WYD: Holy Communion from disposable plastic cups at Mega-Mass

I have deep misgivings about mega-Masses.  Leaving aside the obvious problem of the effective range of a priest’s consecration, and leaving aside the problem of too many Hosts being consecrated, how can, I muse, Holy Communion be distributed to so many in any way that even slightly resembles “reverent”?

What signal do we send through this experience of Communion?

My solution would be, if Masses like this are necessary (and Popes seem to think they are) that there would be no distribution of Communion beyond the immediate ministers for Mass.

Now that I have that off my chest, here are some photos of distribution of Holy Communion during the last big mega-Mass in Rio during World Youth Day.  I picked these up from the Italian blog Messa in latino (more there).

Disposable plastic cups, my friends.  That’s what they used for distribution of Holy Communion.  Disposable plastic cups.


A quick poll about this.

At WYD Communion was distributed from disposable plastic cups. Your level of approval on a scale of 1-5:

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

In the combox, do NOT make this into a referendum on World Youth Day.  That’s not the point here.

UPDATE 7 August:

I received the following by email.  I also invited the sender to post it as a comment.

I don’t post comments usually, but as a youth who attended WYD in Rio, I have to say that the event was stereotyped by your blog. I have no doubts that what you said in your blog is true and I understand people’s frustration with Masses that large. However, your blog post does not have an accurate representation of WYD from an individual’s perspective. [? Oh?] In the area where I was, though the Eucharist was not in precious metal as He should be, He instead was held in a ceramic bowl which is better than plastic disposable cups. People waited patiently in line for a long time to receive Holy Communion and a man was holding a sign saying that pilgrims could ONLY receive on the tongue.

People generally knelt to receive Him and no one jostled each other to get in line or be first. So while the majority of people may have been disrespectful, I just wanted to give you a little hope.

Fine.  But this doesn’t change the fact of distribution of the Blessed Sacrament from disposable plastic cups.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. TopSully says:

    My first reaction was “That could have been done better” but I switched to “I’m angry”. But Angry in a sad way, like my father was when he caught me sneaking out the window when I had been grounded. Not like a monkey throwing feces.

    That is the Body and Blood of Christ. That is something much more than “It could have been done better” to me. It is either done 100% reverently or, as you suggest, not at all, except for the immediate ministers.

  2. iPadre says:

    That must have been though up by the same person who thought up the Gospel procession in Aparecida. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this other post by Fr. Z “When Clowns Attack.”

    It seems that anything goes in some places.

  3. discerningguy says:

    That is absolutely disgusting. Beyond horrendous.

  4. James C says:

    It’s hard to be an angry chimp throwing feces at this point, because this stuff happens every WYD with impunity, and the popes and bishops do nothing. Let God judge them—all we can do is offer prayers and sacrifices for the continual and easily preventable profanations and sacrileges.

  5. iPadre says:

    May I add that it is not “necessary” to receive Holy Communion every time you go to Mass. Especially in such a large group. At times like this, how many are actually “actively participating” in the Mass? From what I watched on EWTN, many were playing in the ocean and doing all kind of partying. The further one is from the altar, the less one is able to, I hate use the word, “feel” a part of the Mass.

  6. Supertradmum says:

    Thank you for posting this. I put it on my blog earlier, but you get so many more people looking, I would hope this starts a movement to stop these types of Masses. I cannot believe these people actually believe that the Body of Christ is God, in the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. If they knew the Holy Host was Christ, the Sacrificial Lamb Who has made Himself vulnerable for us to show us the humility of His love.

    I actually feel sick about this and considered it one of several sacrileges which occur in these large grouping. God, forgive us.

  7. BLB Oregon says:

    I’m not signing on for the chimp analogy, but this does qualify for a make-a-whip-and-overturn-some-tables level of protest. If ever there were occasion for distributing Holy Communion under only one species, this was it. This is also a suitable occasion to absolutely insist that all communicants receive directly onto the tongue only, since it is simply not practical to post ushers to ensure that no one walks off with a host without consuming it.

    It would be possible for priests from all the parishes within driving distance to arrange to reserve the Blessed Sacrament at their churches, if there were too many hosts consecrated to be used within a suitable amount of time at only a few local parishes. As for the “range of consecration”, when a Mass is this large, a suitable number of ordinary ministers ought to be arranged to take the Eucharist from the altar to the assembled Masses and a suitable place needs to be in place for the repose of the Blessed Sacrament between the end of communion and the end of the Mass itself, when any hosts not consumed can be taken immediately to a proper tabernacle. If it takes a long time for the ordinary ministers to get to the outskirts of the Mass and a long time to get back, so be it. Let us hope that no one goes to a Mass like this with an idea that they’re going to get in an out in a hurry.

  8. Gemma says:

    I have heard from a priest at another WYD that the consecrated hosts that were not consumed were so numerous that they had to be put in black garbage bags!

  9. Andrew says:

    The problem starts with treating the Pope as some kind of a Bacchus.

  10. Tim says:

    James C – I was wondering if this had occurred at other WYDs. Do you have a link?
    (Not to go down a rabbit hole but I have heard a story about JP II, during one of his visits out of country, being notified that Hosts were being thrown in the trash at a large Mass. The story goes that he received the Hosts on his knees from the trash can. I do not have a link to confirm if this is true, perhaps you or someone else does?)

  11. Kathleen10 says:

    Andrew, I hope you don’t mind this. I noticed I had not seen you comment for awhile and just want to say I’m glad to see you comment again.

  12. ocalatrad says:

    What, really is the point of World Youth Day, anyway? I saw a bit of it on EWTN and was stunned. It looked like some sort of pagan gathering, and so prone to abuse.

    All of this outrageous desecration of the Sacred Species is the fruit of a heretical and defective theology of the Mass which puts accessibility over mystery and sanctity. What a tragedy.

  13. mamajen says:

    I think I fall somewhere between 4 and 5, but I chose 4. It’s really pathetic that they couldn’t find something nicer, even if they wanted something inexpensive and (ugh) disposable.

    I agree with you about mega masses. I fear that many of the people clamoring to receive communion are wanting to be part of the event and experience rather than truly considering what they are doing, and whether they should be receiving at all. It seems very protestant to me. There are all kinds of things that could go wrong, and the mixed message sent by making exceptions/ignoring rules is not helpful.

    I’ve said it before here, and it was not popular, but I do not like WYD.

  14. HighMass says:

    Question…..I know no one can answer for Pope Benedict….but would this have happened if he was the Pope at world youth day…….??????????? Not blaming Pope Frances…..but someone in the bunch should be held accountable………….

  15. Martlet says:

    I don’t think we are in a position to judge what these young people believe and I don’t understand why some always assume the worst. I remember one parish council meeting where a woman complained that the priest and lay ministers of Holy Communion should “make people be more reverent.” As I said at the time, we can only ask them to appear more reverent and, having taught Confirmation classes, I can state with confidence that among “my” kids, the ones who looked holiest generally were not. So, as usual, I leave these decisions to the Pope and his fellow Bishops.

  16. The Masked Chicken says:

    Of course, the solution, in this day and age is simple: synchronized Masses at local parishes to coincide with the Papal Mass. That way, the Papal Mass can be indoors (what’s so great about an outdoor Mass, anyways – this is not 5000 people in a semi-desert situation) and the other Masses can port in the homily on a big screen t.v. in each church. Of course, all of the Masses would have to be EF, since the homily is not a part if the Mass and the t.v. break would be more appropriate :). Likewise, Christ, and not the Pope, is the center of attention. Also, you would need to build a few more churches and ordain a few more priests so everyone could attend :). I mean, everyone wins :)

    The Chicken

  17. Martlet says:

    P.S. — I am still wondering though what that fish was for.

  18. Tim says:

    Regarding the distrbution of Communion from plastic cups….I am in agreement with most here who say it is a travesty and that WYD either needs to change or be discontinued. Yes. 3.5M is a big number of people in one place. But I suspected and it appears to be substantiated by others that at least some of those present were simply there for the party and this event does not respect the Body and Blood of Christ. More like handing out cups of beer at a kegger…

  19. Will D. says:

    Twenty years ago (!) next week, I was at the WYD Mass in Denver. I seem to recall that they used Tupperware containers as ciboria. I suppose the logic was that, if they wanted to distribute communion to half a million people, they would probably have had to press into service every real ciborium in the state. In retrospect, I agree that it is not a wise move. How many people at a mega Mass are in a fit state to receive? How many hosts were kept as souvenirs, dropped, put to sacrilegious use? I suppose if it were up to me, I’d reserve Communion to those immediately near the altar.

    iPadre is right, it is not required that people receive Communion when they attend Mass, but our catechesis is so weak on the subject that most people believe that that is the only reason to attend Mass. Even more so for a Mass celebrated by the Pope — for many, it’s a once in a lifetime event. If the Eucharist is going to be distributed at such a Mass, practically everyone in attendance is going to want to receive.

  20. Supertradmum says:

    I am being bold and have a poll on my site regarding WYD. I can imagine the Poles would do it better, but I am not and have not been keen.

  21. ALL: Don’t make this into a referendum on WYD. It ISN’T. This is about the manner of distribution of Communion and whether reverent distribution of Communion at these vast Masses is even possible.

  22. Sports Illustrated has a weekly feature called “Sign of the Apocalypse”. If WDTPRS had such a feature, I’d nominate this. That is, WYD itself, not just this one typical WYD vignette.

    Whatever good WYD may do, it surely does far greater damage–by showing (and institutionalizing?) systemic liturgical abuse in the one papal Mass most viewed on TV in dioceses and parishes throughout the world.

  23. Ben Kenobi says:

    Not a fan. I used to go to a Protestant Church that distributed grape juice quarterly. If I wanted that communion experience, I’d go back there again.

  24. The Masked Chicken says:

    “P.S. — I am still wondering though what that fish was for.”

    Oh, please. It was a bloody fish (pink/red) symbolizing the flesh of Christ as in the feeding of the 5000 thousand and the ancient Greek fish symbol for Christ.

