From a seminarian…
First and foremost I have to thank you immensely for this blog, which has greatly helped me and some of my brothers from our Seminary down here in Brazil (where stuff like those on Fishwrap are rather commonplace as well).
Now to the question… Father, I heard that somewhere not so far from here it’s been happening a situation I’m not so comfortable with but about which I have no arguments or explanations: after the faithful have received Communion, Father gives the Chalice to the EMHC or Master of Ceremonies (this one being a 16 years old boy) as he cannot consume of It himself because of illness or medication indult and only has the Communion from both kinds guaranteed by intinction. In any case, Father is the first to Communicate and the rest of the Mass is reverently and normally performed and this person has already communicated on due time.
Quæritur: who can Communicate from the Precious Blood after communion is over or proceed with purification of the Chalice?
Thank you again and may the Lord bless us all and especially this blog, you and my fellow readers.
GUEST PRIEST RESPONSE: Fr. Tim Ferguson
First rule in the seminary – as long as it doesn’t violate the moral law, do what your superiors tell you to do.
There are four Cardinal virtues – justice, prudence, temperance and fortitude. All are important, but in seminary formation, the virtue of prudence is truly the queen of all virtues, since it governs and guides the others. Prudence does not require violating one’s conscience, but prudence does require one to carefully select the battles one fights. Prudence, for a seminarian, often means swallowing some liturgical tomfoolery, because to fight against it in that situation is not the virtue of fortitude, but rather the vice of foolhardiness.
That said, Our Eucharistic Lord deserves all the respect we mere mortals can give.
Holy Communion should be received as devoutly as possible. The Church now permits the regular reception of Holy Communion under both species. There are many complications which come from the distribution of Holy Communion under both species. Some of these complications arise from the fact that the Precious Blood, unlike the Sacred Hosts, is not to be reserved after Mass – it should be wholly consumed.
If a priest consecrates too many Hosts, what happens? Ordinarily, the excess hosts are reserved in the tabernacle. If a priest consecrates too much Precious Blood, what happens? Here’s our dilemma.
All good seminarians, steeped in the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, know that consuming a larger portion of the Holy Eucharist does not avail themselves of more Christ, and neither does receiving the Holy Eucharist under both species. Christ is truly present in the Eucharist under both, or either forms, and as long as the elements retain sufficiently the appearance of bread and wine, Christ is sacramentally present. If one were to receive a whole host, and the next person in line were to receive only half a host, both receive the same Christ.
With these theological matters in mind, we can approach the question. Unfortunately, there is not currently in the Missal a “de defectibus Missae” section that outlines what is to be done in these situations, and since reception of the Precious Blood was not ordinarily done by anyone other than the priest in the older Missal, the “de defectibus” there does not enlighten us. So, what are the options?
1. The priest could consume the excess consecrated Blood.
2. The priest could ask another to consume the excess consecrated Blood.
3. The priest could dissolve the consecrated Blood with enough water so that it no longer retains the appearance and form of wine and respectfully dispose of the material down the sacrarium.
It seems as though this priest has, for various reasons, opted for option 2. That person has already received Holy Communion, and by assisting the priest, is not receiving “more” Communion, anymore so than if he had accidentally been given two Hosts at the altar rail.
The prudence of having a 16 year old be that person seems questionable, but there is no real liturgical norm being violated here. It should be an occasion for the priest to consider consecrating a smaller amount of wine at subsequent Masses.
Fr. Z adds:
To ALL SEMINARIANS… review HERE for the Rules of Seminary Survival. I believe that we are going to return in many places to something like the experience we vets had in the 80’s.
Also, speaking of not receiving “more Jesus” with a greater quantity of the Eucharist and speaking of the horrid hell hole that was the seminary I did hard time in…
We had “substantial bread”. I’ll spare you the details of how it was made, but it was often so inedible, so impenetrable with human teeth that we could barely get it down. In spite of its resistant qualities, it still left lots of crumbs. How happy Satan must have been. In any event, it was so tough that even the lib seminarians hated it and we all complained. The response we received back – I am not making this up – from a priest on the faculty was – again, I am not making this up – the more we chewed, the more of a sacrament it was.
What times were those.
However, doesn’t that sound a little like something that you might now, these days, hear again?