Monday, May 06, 2002

Over at a message board I used to visit, there was talk about the Eucharist. In particular, there was talk about how it was seemingly "ok" to add honey to the Eucharist. The person who originally made the comment that their parish added honey didn't defend the practice (as a matter of fact he left the board quite quickly thereafter) but other people (who shall remain nameless) thought it perfectly acceptable to add honey. The reasoning of which was [The] addition of a bit of honey to the Eucharist as symbolic of the sweetness He inbues into us.

Horse pucky.

The Catholic Church is quite clear on what can and cannot be added into the Eucharistic bread. The Catholic Encyclopedia states:
The necessity of wheaten bread is deduced immediately from the words of Institution: "The Lord took bread" (ton arton), in connection with which it may be remarked, that in Scripture bread (artos), without any qualifying addition, always signifies wheaten bread.

The Code of Canon Law states:
The bread must be made of wheat alone and recently made so that there is no danger of corruption" (CIC 924:2).

And from Pope John Paul II:
"The bread for the celebration of the Eucharist, in accordance with the tradition of the whole Church, must be made solely of wheat, and, in accordance with the tradition proper to the Latin Church, it must be unleavened. By reason of the sign, the matter of the Eucharistic celebration 'should appear as actual food.' This is to be understood as linked to the consistency is of the bread, and not to its form, which remains the traditional one. No other ingredients are to be added to the wheaten flour and water. The preparation of the bread requires attentive care to ensure that the product does not detract from the dignity due to the Eucharistic bread, can be broken in a dignified way, does not give rise to excessive fragments, and does not offend the sensibilities of the faithful when they eat it" (Inestimabile Donum 8).

And last but not least:
"The requisite material for the celebration of the Eucharist and the confection of the sacrament is only weatenbread, recently made whereby the danger of corruption is avoided... Unleavened bread alone is to be used in the Latin Rite.

"The bread must be made from wheat, mixed with natural water, baked by the application of fire heat (including electric cooking) and substantially uncorrupted. The variety of the wheat or the region of its origin does not affect its validity, but bread made from any other grain is invalid material. Bread made with milk, wine, oil, etc., either entirely or in a notable part, is invalid material. The addition of a condiment, such as salt or sugar, is unlwaful but valid, unless added in a notable quantity. Unbaked dough or dough fried in butter or cooked in water is invalid matter; likewise bread which is corrupted substantially, but not if it has merely begun to corrupt....

"The bread must be of wheat flour and only in case of necessity a white material thrashed or crushed from wheat. It must be free from mixture with any other substance besides flour and water. It is gravely unlawful to consecrate with doubtful matter. Altar breads must be fresh or recently baked and must not be allowed to get mouldy, which condition varies with regions, climates, etc." (Nicholas Halligan, The Sacraments and Their Celebration, [New York: Alba House, 1986], 65-66).

At this point, there should be no doubt that wheaten bread, unleavened and without additions should be used for the Latin Rite eucharist. To NOT do so, intentionally, is a very serious matter. It goes against Canon Law, which I imagine, can carry an extremely stiff penalty. All Catholic priests should know better than to futz with the Eucharist.

Anyways, what does this all mean? Why am I writing about it?

I think it is a clear indication of where certain elements of the Church have gone. You see, the Eucharist truly is Christ. Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Yet, people still feel the need to "change Him". Make them fit their own feelings and desires. To me, these people are like the people we find in John 6:60 who say This is a hard saying; who can listen to it? They do not understand Jesus' message, they do not want to understand Jesus' message. They want to place God in a box, a convenient box. They think that by placing God in this box, they can control Him. This faux Christ, this anti-Christ condones homosexuality (marriages, unions and practices), condones abortions, condones birth control and condones every other evil we can find in this disgustingly liberal world. To them, Jesus actual sayings are "hard" and "who can listen to them"? So instead of listening to them, they place words in Christ's mouth.

And since they think they can get away with this, they think they can get away with sacrilege of the Eucharist. I doubt these people believe in the Real Presence, because if they did, they certainly wouldn't slap honey on Jesus Christ. They would treat Him with the reverence that He deserves. It goes full circle really. They don't respect His message, so they definitely won't respect Him. They don't respect Him, so they definitely won't respect His message.

And when they don't respect Him or His message, they are not decent representatives of Him or His message. I am willing to bet you that Paul Shanley didn't believe in the Real Presence. And that my folks, is part of the problem. So, when is the Church going to get back to Perpetual Adoration? Teach respect for Christ and you teach respect for His message, and His message is the Way, the Truth and the Life. And that Life is a life in Christ.

So, accept the Eucharist as it is. Adding honey to the Eucharist? That is not the Christ I worship, that is not the Christ that any Catholic should worship. We should accept Christ as He meant for us to accept Him, hard sayings and all. We should not try to mask these things, or ignore them. They will not go away. Jesus Christ is not stupid, nor will He forget.

Once we stop trying to mold Jesus Christ into OUR image, but rather... let Him mold us into His image, perhaps the world will change.

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