    On the other hand, perhaps it fell off of a fish-and-chips truck just before the procession and no one noticed :)

    The Chicken

  25. Tim says:

    Fr. Z, I would ask if a reverent Mass can be held at a beach. Yes it held the people but again clearly a lot of them were there for the party and the atmosphere cannot replicate a church. My $0.02.

  26. James Joseph says:

    I voted, “4 – That sure could have been better. (Frown.)”

    But, mostly only because I cannot picture myself being a late-midieval Augustinian priest, who is a university professor who thinks the devil inhabits my posterior rear area. [As a late-medieval type, you should know not to over interpret that image.]

  27. wmeyer says:

    A fundamental problem with the use of these plastic cups is that they seem always to retain one or more drops of whatever fluid is placed in them. So unless 3.5 million people rinsed their cups, then the sacred blood was tossed away with the used cups.

    The worst feature of this particular case is that this practice received tacit approval from the Pope.

  28. maryh says:

    It’s not a case of assuming the worst, of the young people or anyone else. It’s a case of “how we do things matters.”

    Simply put, no one puts something precious in disposable plastic cups. So distributing consecrated hosts, the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, that way uses a physical language that “this is not precious.” Who would pour a $100,000 bottle of wine into plastic cups? Disposable plastic cups?

    Does that mean this method makes it impossible for people to distribute Our Lord and receive our Lord reverently? No. Does that mean it’s a lot harder to do so? Absolutely. Does that mean it’s much more likely to make people, both at the Mass itself and those watching it, think we don’t really mean what we say about the Real Presence? Absolutely.

    If this were some kind of emergency viaticum for hundreds of thousands of people, that would be one thing. But there’s no emergency, and there are other reverent options. So, yes, this is really, really, really bad. It doesn’t at all match up either with Whom we say the consecrated Host is, nor with our understanding that we are not simply spirits inhabiting biological machines, who are unaffected spiritually by what we do physically in the material world.

  29. Fr. Z: Ok, I’ll not expect today’s Gold Star for my preceding comment. But could there ever be a more appropriate occasion than WYD for a Mass with Holy Communion for the people skipped altogether?

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  30. Will D. says:

    Judging from the pictures, and the other large Masses I’ve seen, they were not distributing the Precious Blood in these cups. They were makeshift ciboria. Still problematic, both for being made of unworthy materials and the potential for particles to remain in them, but transporting and distributing the Hosts is much less fraught than doing so with the Precious Blood.

  31. Supertradmum says:

    What about all the tiny pieces? What about those left over? What about those dropped? These are all GOD, the Incarnate One. Too much…

  32. Carolan says:

    I agree with TopSully: angry and very sad. After 25 years wandering in the desert of evangelicalism and 10 in the Greek orthodox church, I came back to the Catholic church only to feel that I am back once again to the donut and rock band Sunday morning. I so miss the Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox that I may have to check out the Byzantine Catholics. I cannot take much more of this.
    By the way, I had strayed over the county line from the Rochester diocese ( if THAT tells you anything!) to attend a Latin Mass by the FFI in a neighboring county parish. Well, I don’t even know yet where that stands. I sometimes feel like Ripley (if there are any Alien fans here) who came back to Earth and from hypersleep after 57 years to find the world she left is no longer there. Say a prayer for me please.

  33. lucy says:

    An abomination unto the Lord. Mary, Mother of God must have weeped deeply for how her Son was treated.

  34. Joshua08 says:

    This is, on an objective level, gross sacrilege. Nevermind the girl texting on her cell phone, or the mobbing to get communion in the first place. Stretching out over others to “hand out the host” is a grave ocassion of sacrilege, as particles fly, and dropping of the Host is extremely easy and hard to recover from, etc. Not to mention the insult to the dignity of the sacrament. Whoever is responsible is either woefully ignorant of the Catholic faith in the Sacrament or sinfully disrespectful. And in either case whomever appointed them is either gravely negligent or gravely misled.

    One wonders about where the buck stops. The first time such bad things happened, perhaps, perhaps, one could say the lower levels were ignorant, the top levels too trusting and the middle level organizers too naive. But after time and time again insult and insult hurled at God Himself at these events there isn’t an excuse anymore. Pray tell, where does the buck stop?

  35. dmwallace says:

    When Bl. John Paul II celebrated Holy Mass on the National Mall in Washington, DC, when he visited the United States in October 1979, the thousands of leftover consecrated Hosts were gathered up and carted off in plastic trash bags. A priest in attendance at the time has verified this.

    At large (an understatement) Masses like this there is no good way to distribute Holy Communion to all those in attendance. If Communion were not distributed, people would have spittle-flecked nutties throughout the crowd. The press would get hold of it. The right of the faithful to receive the sacraments would be argued, etc., blah, blah, blah.

    Perhaps the best solution would be to have the solemn celebration of Vespers with Adoration coram Summo Pontifice in lieu of a mega-Mass.

  36. Caesar says:

    Was it not at Vatican II that the possibility of mega-masses was discussed and that, while adoration and benediction to such a vast crowd was deemed reasonable enough, the idea of masses of that scale- let alone communion for all in attendance- was thrown out?

  37. Southern Baron says:

    I chose “4,” partly because I really have seen it done better. I’m not going to be angry about people who wanted to receive Christ, from where they are–in a place where they don’t see anything wrong with this format. The burden is on all of us and first of all the Church, the institution itself, to teach people better. I don’t say this was a desirable handling, but so many people’s genuine devotion surely is desirable, and a place to start.

  38. tealady24 says:

    This. Is. What. Is. Wrong. With our Catholic faith today!

    No reverence, no use for Tradition, desecration of what should be sacred vessels. Who is even dressed for Mass? And don’t give me the excuse that it was huge event. Then stop the huge events.

    We will NOT evangelize anyone by these Protestant methods. And you will drive people like me nuts!

  39. DavidJ says:

    Can it be done reverently? Yes.

    Done this way? Heck no.

    Who, in (insert choice expletives here) thought this was a good idea for distributing the Precious Blood?

  40. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    6. No, 7. No … you get the idea. There is no number in the set of natural numbers that fits the bill.

    These people evidently don’t believe what the Church believes.

  41. Frank_Bearer says:

    If they are seeking the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?

  42. James C says:

    The best of these mega-masses that I’ve seen was one that which I was personally present: Pope Benedict’s mass at Yankee Stadium in New York 5 years ago. God bless the Holy Father and Cardinal Egan! The music was traditional all the way (how about a chanted Latin Credo?), communion was administered as orderly as possible by an army of priests, and the atmosphere (besides the cheering and “Ben-e-det-to!!!”-type chants at the beginning and before the pope’s homily) was as reverent as could be hoped for in such a setting.

    They showed how it’s done, and I’m sad that I’m going to have to tune out papal masses for the foreseeable future, if only to keep me from temptations to sin against charity. And, alas, I await the “trickle down” of papal mass novelties to local parishes—-I fear the Franciscan mass model may be more influential than the Benedictine was. Let us hope not!

    Getting back to the Yankee Stadium mass, when Paul VI went there in 1965, there was no distribution of communion. Very prudent policy.

  43. Giuseppe says:

    While I appreciate that one need not receive communion at every mass, I also imagine that receiving communion at mass can add a special grace above and beyond active participation in the mass itself. Does receiving communion add nothing to the spiritual graces obtained from a reverent participation in mass? I grant that my post-V II cathechism might be faulty, but a beloved, old pastor once preached, reached “if you are not in mortal sin, how does it benefit your soul to not receive Christ into your body?” (He said it more eloquently, I am sure, but I remember it 30 years later.)

    Finally, there are special masses, celebrated at specific sacraments or celebrated by important leaders in the church, where I have received communion and felt an added fervor and zeal about the faith. Granted, it could be placebo, and I might have gotten the same zeal remaining in the pew, but I like to think that incorporating Christ into my body does confer a special grace.

    Provided that communion is distributed reverently, I think that there are very good reasons why people attending a special mass should be able to communicate.

  44. lizaanne says:

    It is entirely acceptable and proper to make a “spiritual communion”. I have no idea why this is not expressed to those attending such an event. Passing out Holy Communion like poker chips is completely unacceptable.

    As said above by someone else, I’m angry, but more sad angry than throwing poo angry. Not sure how angry I’d have to get before I did that actually, now that I think about it. :-P

  45. pj_houston says:

    Disposable plastic solo cup, I fill you up
    Let’s have a party, let’s have a party
    I love you disposable plastic solo cup, I lift you up
    Proceed to party, proceed to party!

  46. Cordelio says:

    Perhaps the poll choices could have been phrased better, but the only answer for Catholics is 5. This is real sacrilege, and the most serious species of it. Only inculpable ignorance would excuse the participants and those responsible from mortal sin.

    Another example of Our Lord again being stripped of His garments during what seems to be the Passion of His Mystical Body (the Novus Ordo rite, itself, being the prime example of this).

  47. dans0622 says:

    Let’s just hope that the location where those Hosts were subsequently placed (the souls of the communicants) was a better, more fitting home for the Lord.

  48. Bruce says:

    “the effective range of a priest’s consecration”

    I am not sure what this means?
    Can someone explain it to me?

  49. APX says:

    So, did they properly purify each and ever plastic container?

    This makes me angry in a righteous zeal type of way that makes me want to go weep over the irreverance shown. It’s probably a good thing I wasn’t there. There would have been a security breach.

  50. Sonshine135 says:

    The most sacred blood of our Lord Jesus Christ in a plastic cup. This means droplets of blood of the Word made Flesh were thrown in the trash. Who thought this was a good idea? Does this not lead to the informal, wife-beater / skimpy shorts and tank top casualness we are fighting against? I think this act sums it up perfectly. It is only a matter of time before we are replacing the Body of Christ with a Buddy Christ. Protesto-Catholicism just makes me scream!

