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Eucharistic Profanation and the Philadelphia Papal Mass


A public papal Mass will be held at the close of the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia on September 27th, 2015. With attendance estimates ranging from the hundreds of thousands to over a million people, there is an urgent need to get the message out about the serious potential for Eucharistic profanation that happens at these large public Masses. We already saw what happened in the Philippines last year. If we don’t spread the word, there’s nothing to stop it — or at least mitigate the damage — this time around.

We ask that you please watch this video, and if you find it worth considering, share it.


Pope Francis is coming to Philadelphia in a little less than a month. During his visit, he will celebrate the public closing Mass for the World Meeting of Families on September 27th outside the Philadelphia Art Museum – a venue that drew an estimated 400,000 people when Pope John Paul II said Mass outside the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul back in 1979.

Event organizers are estimating that number could exceed one million people this time around.

While it’s encouraging to see so many people enthusiastic about a papal visit, it will undoubdtedly present a serious problem: the almost unavoidable profanation of the Eucharist that takes place whenever it is distributed in the hand – especially in large crowds.

The reason this is a problem is not immediately obvious to many Catholics. Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan, has dedicated much of his life to defending Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist. He describes Our Eucharistic Lord as the “most defenseless” being in the entire world. In a recent interview with the Paulus Society, he was asked about his book, Dominus Est: It is the Lord!

[Bishop Schneider Interview Video]

And so it was my intention to also to shout in the Church that bishops and faithful and priests may awaken and recognize that this little, little host during the distribution of Holy Communion is the Lord! The Creator of Heaven and Earth! The Infinite Majesty and Sanctity of God! Hidden in this, this little host.

Unfortunately in the last forty, fifty years, it was spread, a manner to receive and distribute Holy Communion, called, “in the hand,” which really is a cause, an effective cause of the diminishing of the conscience and the faith that it is the Lord. When I can handle the host as in a very similar manner as I can handle a chip and take with my two fingers and put in my mouth — the same gestures as communion in the hand … the most grievous aspect in this manner is that the loss of numerous fragments of the hosts, because they fall down, continuously – no one can deny this. It is a fact. Or they stick on the palms, or the fingers. And then they fall down on earth, and then trampled. Our Lord is trampled by His faithful in numerous churches. And we continue quietly, and no one shouts!

So how serious of a problem is the loss of host fragments? Very serious. Incredibly serious. Far more serious than most recipients of Holy Communion might imagine.

[Video clip demonstrating loss of Eucharistic fragments. No audio.]

In a video produced in 2009, Gabriel Castillo of demonstrated just how easily host fragments are lost. Just a slight drop or normal placement of the host leaves fragments in the hand, or on a hard surface. How many fragments are dropped at each and every Mass when Communion in the Hand is the preferred method of reception?

Compare this to the traditional method of distribution of communion, where the communicant kneels to receive the host from a priest who has only a short distance to transfer the host, and always with the help of a paten to catch errant fragments. In the Church’s traditional liturgy, the priest is also obligated to keep his “canonical digits” together, so as to avoid the loss of any fragments of the host that may be stuck to his fingers. From the moment of the consecration to the purification during the Ablutions, at any moment when the priest is not touching the host, his fingers are kept securely pressed together.

When one considers the fact that even small fragments of a host contain the entire Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, what may at first seem like an overabundance of caution becomes much more sensible. The advent of the contemporary spectacle Mass, however — from World Youth Day to other large papal and diocesan events – creates a context in which Bishop Schneider’s sorrow over the trampling of Our Lord under the feet of the faithful becomes not just a possibility, but a certainty.

[Video of 2014 papal Mass in Manilla. No audio.]

For proof of that fact, look back to the papal Mass in the Philippines in 2014, where so many people presented themselves for communion that it was a logistical impossibility to distribute it to all of them in an orderly fashion. Instead, hosts were passed hand to hand, overhead, through the crowds. How many fragments were lost to be crushed underfoot? How many whole hosts were stepped on in the mud?

At the Philadelphia Mass, the number of hosts being prepared for distribution is so significant that it generated a story on the local news:

[ABC 6 Action News Video on the making of hosts for the Philiadelphia Papal Mass]

Anchor: Well with the pope’s upcoming visit to our area just a month away, many of the Catholic faithful are hard at work in preparation for the big weekend, including members of a Bucks County order of nuns who have the important task of cooking up something spiritual and special for the huge papal Mass on the parkway. Action news reporter Nora Muchanic has the story.

Nora Muchanic (voiceover on video of nuns making communion hosts): The Poor Claires are a small group of cloistered nuns in Langhorn. The sisters have been working hard recently to fill an important order – they’ve been asked to make a hundred thousand communion hosts for the papal masses during Pope Francis’s visit.

