My friend and I were discussing this thought experiment. Consider a host has been captured and is being held for ransom. What cost is too great for the church to bear (if any)? My friend and I both instinctually said the entire value of the church worth the single host not being desecrated, but if the church become insolvent, was it worth it? It feels extremely wrong to attach a monetary value to our Lord.
Yes, it does feel quite wrong to put a price on the Lord. Judas did that and it didn’t work out so well for him.
To get my head into this question, I consulted with two bishops, whom I have “anonymized”.
Interesting and hopefully always theoretical question. The infinite value of the Eucharist obviously cannot be monetized. Would putting a parish in insolvency be the right response in such a case? On the one hand, the Host would be worth more than all that could be given. On the other hand, jeopardizing the work of the parish means the elimination of many sacraments for years to come. A difficult dilemma. Is allowing one stolen host to be desecrated permissible for the sake of the good of so many other sacraments? In the end, I would say that it isn’t.
Having considered this on the day we honor the first martyrs of the See of Rome, the only response that I possibly could offer would be my life. As our senses fail to fathom, there is no way to verify that the host is consecrated. Also, the writer indicates correctly that a validly consecrated Host has inestimable value. Therefore, the negotiation would need to be a witness, to offer one’s life in exchange for the safe return of the Host, without being desecrated. That kind of martyrdom would be truly saintly and would undoubtedly bear tremendous fruit in the life of the Church.
Both answers showing great reverence for Our Lord in the Eucharist. One looks to future service to the flock. The other considers martyrdom. Both good points.
That was also a good point about knowing for sure or not that the Host was, in fact, consecrated. Wasn’t there a moron a few years ago who make a big deal out of documenting his appropriation of Hosts and their desecration? Perhaps in Minnesota?
The Lord underwent His Passion and rose to impassibility. However, our sins crucified the Lord and He knew that those sins wouldn’t end. He told us that we would be hated because they hated Him first. We shouldn’t be surprised that people desecrate the Eucharist, as shocking as it is because of our Faith.
My inclination is not to attempt to ransom the Host with money. I would respond with a Mass of reparation and a call for people to perform acts of penance and to pray for the soul of the person who, if culpable in such a sin, would surely go to Hell for it.
Also, as in the case of sale – and purchase – of relics on Ebay, etc., once people start paying, a market is created for this sort of sacrilege. It seems to me that we shouldn’t contribute to the development of a market.
Moreover, if it is know where the Host was improperly obtained, I would at least attempt to get law enforcement involved … if there is any left! We cannot say that from the religious perspective a Host is our “property”. But we might be able to say that it is from a civil/legal perspective. If someone committed an act of theft of a Host, clearly the most sacred thing we have, it would also arguably be a hate crime. Reporting such a theft could help to reduce future occurrences.
As I muse on this: I wonder if an argument could be made that, if we distribute Hosts to people’s hands, and they can walk around or out with them, then they have been “alienated” and people are not “stealing” them when they walk out of church with one.
Another argument for Communion directly on the tongue?