  51. wmeyer says:

    As Supertradmum made me realize, I addressed the issue of the sacred blood, not the body of our Lord. Well, I suppose I went off the rails because my brain had such difficulty embracing the notion of a cup in connection with the distribution of hosts.

    I share Fr. Z’s general apprehensions about the notion of a mega-Mass, and have often wondered how reverent these can be, even at the fringes of the smaller Masses in St. Peter’s square.

  52. Jim says:

    Is it even possible to make repatriation for all this anymore? :((

  53. Stephen Matthew says:

    Say whatever you will about the NFCYM but at least at NCYC (the main mass at which is only a tiny fraction this size, yet still large) they use appropriate vessels for distributing, and to avoid the “long range consecration” problem even have tables of ciboria positioned ahead of time, containing hosts previously consecrated, all of which are then distributed by priests and deacons (and maybe an occasional acolyte).

    It seems a better use of all the priests, deacons, acolytes, seminarians, etc in attendance might be to be stationed ahead of time at pre-arranged places throughout the crowd, with some sort of appropriate vessels, and either have hosts consecrated ahead of time (or the scattered priests can celebrate at least the liturgy of the eucharist at many altars all at once, that require special permission and instructions, but it is the Pope so almost anything is possible).

    The real trouble would seem to be proper vessels for this large of a number. It is doubtful that there is any horde of ciboria anywhere in the world sufficient for such a task. Even using tiny hosts with 1000 each in a very large sort of ciborium it would still require several thousand vessels, which even if made of something less than the usual silver, gold, or plated bronze would still be quite expensive. There must be a way to make this happen, either to produce a permanent traveling set for perpetual use of large papal masses, in which case memorial sponsorship would seem to be an easy way to cover the costs. Alternatively, perhaps some arrangement for some sort of special commemorative sets for each occasion which could be pre-sold to diocese, parishes, and priests and then sent to them after could be done. If my back of the napkin calculation is right, it seems this could all probably be done for about $1 per person in attendance, assuming relatively simple vessels and volume discounts.

  54. akp1 says:

    This is so terrible words fail me…it brought to mind that during the wyd in Madrid – there was a big storm the night before and a lot of the hosts that had been prepared ready to be consecrated at the closing Mass were damaged and unusable – Pope BXVI encouraged the youth to make a Spiritual Communion as very few would be able to receive sacramentally, see: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/importance-of-spiritual-communion-learned-in-madrid – surely this must be the way forward at huge Masses, to give Holy Communion like in Rio is not dignified and detracts from the reality of the presence of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

  55. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    This was in the form of bread, Sonshine.

  56. Darren says:

    Throwing feces here.

    From Redemptionis Sacramentum:

    3. Sacred Vessels
    [117.] Sacred vessels for containing the Body and Blood of the Lord must be made in strict conformity with the norms of tradition and of the liturgical books. The Bishops’ Conferences have the faculty to decide whether it is appropriate, once their decisions have been given the recognitio by the Apostolic See, for sacred vessels to be made of other solid materials as well. It is strictly required, however, that such materials be truly noble in the common estimation within a given region, so that honour will be given to the Lord by their use, and all risk of diminishing the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic species in the eyes of the faithful will be avoided. Reprobated, therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels, or others lacking in quality, or devoid of all artistic merit or which are mere containers, as also other vessels made from glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily. This norm is to be applied even as regards metals and other materials that easily rust or deteriorate.

    Are plastics considered noble in Brazil?

    Regarding the Pope’s “approval”, here is the response of Cardinal Arinze regarding a different topic but which can be applied here: “Somebody can say, “but the pope visited this county and the people danced”. A moment: Did the pope arrange it? Poor Holy Father — he comes, the people arranged. He does not know what they arranged. And somebody introduces something funny — is the pope responsible for that? Does that mean it is now approved? Did they put in on the table of the Congregation for Divine Worship?”

  57. jhayes says:

    the effective range of a priest’s consecration

    I watched the Mass and wondered if the hosts had been consecrated ahead of time so that they could be distributed to clerics and EMHC’s from stocks pre-positioned throughout the beach area.

    It looked as if that crowed of three million people extended a mile or more from the altar. Just getting newly consecrated hosts from the altar to the rear of the crowd would have taken 20 minutes or more of walking.

    Notice that in the top picture the man with his back to the camera appears to be filling a plastic cup from a large metal (silver?) container of hosts.

    Even if each cleric and EMHC could have handled 500 people, that would have required 6000 to 7000 people distributing communion. It was probably not possible to find that many precious metal ciboria to give to them.

  58. Stephen Matthew says:

    Actually, to amend my idea, perhaps an even better option, one which would appeal to Pope Francis, would be make this a way of distributing sacred vessels to impoverished and mission areas. Thus the funds spent on the project would ultimately benefit the needy, and in fact the vessels could even be commissioned from a variety of craftsmen in the 3rd world, providing both spiritual and economic benefit to underdeveloped parts of the world (where it just so happens that appropriate sacred vessels would likely be appreciated and used as intended rather than sold in the parish rummage sale or displayed in a curio cabinet.)

  59. Jon says:

    I have a close priest friend whose conversion to Tradition occurred in 1995 when, as a seminarian at Mt. St. Mary’s, he was forced (yes, forced) to distribute Holy Communion at John Paul II’s Mass at Camden Yard.

    He saw hosts in large clear plastic garbage bags “consecrated” hundreds of yards away from the altar. Afterward, he saw those same bags still full actually pitched into dumpsters along with hosts scattered in the stands. That was enough for him.

    Hasn’t this sacrilege gone on long enough? It’s time to end the Novus Ordo, and end it now. I know it’s not the most politically correct thing to say around here, but we need a grass roots effort coupled with an academic movement to do precisely that. This sort of horrific abuse is part and parcel of it. It’s endemic. It will continue for as long as the Pauline Mass and its loose garment set of rubrics endures.

    I urge all of you to think deeply about this, and commit yourselves with steady thought and persistence, to agitate for the Novus Ordo’s demise. In the words of Frederick Douglass, “Agitate. Agitate, agitate, agitate.” [Quiero lío!]

  60. jhayes says:

    From Redemptionis Sacramentum:

    But as Thomas Aquinas said, there are always exceptions to be resolved by epikeaia, which fills in the exceptions that the authors of the law intended but didn’t take the time to write:

    I answer that, As stated above (I-II, Q. 96, A. 6), when we were treating of laws, since human actions, with which laws are concerned, are composed of contingent singulars and are innumerable in their diversity, it was not possible to lay down rules of law that would apply to every single case. Legislators in framing laws attend to what commonly happens: although if the law be applied to certain cases it will frustrate the equality of justice and be injurious to the common good, which the law has in view. Thus the law requires deposits to be restored, because in the majority of cases this is just. Yet it happens sometimes to be injurious–for instance, if a madman were to put his sword in deposit, and demand its delivery while in a state of madness, or if a man were to seek the return of his deposit in order to fight against his country. In these and like cases it is bad to follow the law, and it is good to set aside the letter of the law and to follow the dictates of justice and the common good. This is the object of epikeia which we call equity. Therefore it is evident that epikeia is a virtue.

    Reply Obj. 1: Epikeia does not set aside that which is just in itself but that which is just as by law established. Nor is it opposed to severity, which follows the letter of the law when it ought to be followed. To follow the letter of the law when it ought not to be followed is sinful. Hence it is written in the Codex of Laws and Constitutions under Law v: “Without doubt he transgresses the law who by adhering to the letter of the law strives to defeat the intention of the lawgiver.

    II-II, Q. 120

    Or as old Italian country priests are supposed to have said “If the Pope were here, he would understand”

  61. dep says:

    @iPadre: I agree entirely with you. Indeed, I occasionally — increasingly frequently — do not take Communion when I attend Mass, especially when instead of a priest it is being distributed by a minaristic euchaster in gym shorts or blue jeans and a teeshirt. At those times, I keep my head down and pray. And hope that the phenomenon is limited to one sadly misled generation.

  62. Basher says:

    “””Regarding the Pope’s “approval”, here is the response of Cardinal Arinze regarding a different topic but which can be applied here: “Somebody can say, “but the pope visited this county and the people danced”. A moment: Did the pope arrange it? Poor Holy Father — he comes, the people arranged. He does not know what they arranged. And somebody introduces something funny — is the pope responsible for that? Does that mean it is now approved? Did they put in on the table of the Congregation for Divine Worship?””””

    Oh, BS. How many WYD’s until the Popes know what to expect and forbid? 25 more? 50? 100? The same stuff happens, year in year out. I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night.

  63. teomatteo says:

    why the precious blood? The body of our Lord is perfectly perfect for a large crowd. I think some reasonableness is needed here.

  64. eiggam says:

    At the much smaller Call to Holiness meetings in Detroit a few years back, (maybe 2000 people), we were instructed to receive communion on the tongue ONLY. The Blessed Sacrament was retuned to the tabernacle in the adoration chapel (hotel room) escorted by candles and ringing bells. This was a good sized hotel. I agree that there should not have been distribution if Holy Communion to the crowd in Rio.

    I have seen unconsecrated hosts stored in Tupperware for freshness and think that is OK.

  65. Darren says:

    Re: Oh, BS. How many WYD’s until the Popes know what to expect and forbid? 25 more? 50? 100? The same stuff happens, year in year out. I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night.

    I thought it was chimp “S” here.

    Sorry… I was born late morning.

    I know I make ignorant/misinformed comments at times (as I did recently on another topic – only to be corrected by a real life friend just via conversation on similar topic), but this is no BS. This was a matter for the archbishop of Rio as it was within his diocese, so he should first be questioned for the use of plastic cups, which… who knows, maybe polyethylene is noble but maybe not polypropylene? * sigh * One would HOPE in this case that some informed Catholic who was there will bring this matter up with the archbishop, and if necessary, with the Congregation at the Vatican.

  66. Magpie says:

    BLB Oregon: Holy Communion WAS being distributed under only one kind. You can see in the photograph a large container and then the Consecrated Sacred Hosts being decanted into plastic cups.

