QUAERITUR: Reservation of Precious Blood in home of a sick person

From a reader:

My father-in-law has been battling tongue cancer (which has spread to
his lymph) and has been housebound for nearly 5 months. Moreover, he hasn’t eaten any solid foods for nearly 10 months. He has a feeding
tube for his nutrition.

The liturgical question regards the fact that a priest friend of the
family suggested that they have a tabernacle in their bedroom,
containing the Precious Blood in a dropper bottle so that he can
receive a drop (since he cannot eat even a particle of the host).

Is this an acceptable practice?

In general the Precious Blood may not be reserved.  Under special circumstances, the Precious Blood may be kept briefly for the sake of distribution to the sick.  Of course that must be done with great care.

Furthermore, the Blessed Sacrament  may not be reserved in a home without the permission of the local bishop.

The best solution here would be for a priest to say Mass in the room and give the poor man some of the Precious Blood consecrated at the Mass.  A second best solution would be for the true Eucharistic minister (bishop, priest or deacon) would bring the Precious Blood and give it to the fellow in the proper way.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Would it be licit to take a tiny piece, even a crumb, of the Precious Body, dissolve it in water, and administer it through the feeding tube? (I really don’t know myself.)

  2. Desertfalcon says:

    When I was sick in hospital the visiting priest had a small silver “eye-dropper” containing the Precious Blood that he administered. It healed me, body and soul.

  3. chonak says:

    It sounds like the silver “liturgical straw” would come in handy here!

  4. Pater OSB says:

    I don’t know what period it dates from, but I had what looks like a fountain pen, but instead of the nib at the end is what looks like a tiny chalice. It is a special vessel for the administration of the Precious Blood. I can’t recall which pen-maker made it, but it was one of the high end pen makers. I wonder if they still make them, or if they are even licit?

  5. Prof. Basto says:

    The problem here is that the the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Saviour are really and substantially present in the Eucharistic Species from the point of consacration until the point when the consacrated element is destoryed. Hence, a Host remains a Host from the Consacration until the moment when the accidents of bread are destroyed in the stomach of the recipient, or are destroyed in another way.

    As for the precious Blood, the accidents of wine may be destroyed either in the digestive tract of the recipient of the Eucharist, but it may also happen that the accidents of wine may be destroyed by being transformed into vinager.

    Once the accidents of wine turn into vinager, the Eucharist is no longer present.

    That’s why the constant praxis of the Church has required:

    1. quick consumption of the precious Blood;

    2. reservation of only the glorious Body, and not of the precious Blood, in the tabernacle;

    3. that the wine, before Consecration, and the precious Blood, after Consecration, be kept in a chalice that is covered during most of the moments during Mass; the chalice is covered to avoid the oxidation of the wine or accidents of wine, because if oxidation happens turning it into vinager, the Eucharist would not take place (if vinager is formed before consacration) or would cease to be present (if oxidation takes place after the Consecration).

    So, in this case, Fr. Z’s advice of having Mass said in the presence of the sick or having the precious Blood quickly brought to him is really the only way to go forward.

  6. Fr Martin Fox says:

    I have frequently advised parishioners about the option of bringing the Precious Blood, because of the problem of so many who are unable to swallow and thus are discouraged to think they cannot receive the Eucharist.

    But I encourage folks to plan ahead–let me know you want me to do it, and I will reserve a bit of the Precious Blood in a vial at the morning Mass, and bring it to you later that day. My method is to reserve it briefly in the tabernacle, but to bring the Precious Blood later that day.

    It is very simple to do, but requires planning ahead as you can see.

  7. Fr. Basil says:

    \\Would it be licit to take a tiny piece, even a crumb, of the Precious Body, dissolve it in water, and administer it through the feeding tube?\\

    Good idea, Sid, but at that point it would no longer resemble bread, and hence no longer be the Eucharistic Body of Christ.

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