they are not receiving Christ?

    I would say at least that we know for sure that Christ is present in the Catholic Eucharist because Christ gave this to the Church when he chose the Apostles and instituted the eucharist and the priesthood. This knowing for sure is expressed by the doctrine about the validity of orders. However we don’t know how Christ deals with the separated brethren, when they, according to their lights, obey His command to ‘Do this, in remembrance of me.’ The more generous Orthodox say “We know where the Church is, but we do not know where it is not.” As a minimum position I want to say “We know where the Eucharistic presence is, but we do not know where it is not.”

    However I am not at all certain that this passage from Unitatis Redintegratio does not imply more than that. Consider that the strictest Orthodox will not acknowledge any “validity of orders” outside of Orthodoxy, because the Mysteries(Sacraments), especially the Eucharist, are so tied to the Church, that, no Church, no Mysteries. They acknowledge no Church outside the visible boundaries of Orthodoxy, and they assert that therefore there can be no sacraments either outside those visible boundaries, even baptism. That is why the strictest Orthodox rebaptize everyone who converts, even Catholics. It is a very consistent position. Once you say that there can be “church”….or even an “ecclesial community” which has its place in the mystery of salvation and whose rites give access to the community of salvation, then you are as much as saying that the mysteries also exist outside the visible boundaries of the Church.

    I have come a long way from the eucharistic Pez dispenser! About that I would say that this is a matter of the separation of the sacred from the profane. The sacred is clearly set apart from common use. Its materials and shape will clearly indicate its sacred use and will never be primarily functional. The materials and shape have symbolic meaning rooted deep in common human experience. One is fed by a hand to ones mouth like a child, to one’s hand like being handed something by a parent, or one is fed by a spoon like a child (in the Eastern tradition), or the parent dips bread into a liquid and feeds the child (priest intinction) or one drinks from a cup. No one receives anything which is food for his nourishment from a shape like this.

    Susan Peterson

  72. maynardus says:

    ” I mean, if germs are what they’re concerned with, why not have the priest wear plastic gloves like those used in the food service industry?

    On two occasions I have observed “Extaordinary Ministers” in hospital settings wearing gloves while administering the Sacrament to patients with particular illnesses. It just seemed wrong to me. I later mentioned it to a very orthodox priest and he was quite vehement in condemnig the practice.

    Is there something in Canon Law or the liturgical/sacramental norms/instructions which definitely applies here?

  73. eulogos says:

    maynardus, I would say that the last paragraph of my comment applies and its force is against the practice of wearing gloves.

    However you have to realize that a hospital may require that anyone who goes in the room of someone with certain conditions wear gloves at all times.

    This should not be something the “Extraordinary Minister” does to protect him or herself. To do it for instance, because someone is HIV+ would be quite wrong. There is no danger of catching HIV by giving someone communion. Ok, if you gave on the tongue and touched the person’s tongue and you had an open cut or sore on your hand there is a theoretical possibilty. A little bit higher possibility of catching Hepatitis B or C that way, because blood levels of this virus are higher, it is more infectious. But if you had a cut on your hand, you might just trade off and not do it that weekend. And even a bandaid would protect you from a casual touch, which is all that is likely to occur when giving communion on the tongue. Hospital personnel do not use gloves for casual contact with people with HIV; they use standard blood and body fluid precautions, wearing gloves only if they are going to be touching these. They dress and undress people with HIV,feed,and change bedding if not soiled with urine or feces, all without putting on gloves. Of course they wear gloves to start IV’s as they do with anyone. I have seen people wear a big plastic mask, with the idea that blood might spray up in their face, but since anyone might have HIV or Hep B or C and you wouldn’t know it, if you feel that is an issue you should wear the plastic face mask every time. The same people would double glove, although this wouldn’t really protect you if you stuck your finger. To me it was just a way of communicating to the HIV infected person “You are a leper.” I used the same precautions for starting IV’s on someone with HIV as I did otherwise; gloves, and care not to stick myself. EM’s should definitely not use gloves in this case.

    However, some bacterial infections are endemic in hospitals. MRSA, methicillin resistant staphlococcus aureus, and VRE, vancomycin resistant enterococcus, for instance. And in some patients who have had both, cross species transmission of resistance has occurred, and there is vancomycin resistant staphlococcus aureus, for which there is not much in the way of treatment available. MRSA, the most common, is transmitted from patient to patient by hospital staff. (Staff staph!) It lives on environmental surfaces for a long time. (Unlike any virus.) So if you go in one room and just touch the bedding or bedrail with your bare hands, and then go into another, you can wind up infecting another patient. Most hospitals put such patients on isolation and one is required to glove, mask, and gown to go in. The hospital could be fined-or sued if harm resulted to a patient-for allowing anyone to do otherwise.

    In such a case I would say that either priest or extraordinary minister ought to comply. Hopefully someone has already explained the reason for the precautions to the patient.

    Susan Peterson

  74. DisturbedMary says:

    What a great name for a company selling stuff like this…purity solutions. Sounds almost sacramental.

  75. catholicmidwest says:

    About 6 weeks ago, I was sitting in Mass and a little kid turned around, looked circumspectly at me, and then exploded in a giant cough sneeze attack. Spray went all over and I could feel it on my face. His mother simply said, apparently hoping to reassure me, “He’s not got the swine flu (smile), it’s the bronchitis. We went to the emergency room and he was tested yesterday. I hope it doesn’t turn into pneumonia.” GLAAAHHH. Three days later I was flat as a pancake & sick as a dog. *This* is the #1 reason you might get sick from being in church. I don’t blame the poor sick little kid. His mom should have known better, though.

    a) don’t come to church if you (or your offspring) are sick enough to go to the emergency room for emergency treatment!
    b) use KLEENEX (and give them to your KIDS to USE!)
    c) don’t touch me if you’ve been feeling your nose, your crotch or your kid’s diaper, picking cheerios off the floor, etc etc — not even at the handshake of peace part (especially at the handshake of peace part!) [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

  76. pelerin says:

    ‘Do I hear an ‘Amen’?’ says Fr Z. Yes I imagine many readers are agreeing with catholicmidwest.