  67. APX: “So, did they properly purify each and every plastic container?”

    Sure, can you really doubt it?

  68. Darren says:

    Re: eiggam: I have seen unconsecrated hosts stored in Tupperware for freshness and think that is OK.

    An unconsecrated host is just bread, so Tupperware should be perfectly fine. It should simply be stored in a neat and clean and proper place in consideration of those pieces of bread will eventually be used for. Just like the fact that you do not use cheap wine… do not use stale or dirty bread.

  69. Cantor says:

    For better or worse, reception of communion is a critical component of the Mass in today’s Church. It truly is expected. And while using plastic cups as ciboria was unsightly, I suspect that the response in heaven was more along the lines of a sigh and a chortled, “What fools these mortals be.”

    Christ himself set the precedent in the story of the loaves and fishes. He fed some 15,000 people (5,000 men + women + children), or 60% of the population of Jerusalem, in one sitting. While the bread might not have been His body (Mark doesn’t quote the words of His blessing), it was blessed by His hands and He performed a miracle in the process. And the remains were collected in wicker baskets.

    Perhaps for the next WYD or mass Mass, we could enlist an army of volunteers to make small wicker baskets — the work of human hands — to hold the consecrated hosts.

  70. tzard says:

    Get a set of several thousand worthy containers for the exclusive use of WYD. Raise the funds, make them, and consecrate them. Bring them out every WYD. Using plastic cups is not required – it’s laziness.

  71. Simon_GNR says:

    I don’t like “mega-Masses” at all, and I can’t see the need for them. I can’t see the need for World Youth Days either. In fact, I don’t like the idea of papal visits with huge open-air gatherings like this: dignity and reverence are easily lost in all the hype and razzamatazz.
    I think I’d be likely to derive more spiritual benefit from worshipping at a simple, said Mass at my local parish church, with all the opportunities for quiet contemplation and prayer that that offers, than I would from attending a mega-event in a sports stadium or on a beach, even if it were presided over by the Pope himself. It’s the Real Presence of Christ that’s important, not whether or not His Holiness the Pope is present. Sacred hosts consecrated by the Pope are no more holy than those consecrated by Father Anonymous in Nowhereville, Arizona!

  72. Fr AJ says:

    Pretty bad I’d say. I wonder if this has anything to do with the change in venue from the other place they planned on having Mass before the rains turned it swampy? How did they do it at the last WYD?

  73. off2 says:

    Clicked 4, really more like 4.8. Would be much less reactive were I to KNOW that someone was accounting for ALL the containers.

  74. Lucas Whittaker says:

    I agree with Father Z. Holy Communion cannot be distributed in a sacral manner to such a large crowd.

    From what I recal about my study of anger the only appropriate anger is anger for God. Thus I voted that I am angry about this situation since it clearly disrespects Christ’s Body and Blood and perpetuates a sad lack of correctly placed faith. If we truly believe that Jesus is our King then we will give him better treatment than this. His majesty should be first in the order of concern as opposed to the problem of ministering communion to so many people assisting at a Mass.

  75. Jeannie_C says:

    Had someone thought of it during the planning stages, realistic shiny plastic ciboria could have been manufactured in that overseas place famous for knock-off merchandise. Would the appearance of the genuine article satisfied? Doesn’t matter to my mind as the greater shame was the grab-and-get rather than the reverent reception of the Eucharist. True, there were likely many who communicated with faith and reverence, but clearly not all. Would Benediction not have been a better alternative?

  76. AV8R61 says:

    If “5” had been “nail spitting mad” I would have voted 5. I just can’t see myself in a state of mind equal to “chimp throwing feces!”

  77. Imrahil says:

    I chose 4. I am pretty much with what the dear @mamajen said.

    I have no misgivings against mega-Masses at all, judging also that “we like to do it, once a couple of years” is a perfectly legitimate Catholic reason to have them. Also I think it is out of the question that still everyone should be able to Communicate. I totally subscribe to everything the Church said and says about the value of spiritual Communion, but this is (in the “merely” sense) for people unable to Receive and people who to foster their devotion choose freely not to receive. I’d personally always feel to do something illegitimate in the latter case, by the way, though I guess with my reason that I were not.

    So, “no mega-Mass” and “if so then only with spiritual Communion, except for a limited number near the Altar” fall away as options for me. And so does “theoretically we could but only with none other than our usual precious Chalices, yet we have not the material means for that and hence, sorry folks” etc.

    Seems it depends much on the general attitude towards mega-Masses.

    I agree to what the dear @tzard says, though.

    I totally agree that that is no occasion for the distribution of the Precious Blood, and I do bet It was not distributed.

    My two cents.

  78. Bea says:

    Does not The Precious Body of Our Lord deserve a gold chalice?
    One that will be purified by THE PRIEST that distributed Holy Communion.
    If only priests were allowed to distribute Holy Communion in events such as these, perhaps more care can be given to the Precious Hosts.

    St. Tarcisius, at twelve years of age, died defending The Precious Body of Our Lord.
    Disposable plastic cups will not inspire the awesome respect that Tarcisius learned in his young life.
    And then, what will happen to these disposable cups and the Fragments of Our Lord that remain in them.

    Year of Faith?
    Disposable Plastic cups will not inspire to increase one’s Faith, quite the contrary.

  79. Bea says:

    ” the greater shame was the grab-and-get rather than the reverent reception of the Eucharist. ”

    My thoughts, too.

  80. Johnno says:

    We have witnessed to millions of youth that we don’t much care for the Eucharist. It’s a product just as good and reverent as Kool-Aid. Plenty of other abuse goes one at WYD. And this incident is only a small indication of a larger problem – how many hosts were dropped? How many remain dropped? How many particles of our Lord’s precious body are scattered throughout the beach where it shall be thread upon? How many self-communicated? How many non-Catholics took it because it was just handed out? How many people of ill-intention & wickedness got their hands on the Body of our Lord and what are they doing to it? This is a travesty! The Catholic Church and all it’s members, including us deserve the punishment we will undoubtedly receive when, being members of Christ’s body we too shall be handed over, cast out, ill-treated, shown indifference and tortured & thread upon before millions of others.

  81. Per Signum Crucis says:

    “If we truly believe that Jesus is our King, we will give him better treatment than this.”

    Two points here: firstly, I do have reservations about absolutely treating Our Lord as a king in the earthly sense when he himself said he wasn’t; and secondly, it is possible that the Pontiff of the poor might have considered it a waste to commission several thousand noble vessels for a one-off Mass. The Church hierarchy in Rio (and the Vatican) presumably considered the arrangements to be appropriate and I would be interested in knowing their reasoning, if it ever becomes public, before making a more substantive view for or against.

  82. eulogos says:

    I chose 4 because I didn’t like the wording of #5, but IF the Blood of Christ was really distribued in those cups, my discomfort is at the #5 level, as surely, drops of it were being thrown away. It is hard for me to think this was really done. Surely at such a mass one could have communion in one kind only, and on the tongue. Surely there were many many priests and deacons there. Have them go out in the crowd to predetermined locations-say, have flagged poles “communion distribution site” and then just wait while everyone who wants to goes and receives. And if the cups were used for distributing the hosts, surely they could have found something better-even fake gold ciboria made of plastic if they really needed to do that. And those ciboria should have stayed in the hands of a priest or a deacon, so at the end any fragments could be consumed.

    I hope we will learn these cups were not used to distribute the Precious Blood.
    Susan Peterson

  83. eulogos says:

    Carolan-I also live in the Diocese of Rochester, and also go to an adjoining diocese for mass, either at the EF done by the FFI or for Divine Liturgy at a Ruthenian Catholic Church.
    Perhaps we don’t live far from each other? My email is eulogossusanATgmailDOTcom. I would like to hear from you.

  84. govmatt says:

    Per Fr. Z’s question: can Communion be reverently distributed to masses of people?

    Yes, with more effective crowd control.

    For example, if you go to New Year’s Eve in Times Square (not to equate the sacrifice of Mass to a yearly party, but only to look at it from crowd control logistics), police systematically cordon off blocks as they become full and can continue doing so to prevent overcrowding. Though we don’t have “liturgy police” (though some here would applaud a new “enforcement” Dicastry), we could, with planning, attempt to cut down on the oceans of people rushing for Communion.

    Cordoning off groups of, say, 250 pilgrims at a WYD-type event (approximately 14,000 “blocks” for 3.5 million) each with a pre-arranged set of priests to distribute Communion (there should be no need for Extraordinary Ministers at such a “Catholic Pep Rally” event as WYD, and priests could bring simple, sacred vessels from home) at a single (or several) spots along the cordoned off areas.

    Yes, I realize this would require a tremendous amount of logistics and some efficient engineering, but I’m sure there are some good Catholic engineers out there who would prefer to see some more reverence at such events. This would have been an exceptional challenge on the strangely shaped Rio beach (Popeacabana), but I’d imagine it could be easily (comparatively) accomplished in Krakow.

    (As an aside, it should be on the bishops and priests accompanying the lay faithful to impress upon them the solemnity of the occasion of Mass with the Holy Father. Yes, critics of WYD abound, but with tweaks and alterations to bring the leash in a bit more it could be a very powerful expression of the faith [N.B. the Holy Father several times now in his pontificate requesting that a large crowd enter silent prayer and, if for a moment, hundreds of thousands of people pray in silence together… it’s a start, folks])

  85. Aegidius says:

    Excuse me, I feel I may add a few comments, too.
    1. It has been stated seversl times now but still some people don’t get it: there has not been distribution of the Precious Blood during WYD mega mass. So no need to worry pn this obe. Actually, outside the US, it is quite uncommon to receive the Blood of Christ except on Maundy Thursday.
    2. I have been to many a Papal mass mass in Germany celebrated by Benedict the Beloved, in Cologne, Munich, Erfurt, including WYD 2005. Each time I used the opportunity to confess to one of the thousands of priests present, even if not officially installed in a confessional. Each time communion was distributed by priests or deacons, recognizable as such, using metal ciboria. It was possible, always, to receive on the tongue, kneeling, although certainly I was part of a minority, in this respect. Atmosphere was one of great reverence, masses of young people kneeling during consecration on the mere ground or grass, during homily listening to the Holy Father in willing concentration.
    3. 2005 WYD vigil on Marienfeld near Cologne saw a million of young people listrning to Benedict the teacher of the church, praying with him and adoring the Blessed Sacrament in complete sklencr on their knees. 1 million. Complete silence. Benedict a – Bacchus?? Come on!
    4. Everyone, before condemming this or the former pope’s actions, please make sure you know what you are criticizing.

