QUAERITUR: Exposition of Host during Mass before continuing Mass

From a reader:

Someone asked me today.. "what if after consecrating the bread the priest put it in a monstrance and had 30minutes of adoration before continuing with the mass?"

Every part of me wants to say this shouldn’t be done but I can;t really think of any reasons why… it would seem legitimate because the priest plans to continue with Mass after.. but I don’t know I haven’t really looked into it very far.


First, you create a serious problem about the two-fold consecration, which is essential for Mass to be Mass.

Mass is Mass and Exposition is Expostion.  We need both (pace McBrien),but they should not be confused.

On the other hand there was something called Mass coram Sanctissimo, Mass in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament Exposed.   This was usually done in the context of Forty Hours Devotion.  If the older rites of Forty Hours are to be used, it seems that a Mass coram Sanctissimo could be celebrated.  Authors are divided, but it seems to be so, for Forty Hours was the only time this form of Mass could be used.

But this would be a Mass which begins with the Host already exposed in the monstrance before Mass would begin.

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  1. Maybe a case of over piety on the part of the priest. I agree. Mass is Mass and Exposition is Exposition. No gray areas…No blurred lines.

  2. TrueLiturgy says:

    de Defectibus could also be used to show this is wrong and not permitted…I think.

  3. boko fittleworth says:

    The word “monstrosity” comes to mind.

  4. chonak says:

    _Simili modo_, priests should not exaggeratedly stretch the words of consecration: i.e., taking over 15 seconds for “Hoc est enim corpus meum”.

  5. Philangelus says:

    According to his biography, Padre Pio would fall into a trance during the Lamb of God and would remain that way for thirty to forty minutes, adoring the host in his hands. But that’s not in the middle of the consecration.

  6. DT says:

    @ chonak-

    While 15 seconds does seem a little long to say the words of consecration, the Missal does state that the “words of the Lord should be pronounced clearly and distinctly.” A break in the pace of praying the words of consecration seems to be a valid interpretation, unless I am mistaken?

  7. David2 says:

    There’s actually a Canon that expressly deals with this:

    Can. 941 §1. In churches or oratories where it is permitted to reserve the Most Holy Eucharist, there can be expositions with the pyx or the monstrance; the norms prescribed in the liturgical books are to be observed.

    §2. Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament is not to be held in the same area of the church or oratory during the celebration of Mass

  8. viennaguy says:

    At the FSSP chapel in Vienna, I’m pretty sure there was Mass before the Blessed Sacrament Exposed on Corpus Christi too. It was placed in a monstrance high above the altar and tabernacle. It certainly wasn’t within the 40 hours anyhow.

  9. Athanasius says:

    It can be done but requires the permission of the Bishop.

  10. Athanasius says:

    “It” in my comment referring to a coram sanctissimo, not this particular practice which seems aberrant from both Tradition and canon law.

  11. C. says:

    @David2 – Clearly that canon does not override the right of the faithful to the EF.

  12. Mark Pavlak says:

    Along the same lines, I have a question that I’ve often thought about but never known the answer.
    Is the sacred host for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament consecrated at Mass along with the Eucharist used for Communion? And then does the priest just set aside the larger host and keep it in the tabernacle until Exposition?

  13. Joshua08 says:

    Mark, the very thing that makes a Mass the Mass is the double-consecration. It is unspeakable crime (nefas) to consecrate the Host without consecrating the Blood, and in any Mass at the very least the celebrant must Communicate.

    Hence any Host for adoration must, apart from cases of horrible sacrilege (consecrating it without consecrating the chalice, without the priest Communicating) be consecrated at a Mass. It is usually stored in a pyx.

    Note, that the Host for Solemn Exposition need not be “larger” at my college it wasn’t. Also note that Exposition can be done without a monstrance, with just the ciborium. The Tabernacle is opened and the Ciborium is taken out (still veiled), at least 4 candles lit. It can even be used for Benediction. This is called Simple Exposition. More common in days past when the old code forbade Solemn Exposition except twice a year and for grave cause with consent of the bishop. So the very Hosts used for Communion can be and ought to be Adored of course. And eventually the Host that is Solemnly Exposed must be consumed, whether by the priest or in giving communion (which is one reason to avoid really big ones)

  14. Mark Pavlak says:

    Thanks very much! I figured this was the case, but I wanted to be sure and ask somebody. And I forgot about the double-consecration. That just solidifies the answer all the more.
    And thanks for the explanations of the different types of Exposition. Very interesting.

  15. viennaguy: That is because in Austria there was for a very long time a special privilege to have Mass .coram Sanctissimo. in pretty much every Church. Some people with whom I have spoken think that that is what defended the Church in Austria from Protestant errors for so long.

    But corruptio optimi pessima.

    Perhaps the collapse of Austrian Catholicism might be checked by some of these traditional practices.

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