    The English newspaper ‘Daily Mail’ had an interesting piece a few weeks back regarding the Anglican church and the swine flu epidemic.

    “The Archbishop of Canterbury has banned communion wine fron the chalice owing to the dangers of swine flu. At our parish church we have voted to get round this nannyish ruling with disposable paper cups. One of the church wardens is going to serve them because we did not want our female vicar to look like an air hostesss with a tray of drinks. The archbishop has also banned all that handshaking at the peace. When this was announced in our church there was a loud ‘hooray’!”

    I had not realised that the Anglican church had adopted the practise of the handshake. Did they copy the Catholic church in this?

  77. wanda says:

    You are not off base Father. It’s really wrong. Sooo wrong. Make it go away. How long will it be until these pictures get out of my head?

  78. catholicmidwest says:

    Pelerin. Paper cups(??!!??) Where do you throw them after mass, pray tell??? I’m not sure that’s an improvement over these dispenser thingies…

  79. Mitchell NY says:

    In the bitter end isn’t said somewhere that God already knows our time of death just as he knows all things…Even escaping death I believe just means it was not your time which is written somewhere in the Heavens above. That being said if I am going to go on a certain date, from Swine Flu ( I had my shot about 4 hours ago really) then so be it. If I try to avoid it the date will still come and I figure I better not step out onto the street. But I will never compromise or reduce my reverance to such silly “gadgets”. You have to draw the line somewhere people.

  80. Allena says:

    Wanda you are right, it’s wrong even if it is just for protestants, but imo not as bad as if it were real consecrated hosts (shudder).

    To those who think you are going to get sick from communion…

    This is just sad to me. That people will argue first of all that germs are accidentals of hosts/God, that is actually NOT how it works. If a germ is on the host pre-consecration, then it would not become part of God as only the bread is changed. It would not become bread or God, it would stay a germ…a separate being. A cootie sitting on God.

    The essence of a consecrated host is the precious body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, nothing else. The accidents of the bread are the taste, appearance and such related to bread, it’s substance such as flour and water, nothing else. Since a germ is not bread, nor flour or water, a germ is not an accidental of the host or the bread, nor does it become God. It is a separate thing sitting upon the bread pre-consecration, and a separate thing sitting on God post consecration. It is neither an accident or the essence of God, but an entirely separate thing, that happens to be on God.

    So, yes if you tested a host pre and post for germs they would be the same. But that doesn’t mean that if you consumed that host in holy communion you would get sick. Only if God wills it, in which case, he can put a germ in your path outside of communion after all, he doesn’t have to trick you with communion.

    Think about this, St Francis swallowed a glop of leper puss!!! To eliminate his fear of illness, and give him the courage to work serving GOD in the leper community. Many saints have done these things, and that’s part of what made them saints. We are called to be saints too. We should not have a heart full of fear, but of courage and trust that God will not punish us with illness for taking communion in good faith. If He did, then we would gladly accept that cross because it would be his divine will. We should stay home if we are sick, but this kind of contraption is wrong, and so are tongs/tweezers.

    This thinking of “Oh no we have to take communion on the hand, or with some tongs” is decidedly not Catholic to me. It seems tongs would be even easier to touch tongues with accidentally than fingers anyway as the priest has less control. I would be curious to think what Father thinks, since he actually does it.

    I just think good common sense is needed, and God will take care of the rest. We should wash hands, priests should be careful always to NOT touch tongues when giving communion. Ex Min should not be used.

    You know, that garment that one lady touched, and got healed….I wonder if it had a germ on it? Maybe she should have refrained from that, could have gotten anything, Like swine flu or rota virus…But wait, on the other hand someone important said that faith would save her, and it did…

  81. catholicmidwest says:

    No, no. God doesn’t will people sick, ever. However, we are creations of God and subject to imperfection like all of the other creations of God. People get sick because we’re not immortal. God allows it because physically we’re part of the natural world and we are mortal. It’s part of the great design, a consequence of the fact we aren’t God. Only God is God. It’s pretty much that simple. [Read the book of Job!]

    I don’t know whether you can get sick from receiving Holy Communion after someone with a disease or not. I don’t know if the church has ever taught for sure one way or another. If she has, I’d take her word for it. But I’m not going to suppose it can’t happen if I don’t know. I’m also not going to worry about it a lot. Anyway, if I were going to become sick, it would most likely be from standing next to somebody really sick for the hour or so the Mass takes, especially if they sneezed on their hand and insisted on touching me it at the handshake of peace. Or it might happen from being sneezed on by a little kid whose parent is being oblivious and not teaching them how to use kleenex. (and in fact it did!)

  82. lofstrr says:

    My first reaction was the same as Patrick’s.

    What have they done with my Lord? … They have put him in a Pez dispenser. Might as well have a plastic head of Buddy Jesus on the top.
    Next year’s model? A modified salad shooter?

    Sorry, more seriously, what do you do if Jesus gets jammed in this thing? How do you consecrate a mechanical device like this? Do you reconsecrate it if you have to replace a part? What about cleansing it? Would it have to be broken down and cleaned like a 1911?

    What makes this whole thing really silly is that someone still has to load the thing. Someone, sooner or later will touch the host. The best plan is for that group to be a limited as possible and for them to keep their hands clean. I got an idea! Lets limit distributing the host to only priests!

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