  86. trespinos says:

    With the opportunity for years of planning, I’m saddened that the organizers didn’t come up with a better solution. Shame on them. While the cost of using noble metals would be prohibitive, I think an ad-hoc exception allowing high-quality ceramic vessels would be justified. That is, if mega-masses are to be continued, and I hope better judgment will prevail and a trend away from them will begin and gain momentum.

  87. Denis says:

    Unless my memory fails me, this sort of thing did not happen at BXVI’s Masses, so the argument that it’s all the locals’ fault doesn’t wash. If we have entered the age of dancing cardinals, liturgical flash mobs, and beach party masses, if traditionalism is now a form of Pelagianism, what’s the problem with disposable plastic ciboria?

  88. Aegidius says:

    Govmatt, exactly. This is what they did in the places I went.

  89. Aegidius says:

    Blame the iphone keybord or me: Some of the major typos should have read:
    “no need to worry on this one”
    ” a million of young people listening to Benedict the teacher of the church, praying with him and adoring the Blessed Sacrament in complete silence on their knees.”
    Sorry, Aegidius

  90. amuccini says:

    i remember reading somewhere that in the Papal High Masses of the old rite only the Holy Father would receive communion. Just something to think about

  91. Precentrix says:

    Is it possible to distribute Holy Communion in a more reverent manner at this sort of Mass? Most certainly. If Father will graciously allow the link, here is Holy Communion being received in the Marienfeld at the final Mass of WYD 2005:

    Okay, so it’s Juventutem, but this is the big final Mass with everyone, after we’d spent the night sleeping outdoors without any tents. Or in some cases, sat round a fire arguing with subdeacons all night…

  92. Fr AJ says:

    Bea, only priests should be allowed to distribute Holy Communion? What about the Deacon? Some of the earliest descriptions of Mass tell us deacons distributed Holy Communion. It’s not a modern innovation.

  93. Pumpkin Eater says:

    The vitriolic caption under the pictures at the Messa in latino (Latin Mass) site linked to above:

    Il Signore un giorno chiederà conto degli innumerevoli sacrilegi compiuti da milioni di fedeli, migliaia di sacerdoti, centinaia di Vescovi, decine di Cardinali e forse anche da qualche Papa.

    One day the Lord will call to account the innumerable sacrileges committed by millions of believers, thousands of priests, hundreds of bishops, dozens of cardinals and maybe even by a Pope.

    I suppose messainlatino.it should be given some credit for not presuming to pass final judgment on the Holy Father.

  94. BLB Oregon says:

    “BLB Oregon: Holy Communion WAS being distributed under only one kind. You can see in the photograph a large container and then the Consecrated Sacred Hosts being decanted into plastic cups.”

    They chose those cups for hosts? It is bad enough that someone might think a disposable cup was the best they could do when ministering to a great number of people who would be consuming a liquid communally, because of course the vessel has to be so much smaller…and hey, the Protestants use plastic for their communion, right? It did not even occur to me that someone might conclude that this was the best they could do for hosts. I can’t say why, but this is even worse.

    Why would it be a problem to use something more valuable to hold the hosts? Well, because who knows what might happen to our ciborium, what if it falls into the wrong hands and does not come back? If the situation is such that not enough ciboria can be had on loan, that ought to say something about how secure the Blessed Sacrament itself is! You’re sending your youth, too! You can send you youth somewhere that is not safe enough to send a ciborium? Really?

    If that many precious youth can be gathered from around the world, if someone can be found to keep tabs on them and keep them safe in that far-away place, then surely sacred vessels can be sent with them. If the trip is not safe enough and well-guarded enough for sacred vessels of gold to be sent, it is not safe enough for the ones of flesh and blood to be sent, either.

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  96. acardnal says:

    It’s disgraceful using disposable plastic cups.

    Moreover, no one is required to communicate by receiving the Precious Blood when assisting at Holy Mass.

  97. acardnal says:

    Clarification: . . . except the priest(s) celebrating the Mass.

  98. mike cliffson says:

    JPII,Plaza de Lima , Madrid , maybe 2million +, vested priests only , yellow umbrellas, only about half actually received communion , ceramic ciboriums which I think were much criticized for irreverence, memory may fail me and the ceramics were another occassion.

    “In the combox, do NOT make this into a referendum on World Youth Day. That’s not the point here.”

    It shows [?!?]

  99. torch621 says:

    And apparently being upset with this and criticizing it is an offense worthy of a permanent ban over at CAF.

  100. mike cliffson says:

    To clarify , I voted the chimp, amongst other reason s because to answer Fr ‘s question, “This is about the manner of distribution of Communion and whether reverent distribution of Communion at these vast Masses is even possible.”
    I say ,
    Yes, it IS possible, I ve seen it .
    On a pilgrimage in one of my first years as a Catholic, and magnified, above. And at familyday masses in Madrdi every Holy family day (which have varied) .
    Probably a lot of people Will have to make Spiritual communion, becuase there should NOT be hosts left over in any significant quantity, so erring on the side of caution by any planners (Just suppose the Good lord permits a thunderstorm , whatever, during mass and half the faithful expected are physically otherwhere at communion).
    If Madrileños can cope that, anyone can.
    Im not happy about ceramic ciboria.
    NB With a lots of stuff, WYD organization included, I too am in the ranks of” I could do it better, and I know a good hundred who could do it better than me”.
    Butwho are we kidding ? If the Vatican isn’t in Satan’s bulls-eye , where is? Me, In a state of grace I might last a second against his snares with any church-wide responsability.

  101. APX says:

    Reprobated, therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels,

    Is there any vessel more common than the plastic beer cup?

    Would it not be easier to manage if a series of communion rail kneelers were constructed throughout the crowds, which everyone knelt af in an orderly fashion with people stopping and directing traffic, while others distributing communion? If I remember WYD correctly last year, there were several ciborium set up for distributing communion, which never happened as the weather made it impossible to have Mass.

  102. APX says:

    So it would appear last WYD, they used 5000 ciboriums each filled with 200 hosts, but most people ended up not receiving communion anyway because of the previous day’s storm. Instead they were instructed to make a spiritual communion and instructed that just because one goes to Mass doesn’t mean there is a right to receive communion.


  103. MikeM says:

    With all of the money and planning that went into WYD, I find it hard to believe that it would have been a significant hardship to come up with more appropriate vessels for the precious blood. I try not to work myself up TOO much about things like this… I don’t imagine that disrespect was intended. But, this wasn’t good.

  104. i have a few questions.Perhaps someone can answer. Were they prepared or anticipated the size of the crowd? Would that have been a factor? if they were not aware what would have been a better choice? Do you think the next WYD they will take this into consideration or was this a DELIBERATE choice?

  105. I am inclined to think that the distribution of Holy Communion to thousands or even millions of people at a clip is unnecessary and ill-advised. Even if it can be done reverently, it just is not necessary. (Whenever my mother wants to put the kibosh on a silly idea, she simply says, “It isn’t necessary.” No one ever has a response to that.) I’m with Fr. Z; if one has to have a mega-Mass, limit Holy Communion to the celebrant and altar servers. The use of disposable anything at Mass is always disgraceful, but when barbeque lighters are used to light candles, why not plastic cups too?

  106. ModTrad says:

    Five for sure! Isn’t the Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life”? In a disposable cup? I hope they weren’t chosen for their function (easy clean up).

    I’m sure something else could have been used, even on a modest budget. Perhaps something that could have been sent home with the priests for their home parish?

  107. Even if you could (a) guarantee all cups would be collected and accounted for, (b) all purified properly, (c) get over the fact that these vessels were not made from noble material, could you calmly accept that these vessels, having served the highest purpose possible, are to be then (d) disposed of? And if not disposed of–what? Used again to profane the Most Blessed Sacrament? Or used as a bathroom cup to rinse after brushing ones teeth? Sold on eBay? There is no good option here!! That is the real problem!!!

  108. dominic1955 says:

    Besides the obvious problem of having Hosts in plastic cups handed out as if they were cracker samples at a supermarket, the actual reason for this is all much deeper.

    1. What has happened that we act as if Communion is some task to “get done”? Who in their right mind sees projections of 3 million some folks showing up on this beach and starts thinking, “Ok, how do we get hosts to all these people? Brainstorm!” Gee…how about the celebrant and maybe the immediate ministers/servers/clerics in choir receive (at most)? People used to go to Mass for Mass, and while there were some wrong headed ideas that went into some people’s practices, I think by and large this was a healthier view-that Mass and Communion are not the same thing.

    2. We need, and I mean absolutely *need* to quit seeing the Pope as some sort of superstar. This is ridiculous, and I don’t mean just Pope Francis-I mean the ones who started all this traveling business and all the future ones. I’m thinking less jet-setter pope and a little more “prisoner of the Vatican”.

    3. The Church in South America is a joke and the Brazil is the punchline. [That really helps.] Aside from Campos, I wouldn’t be suprised if we really start seeing some massive Europe style apostasy right quick like.

  109. Bea says:

    Fr AJ;
    You said:
    “Bea, only priests should be allowed to distribute Holy Communion? What about the Deacon? Some of the earliest descriptions of Mass tell us deacons distributed Holy Communion. It’s not a modern innovation.”

    I said : if and perhaps “?IF? only priests were allowed to distribute Holy Communion in events such as these, ?PERHAPS? more care can be given to the Precious Hosts.”

    I never mentioned deacons.

    But, I believe that only priests distributing Holy Communion is the ideal. In crowds like these there should have been enough priests attending to do so. Actually I believe only priests should and I prefer to see only priests distributing Communion in ANY case.
    You, dear Fathers, have the Grace of State.
    You, dear Fathers, have the consecrated hands.
    You, dear Fathers, are the Alter Christus.
    Into your hands, Our Lord has entrusted that this ordinary bread become His Very Body and Blood.
    Unto your lips with your words does this ordinary bread become His Very Body and Blood.
    The Awesomeness of What Your Hands and What Your Lips have wrought,
    and, if you believe that in the depths of your soul, You cannot help but portray to us, sheep, what (or should I say WHO?) You are distributing to us: and I capitalize YOU because it is no longer you, but YOU, The Alter Christus, standing in His Stead.

    As to deacons, yes deacons did distribute communion long ago, but I was always under the impression that these were transitional deacons on their way to the priesthood .
    Now its a different story, deacons and extraordinary ministers are ALLOWED to distribute communion to the detriment of the reverence of the man in the pew as HE becomes less Awesome in the hands of non-ordained priests.

    Sorry if I seemed to rant but we have lost so much ground in the sense of the Sacred since my youth, that at times this yearning to see Our Lord treated with the respect due HIM, that it hits me between the eyes.

  110. Dave N. says:

    I voted chimp, although like most folks, more sad than angry.

    Makes objections to the ceramic ciboria of past WYDs seem pretty pale in comparison.

    I was present at WYD in Paris in 1997. A fair number young people were smoking marijuana during the vigil, causing one French woman to quip in a typically French droll manner after a particularly potent whiff, “Hmm…c’est le Saint-Esprit.” Honestly, this use of plastic cups is probably a ways down the list of objectionable things that happen at WYD.

  111. Bea, deacons *are* ordained. The original order of the diaconate was not transitional. Vatican II, the whipping boy of all Church councils, restored this Holy Order to its earlier form. Famous permanent deacons: St. Stephen, St. Lawrence, and, yes, St. Francis of Assisi.

  112. Lucchesi says:

    Between 4 and 5, but not angry, mostly sad and tired.

    I was there at that mass, but too far away (after the last big screen), so I didn’t see any of this (thank God!).

    While I’m also sad because of this, as you may remember, the mass was expected to be at Guaratiba. The switch to Copacabana was all of a sudden, due to that weird non-Rio-like weather (that went back to normal as soon as the WYD ended….), so not everything was as it would’ve been had this change not occurred (or at least I hope).

    Also, you guys are looking at this the wrong way. It was a mass in Brazil (where I’m from), celebrated by a Latin-American Jesuit. Things could’ve been waaaay worse. I was honestly surprised there was any Latin =D

    It was probably the first time most of the kids there ever seen anything like it, and many of those around me (not in my group) actually applauded the Latin songs (which I find technically wrong to do in a mass, but encouraging anyway).

    Besides the plastic cup thing, all things considered, this mass was probably a level above the bulk of the masses we see around here. Our current Pope may be working from the ground up (since everyone pretty much ignored our beloved Pope Emeritus), and many good seeds were planted there.

  113. cl00bie says:

    This hurt my heart. :(

  114. janeway529 says:

    Sigh, is Fr. Z really advocating refusing communicants to communion due to logistics?

    It is challenging to logistically plan out mega Masses, esp. when it comes to Holy Communion. I can only imagine the horror of dropping Jesus, much less ciboria in that crowd.

    I would assume a dispensation from the Holy Father was granted to use the plastic cups, given that the plastic cups would not be stolen and if anything had happened, it would be easy to bury underneath the sand. [You assume there was a “dispensation”… ]

  115. World Youth Day needs to do like the sun and flip poles. The teens should be serving soup to the poor, mowing lawns for the elderly, praying rosaries to end abortion, and marching at pro life rallies: world youth day should be EVERYDAY and it should be teens serving the world.

  116. Bea says:

    I never said deacons were not ordained. Sub-deacons are also ordained BUT they are NOT ordained as priests/Alter Christus who can celebrate Mass.
    I also said:
    “I was always under the impression that these were transitional deacons on their way to the priesthood.” OK, so my impression was wrong. Thank you for enlightening me, but I still prefer to see only priests giving out communion , themselves, when it is possible that this be reasonably done.

    Poor Pope Francis et al always being taken down a rabbit hole because he assumes people understand what he meant. Maybe its a Latino perception.

    Anyway this thread is about Communion and plastic cups. I don’t want to go into a deacon’s “rabbit hole”

  117. future_sister says:

    Ok, so obviously I didn’t read all of the comments, it’s such a long thread. I’m not sure if I am going to vote or not because I am in such shock. I think if I had to vote it would be “absolutely heartbroken to see my fiance treated in this manner”. But I do have one thing I would like to mention. I am getting ready to go on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa this weekend and I went last year and carpooled with my pastor so I actually know a bit of the logistics that go into the Mass every evening as we walk to the shrine. What happens is every priest concelebrating Mass brings a large ciborium (is that spelled right?) from their parish. With only the priests distributing communion. It takes a while and it’s a little mob rushy… made worse by the fact that it’s late at night and you are sitting on a poncho with a flashlight. and granted it’s only a few thousand people instead of the millions at WYD. Though I suppose it also helps that everyone on the pilgrimage is required to be registered so the host count is also probably more accurate.
    Basically though, I’m sure there is a way to figure it out. Maybe try to get the people organized into little blocks of people and tell people “if you are so many blocks back you won’t be able to receive communion” and then scatter your priests. Maybe certain people selected to sit close enough for communion just like certain people able to confess to the pope… Though that does seem kinda cruddy (just throwing out ideas that are better than plastic). I think perhaps the multiple simultaneous Masses with the pope giving the homily via live feed tv that was mentioned earlier is probably a good idea… I mean… “exception” allowing plastic cups vs. exception allowing videos… and if it’s a live feed how much worse is it than some large cathedrals having small screens towards the back so people can see? I don’t think live feed of a homily counts as a video so much since it has a far different purpose than the donate money videos.

  118. Mrs. Bear says:

    I remember after WYD Toronto. A local Deacon, asked if we could assist him in picking up quite a few ciboriums full of the Blessed Sacrament that were not consumed during the closing mass. (he was one of the people in charge of this distribution)
    In Toronto, it did rain, so there was not as many people who attended the closing mass as expected. We arrived at the Downsview airport and they had a special room reserved with a sanctuary lamp lit inside one of the buildings on the Monday following WYD. We ended up driving to a few parishes in our town to deliver the Blessed Sacrament.
    We turned off the radio and prayed all the mysteries of the rosary.
    We were a tabernacle on wheels.
    I believe that each parish in the Archdiocese of Toronto was asked to come and collect a few ciboriums to bring back to their church.

    The ciboriums were made of some sort of clay meaning they were breakable.
    I attended WYD Toronto as a chaperone and the distribution of communion (based on the area I was in and the surrounding areas) were done quite orderly as we were kept in sections.
    But I know of some people who freaked out while leaving the site – afterwards – as they did not receive communion.

    Though I have to say that since the sound was off, in our section, due to the high winds, (though the video screen was still on) many young and not so young people pretty much forgot that a mass was going on, as eating, chatting and cuddling were happening not far from our group.
    But then the age of WYD pilgrims was younger. :(

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  120. Cathy says:

    I’m horrified by this! It looks more like a mosh-pit than the Mass. If Holy Communion cannot be distributed and received in a dignified and reverent manner, then, no, I do not think it is appropriate to do this!

  121. Incaelo says:

    I was at Madrid in 2011 and in hindsight I am glad that the rainstorm on the preceding night damaged a number of tents so that Communion could not be given from these tents the following morning. I can imagine Pope Benedict XVI having harboured similar thoughts. I heard no complaints when people found out they would not be receiving the Body and Blood of Our Lord at that Mass.

    The problem with the WYD is that it tries to be more things than it is: it is intended as educational and formative, but its sheer size makes it primarily social and, for some, even a vacation of sorts. The reality of the Eucharist and the place of it in our faith gets snowed under, and we see that reflected in photos like the one Father posted. I see many good things coming from the WYD, and I do think they should continue, but the lack of attention to Eucharistic catechesis is a serious problem.

  122. Precentrix says:

    And once again:
    It can be handled like this. It has been handled like this. Ergo, handling it like this might be a good option:

    WYD 2005: http://www.fssp.org/album/AJMJ2005/juventutem-cologne-023.jpg

  123. Supertradmum says:

    Sadly, some commentators here are writing as if the Body of Christ is not actually God. I am afraid these mega-Masses reflect the blasé lack of respect towards the King of Kings and Lord of Lords begun in happy clappy NOs.

    If people really believed the Host was the same as the Sacrificial Lamb Who bore our sins on the Cross, would there be any possibility for a vote other than one?

    Reparation is needed. If we are all punished by a Just God for not loving His Son, we deserve it. To me, there is no difference between this scenario and the spitting, beating, and Crucifixion of Christ. Why cannot some see this? We mock Him. How can we, how dare we?

    Those who take part in these types of Masses remind me of the people who either stood at the side of the Via Dolorosa and mocked Christ, or those who passed by…I am amazed.

  124. jflare says:

    Yes, I’m disgusted with this.
    I must say though, I don’t think this idiocy to be particular to World Youth Day, nor even to youth activities at large. I have to say that I think this a problem of the faithful of the Church doing quite poorly at handling giant crowds in general.
    In a sense, I could almost understand the dilemma: It wouldn’t be very easy to distribute communion to close to 2 million people, so they use disposable plastic cups. “Easier” to handle that way.
    Except I should think there’d be a VERY easy solution!
    Even assuming we must have one giganitic Mass–debatable, but we’ll go with it–seems to me that it’d be fairly simple to only allow priests to distribute communion.
    I saw estimates of the expected crowd before the event; I recall seeing a listing of well over 1,000 priests. Surely the organizers would know that well ahead of time. I should think it would’ve been awfully easy to require each priest to bring his own ciborium for Mass. (It IS a ciborium for the Body, right??) Even if many priests might need to temporarily borrow one from either their parish or from a nearby place, surely they could bring THAT.

    ..And doing so would certainly add a distinctive degree of reverence for the Eucharist.

    So, like I said, I think this more a problem of lack of forethought and planning, not an indictment of the existence of youth events or World Youth Day in particular.
    I think this a stumbling block for ANY age!

  125. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Supertradmum,

    Sadly, some commentators here are writing as if the Body of Christ is not actually God.
    Having commented in a less than angry, though not agreeing, position, I take that comment as referring to among others me, and protest sharply against the assertion.

    To me, there is no difference between this scenario and the spitting, beating, and Crucifixion of Christ. Why cannot some see this? We mock Him.

    I am surprised that you cannot see the entire difference, being a difference as between day and night. Surely there is a difference between spitting and Crucifixion on the one hand and mere negligence, if we grant for hypothesis’ sake that it was negligence, on the other? Sure there is a difference between failure to express one’s reverence in appropriate forms on the one hand and mockery on the other?

  126. C. says:

    My reaction is cold and deliberate anger. The use of plastic cups is objectively grave evil per Redemptionis Sacramentum 173 and 117. There is no sugar coating it.

    I am also angry at those who think it is no big deal. Men’s immortal souls are falling into Hell like raindrops in a thunderstorm, a few more is no big deal. Let’s focus on important things like whatever is trending on Twitter.

    I assume the archbishop of Rio de Janeiro is the one ultimately responsible. I believe the current bishop is named Tempesta.

    What can be done? First Fridays is what can be done.

  127. Imrahil says:

    FWIW, I’m totally with the dear @MikeM’s last comment.

  128. Paul C Md says:

    I disagree with everyone.

    Jesus is a big boy, He went throught the Passion for us and can handle the use of plastic for an event that transforms the lost sheep [?!?] within the dare I say millions of sinners and young goofies, and I never am worthy to receive Him and everytime the Eucharist is waffed across the air before my tongue, microscopic bits of Christ drift and fall upon his earthly creation – scientifically speaking, this latter point is a certainty. [And irrelevant.]Jesus can handle that [?] – he’s tough, loving, and fill of Mercy. He understands the real world in science verus the ideal world in predicting.

    So let Jesus come into His people, these sinners, that are weathering outside distractions and trying to be there for Christ, with His people, in a “mass” standing for Jesus, a “mass” celebration and adoration of Jesus and His Church, the Mass of his passion and resurection. The playing kids are the same ones that are texting during Mass at home…but Jesus can take their ignorant unworthiness like the all-powerful God of Mercy He is – we can become small here and let Him suffer that potentially growing Love that they do have for Him and He certainly has for them, me thinks. [?]

    Truly, Jesus’ blood was spilt on the ground, for all of us on Calvary. At WYD some more (the same, but there too) was likely spilt, and “again” , there it was, spilt this same instance as on Calvary, upon the ground, as He suffered for us. We fail Him, but He can and does take it, in Love and Mercy. Poorly worded here, but I have some of His little creations to feed….

  129. robtbrown says:

    Paul C MD,

    1. “Microscopic bits” likely are no longer the species of bread and wine, which means it is equally likely that they are no longer the Body and Blood.

    2. In so far as the Eucharist is the Sacramental Representation of Christ’s Sacrifice, conduct at mass should be reckoned on how someone would act at the foot of the Cross. When Christ’s side was pierced with a lance, should his followers have said, “Jesus can handle that – he’s tough, loving, and fill of Mercy”?

  130. scribbly says:

    Rio was the third WYD my kids have been to; the final Mass was the culmination of months of preparation (in their home diocese) and weeks in Sth America where they were on mission (building houses and at a school) with daily Mass, catechesis and confession. I certainly hope that they had a holiday.

    Everything can be done better, but I agree with Paul C, Jesus is definitely bigger: especially when we have a will to seek and find Him. I continue to pray that the seeds that have been planted in WYD will germinate and grow.

  131. slainewe says:

    Worse than what happened at WYD are the remarks of those who would justify it. They give a whole new meaning to “making up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ.”

    As though He did not suffer enough for us.

  132. ocsousn says:

    I watched the Rio Mass. Everything in the sanctuary was done to perfection. In the far reaches of the crowd it was obviously a mess. We are stuck with mega Masses for the forseeable future. What might we do to mitigate the obvious abuses?
    1. TV: a big part of the problem. When the cameras pan the crowds and project the picture on the mega-screens it encourages a party atmosphere with everyone waving to the folks back home. This is a problem everywhere, even at the Vatican. Panning the crowd is fine for those watching from home but the images seen at the actual Mass should be exclusively of the events in the sanctuary.
    2. Music: Does it foster reverence and worship or a rock concert atmosphere? Do the soloists sing or perform? Is applause in response to music encouraged? The Rio music certainly fostered a carnival atmosphere. There is plenty of youth ministry music that is reverent and low-key: Taize and San Egidio to name just two. Taize even uses Latin! What a pity when, in the name of enculturation, the rich culture of Latin America is reduced to the level of popular entertainment!
    3. Holy Communion: As the experience in Germany cited above showed it can be done reverently. Without getting into the muddy waters of ethnic stereotypes I think we can honestly say that Germans and Brazilians have a somewhat different approach when it comes to organization. However, simple prudence would demand that there be some limit as to numbers and distance from the altar. Available sacred vessels should also be part of this calculus. There must be a happy medium between solid gold or silver and plastic cups.
    4. Concelebrants: There were hundreds concelebrants at Rio, many of them with all sorts gear in use during the Mass: cameras, smart phones, backpacks, baseball caps. This spoiled the great effort of having them all fully vested. Did all of them help with the distribution of Holy Communion? Apparently not. Rather than concelebrating at the altar have them stationed throughout the crowds before and during Mass and holding a ciborium, perhaps under a suitable kiosk/canopy or at least an umbrella. Rather than going through the crowds the people could come to them with stewards directing traffic. Meanwhile music should be suitably reverent with a narrator reminding people to be silent and reverent.

  133. Long-Skirts says:


    All the world’s
    A beach
    And all the men and women
    Merely players…

    For volley-ball
    Flash mob call
    Swaying hands
    In the stands

    Picnic up
    Party down
    Plastic people –
    Molded town –

    Well choreographed
    This plastic mold,
    Hollow containers
    Are humbly bold

    And to choreographer
    Their eyes look up
    But where is Jesus…

  134. maryh says:

    @Paul C Md
    You are truly missing the point. Of course, Jesus can handle it. The question is, can his lost sheep handle it?

    Wouldn’t it be better to instruct the attendees to make a spiritual communion than to risk anyone doubting in the Real Presence of Jesus?

    We’re not talking about something like not using the most precious materials possible. We are talking about using the cheapest possible vessel available. Something so cheap and unvalued that it is normally thrown away after use, because it’s not considered worth the time to wash and reuse!

    This is a matter of spiritual life and death. People leave the Church because our actions don’t match our words when we say this is the Real Presence.

  135. GordonB says:

    Part of the problem here is that its like receiving Communion has become sort of an entitlement that can be snatched up when not deserving or appropriate, as a result, there’s pressure to make the Eucharist available en mass at every important event, including the use of multiple extraordinary ministers of communion on a weekly basis. Talking of tradition, isn’t it a recent development (last 150 years or so) relaxed regulations on the frequency of reception of the Eucharist? I understand that frequent receipt is a noble thing, but shouldn’t it be reserved for those who are living more virtuous lives? Is such frequent reception of the Eucharist doing good for those who do not carefully discern what they are doing in receiving Communion, and otherwise, live unchristian lives? I say this as one wondering if I am bearing the fruit that goes along with at least weekly reception of the Eucharist. Example, I’ve seen the Duggar family and they seem to live a very virtuous life, without the Eucharist, as they are not Catholic — yet many Catholics receive the Eucharist weekly and do not display the kind of self giving charity one can see in Christian families who do not receive the Eucharist. I question whether the power of the Eucharist is being realized with our current approach to receiving it — doesn’t Jesus challenge us who are not in a state of Mortal sin to abstain from the Eucharist in this passage from Matthew 5:24-25 — “If therefore thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath anything against thee; Leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother, and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift.”

  136. brendanus says:

    “In the area where I was, though the Eucharist was not in precious metal as He should be, He instead was held in a ceramic bowl which is better than plastic disposable cups.”

    How wonderful for that attendee’s area. However that doesn’t negate the fact that Communion *was* distributed in other areas in the hand and from plastic cups.

    Yes, ceramic may be a step up from plastic, but it’s just another abuse.

    Fr. Z., is or is not the celebrant of the Mass culpable? Is not the celebrant of the Mass responsible for what he consecrates or how Communion is distributed at his Mass? [I don’t think that argument can be made for every Mass.]

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  138. Cathy says:

    Paul C MD, Our Lord is strong, we are not. There is no difference between the Jesus adored in the Monstrance and the Jesus placed in the plastic cup. The same Jesus who was transfigured on Mount Tabor, is the same Jesus who, soon after, was abandoned, betrayed and denied by His Apostles and was mocked and crucified by the crowd. Our Lord is the same now and forever. That “We must protect Jesus”, is the admonition of Pope Francis and is precisely why my heart is struck by this. Yes, the crowd may have the expectation to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, the scandal lies in seeing Him given as a common thing. Just as there is an expectation that the individual receive The Lord in a worthy manner, there should be, likewise, the expectation that The Lord be given in a worthy manner. There are specific instructions given, even to receive Our Lord in the hand, grossly absent in the manner of distribution, and I have seen the same gesture used and not corrected, even in seeing young children receive their first Holy Communion. Yes, Our Lord is the same, yet we are weaker in both our capacity to correct and to be corrected. I do pray, that such sights strike our hearts with simplicity and wisdom to understand the problem with Holy Communion in the hand. The pedagogy of discipleship is discipline, reverence and great love. Somehow, these pictures simply convey the pedagogy of crowd demand and chaos, not quite the thoughtful or reverent conclusion of a gathering of Catholic Youth. I don’t place blame upon these young people, I have to ask, what were the “organizers” of this spectacle thinking?

  139. Rushintuit says:

    You’re right, this isn’t a referendum on WYD. It’s a referendum on the post conciliar Church! [No. It’s not. And for that I will delete the rest of your comment.]

  140. Imrahil says:

    Dear @brendanus, interesting question. I’d have thought too that the celebrant is responsible.

    In which case the distinguishment between
    1. breaking natural law
    2. breaking positive Church law in an, even positive law set aside, objectively distasteful manner
    3. breaking positive Church law by an in itself objectively subobtimal, but positive law set aside, not directly reproachful manner
    (4. breaking positive Church law by something entirely neutral in itself, law set aside,
    5. breaking positive Church law by something even good in itself, law set aside)
    becomes important.

    Excuse the hairsplitting, but if some say “sacrilege” and things like that, a little bit of hairsplitting seems in order.

    I put no.s 4 and 5 into brackets because I do not think they are the case. I might have put no. 1 into brackets too because I do not either think it is the case, though some here do. Is it 2 or 3? I’m agnostic to that.

    The thing is the celebrant, in this case, is the Pope. Now in cases from no. 3 onwards, a Pope cannot be culpable. He is the supreme lawgiver. In manners of no. 2, a Pope might be accused of bad style, but not either of any law-breaking, sacrilege or worse.

  141. Salvelinus says:

    This is desecration….. I have a strong suspicion also that there were no confessions being offered prior to the dispensation. REVERENCE FOLKS, REVERENCE!!!!

  142. rbbadger says:

    When I was in the major seminary of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, I used to pray the Fatima prayers in reparation often as a part of my thanksgiving for Holy Communion. I suppose now is as good a time as any to say them again.

    “Santíssima Trindade, Pai, Filho e Espírito Santo, adoro-vos profundamente e ofereço-vos o preciosíssimo Corpo, Sangue, Alma e Divindade de Jesus Cristo, presente em todos os sacrários da terra, em reparação dos ultrajes, sacrilégios e indiferenças com que Ele mesmo é ofendido. E pelos méritos infinitos do Seu Santíssimo Coração e do Coração Imaculado de Maria, peço-Vos a conversão dos pobres pecadores”.

  143. PA mom says:

    That was awful.
    There must be a metallic vessel of some sort in common usage that could be used to supplement ciboriums. Metal vases, decorative bowls, creamers, something, that people could offer from their own homes to supplement. Now maybe everyone does not prefer to lug those items around all day, but with some planning, it would make a huge difference.
    Maybe there is a position that the Pope could place a woman in for the planning of WYD. In my experience it is alway the woman wanting to pull out the fine china, while the guy is trying to take out the paper plates…

  144. jhayes says:

    For comparison, here are the arrangments for Pope Benedict’s 2008 Mass at Yankee Stadium for 56,000 people.

    Foremost on Msgr. Ivers’ mind is how to distribute the Eucharist to 56,000 people in the allotted time. The Holy See has requested that distribution take no longer than 15 minutes.

    “We’ll be using about 550 priests to help distribute Communion,” said Msgr. Ivers. The priests will be stationed at various positions throughout the stadium’s three levels. “There will be an average of about 100 communicants to every priest, so that we can do it within a reasonable amount of time.”

    According to Msgr. Ivers, Msgr. Guido Marini, the Vatican’s master of papal ceremonies, visited the site in February and seemed pleased with the planning so far. One question that was addressed by the Vatican was the placement of priests on the lower level during Communion. Whereas priests in the upper two levels will have hosts that will likely be consecrated during a Mass at the stadium earlier in the day, the priests on the field level will approach the altar with their ciboria filled with hosts prior to the Eucharistic Prayer. After the consecration, the priests will descend their ramps and go to their assigned positions for Communion distribution.


    One priest per 100 persons, as at Yankee Stadium, would have required 35,000 priests at Rio.

  145. Cordelio says:

    Dear Imrahil:

    The Catholic Encyclopedia defines “real sacrilege” as “…the irreverent treatment of sacred things as distinguished from places and persons.” It goes on to mention in the discussion of real sacrilege that “…deliberate and notable irreverence towards the Holy Eucharist is reputed the worst of all sacrileges.” (Obviously, Our Eucharistic Lord is a person – indeed one of the Persons – but irreverence toward the Holy Eucharist is for some reason not treated as personal sacrilege.)

    Perhaps one can conceive of extreme circumstances in which placing the Holy Eucharist in a disposable plastic beverage cup would not be irreverent, or perhaps even the best available alternative (e.g., by a priest who is celebrating Mass secretly in a prison camp), but the Pope lacks the power to make something reverent that is objectively irreverent under the actual circumstances.

    I am not trying to impute blame to the Pope for this particular sacrilege – it seems plausible to me that he was never consulted about it and may not even have realized it was happening. My point is that there are no objective circumstances in this case that could possibly justify this treatment of the Blessed Sacrament – whether the Pope would have personally approved or not.

    Materially, the worst of sacrileges (i.e., irreverence toward the Blessed Sacrament) occurred here. Of course, I am not competent to judge the actual guilt of those involved.

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  147. This is disgusting and beyond reprehensible.

    See how they make Our Lord suffer!

    No wonder no one believes in the Real Presence anymore!

    I am beyond angry. Is there a choice #6?

  148. mike cliffson says:

    You have testimony that this was not universal and therefore seemingly unplanned. at the organizational level, howsoever wrong, and even if it had been, planned at the top by the Holy Father himself. this somehow smears all WYD pilgrims?
    Funny how the impression one got was that the whole beach, pretty well, was in adoration of the blessed sacrament the previous night,and how many of them will never ever have been at benediction in their parishes, for lack of same?
    I am becoming scandalized by the extensional judgements made on this combox to all of three million pilgrims, many of which are easily checkable, such as availabilty of confession (a wyd constant) etc.Or the swimmers, etc.

  149. tnconvert says:

    Not worthy to be called the chalice of salvation…What next, a Jesus Happy Meal? Reparation needed.

  150. What about World Elderly Day? What is so special about the self-aggrandizement of youth that is so special? Aren’t we all special in the eyes of God not to have the Church pick and choose their favorite age classes to celebrate?

  151. njfworld says:

    I am sad to see this picture, but having been there at the Mass, I’d definitely have to say this photo represents a woefully unformed, uninformed activist volunteer trying to work something out in one area of the field. Definitely not the norm or the way the organizing committee intended. Definitely no tacit approval from anyone, Pope, Cardinal or otherwise.

    Communion distribution I saw was ordered, disciplined, respectful, many receiving kneeling and on the tongue. And for the last Mass, when Communion for so many was impossible, we were told to visit our local parish after Mass for Communion, which I did with no problem. This photo is definitely the exception, probably attributable to the girl in green holding the stack of cups who needs some liturgical formation urgently!

    If you want a real Eucharistic story from WYD, try 3 million young people kneeling in silent adoration before the Blessed Sacrament exposed before receiving Benediction from our Holy Father. Try a moment of absolute silence across a crowd of 3.5 million young people (you could hear a pin drop!) giving thanks for receiving their Eucharistic Lord in their heart in Holy Communion. If you want a story that represents the reality of WYD Rio, then here it is. And like this one, there are many, many more.

  152. frjim4321 says:

    It certainly could not be considered a sacrilege or a desecration but on the face it does seem to be the manifestation of a lack of decorum. It probably could have been considered an “emergency” in the sense that there were hundreds of thousands of people participating and it would have been unseemly to deprive them of communion merely because thousands of gold-plated vessels were not available.

    I’m reminded of accounts of liturgies in concentration camps in which there were no vessels, and the elements were held in the cupped hand of the priest.

    I don’t have a problem with the use of the plastic it is was the only way to assure reception of communion by all. Also, it would have been easy for the ministers to assure no visible fragments remained just by swishing with a little water and consuming.

    The problem I see is with the disposal of an item that was used for distribution. Better to have used paper than plastic, and then burn.

  153. That is a most reasonable approach, frjim, but it seems like something is off the mark when a decision on what to use for Eucharistic distribution echoes the supermarket query, “paper or plastic?”

  154. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Cordelio,

    deliberate and notable.


    “Objectively a sin and I don’t judge on the subjective conscience” seems legitimate to talk about in general, but not, in my view, where the intent itself makes the crime. So, I have no problem to say they were irreverent because I can, and will, understand that word as “un-reverent” without a moral qualification (except of course lacking of possible reverence – which does not make a sacrilege). I do have a problem to say they were sacrilegious because that would mean they had sacrilegious intent, which they had not.

  155. Cordelio says:

    Dear Imrahil,

    To address your last point first, you are no more competent to say that the participants and those responsible were not morally culpable for sacrilege than I am to say that they were. Not judging in the internal forum works both ways. I certainly hope they were not, just as I hope the Holy Father was not.

    Regarding your first point, in every sin intent “makes the crime” – and in every sin it is impossible for another man to judge the intent with absolute certainty. Sacrilege is no different than any other sin in this respect – one can still distinguish between material and formal sacrilege. If you concede that distributing Holy Communion in plastic cups was objectively irreverent under the circumstances, then you are also conceding that doing so was materially a sacrilege.

    Now frjim4321 seems to be taking the position that distributing our Eucharistic Lord in a disposable cup could have been, objectively, excused on the grounds of some kind of necessity – that doing so may not have been objectively irreverent under the circumstances. I disagree very strenuously with that position.

    That Mass and those plastic cups did not represent the only opportunity those faithful would have in the foreseeable future to receive Communion. This is very unlike a prison camp scenario, although it would be amusing in a bad way to think that the WYD organizers created a situation morally equivalent to a prison camp when it came to distribution of the Blessed Sacrament.

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