While it’s certainly understandable that people want to receive communion at a papal Mass, the risk of unintentional profanation is simply too great to warrant the risk – to say nothing of the theft of consecrated hosts as “souvenirs” or to be used for desecration in Satanic Masses or other purposes.

There is a prudent way to handle the situation at papal Masses: ask the faithful present NOT to receive, but to instead make a spiritual communion.

[Video of Pope Paul VI offering Mass at Yankee Stadium, October, 1965. No audio.]

While there were fewer large public Masses in the era before John Paul II’s papacy, the practice during those years was to limit distribution of communion to a select few. In October of 1965, Pope Paul VI celebrated Mass in a packed Yankee Stadium. When time came to distribute communion, only 12 young children – a symbolic representation of the faithful gathered at the event – were allowed to receive.

When it comes to the Mass in Philadelphia, there’s little we can do to stop this from happening again through official channels.

But we can make a choice. We can refrain. If you’re planning to go to the Papal Mass in Philadelphia, please, I implore you, limit yourself to making a spiritual communion. And if you believe that this is a grievous offense against Our Eucharistic Lord, share this video with your friends and family. Send it to your priest, to your bishop, to Archbishop Chaput, to Rome. Remind them of what is at stake. The vast majority of people do these things not out of malice, but rather out of ignorance.

Bishop Schneider put it in simple, undeniable terms: “Our Lord is trampled by His faithful in numerous Churches, and we continue quietly, and no one shouts!”

Well I’m shouting. Who will shout with me?

31 thoughts on “Eucharistic Profanation and the Philadelphia Papal Mass”

  1. Dear Mr. Skojec,

    Why project the “Power of True Priesthood” onto men who do not possess it?
    The rotten fruit of the new Roman religion of antichrist is visible to all; however, all do not “see”.
    Please embrace THE “sweet & bitter” TRUTH that Vatican II is false and deceitful.
    Please embrace THE “sweet & bitter” TRUTH that John XXIII is the name of 2 antipopes.
    And please embrace THE “sweet & bitter” TRUTH that St. Pius X’s fragrance reaches unto heaven, yet Paul VI’s stench descends into hell.
    May God’s will be done.

    your brother in Christ,

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  2. At the Mass to celebrate my great aunt’s diamond jubilee they had a table set with hosts on one side and a spoon like deal to move them from one bowl to another. I had been an altar boy for a long time and never saw that. I don’t even know the significance.

  3. I think Jesus is far more concerned about when the poor have not enough to eat or the mentally ill are left living homeless under bridges than unidentifiable fragments are “lost”

      • I have no doubt of it The question we get asked at the judgement is about feeding the poor, welcoming the stranger, visiting the imprisoned, comforting the sick etc And if you knew your theology you would no when the sign is no longer there–i.e. when it no longer appears to be bread (in this case because the fragment is unidentifiably small) than neither is the Real Presence there. just write your bishop’s office for a clarification on that one I

        • You really shouldn’t be so confident. “The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ.” (CCC 1377; cf. Council of Trent, Session XIII, Canon III)”

          The Church also teaches that “The Eucharistic presence of Christ endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1377).

          How about some more examples?

          “Do not now regard as bread that which I have given you; but take, eat this Bread, and do not tread upon (or crush, grind—conteratis) its crumbs (micas); for what I have called My Body, that it is indeed. One particle from its crumbs (e micis ejus) is able to sanctify thousands of thousands, and is sufficient to afford life to those who eat of it” (St. Ephrem,Hymni et sermons, IV, 4).

          “Partake of it, but be sure not to lose any of it. For if you lose any of it, you would clearly suffer a loss, as it were of your own limbs. Tell me, if anyone gave you gold dust, would you not take hold of it with every possible care, ensuring that you would not drop any of it or suffer any loss? So will you not be much more cautious to ensure that not a crumb falls away from that which is more precious than gold or precious stones?” (St. Cyril of Jerusalem,Catechesis mystagogica V, 21-22, PG 33).

          “Also in every part of the consecrated host or the consecrated wine, when separated, the whole Christ is there” (Council of Florence (1438-1445), Decree for the Armenians, DS #1322).

          “In fact the faithful thought themselves guilty, and rightly so, if after they received the Body of the Lord in order to preserve it with all care and reverence, a small fragment of it fell off through negligence” (Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei, no. 58, September 3, 1965).

          “Receive it: be careful lest you lose any of it. Further, the practice which must be considered traditional ensures, more effectively, that holy communion is distributed with the proper respect, decorum and dignity. It removes the danger of profanation of the sacred species, in which, in a unique way, Christ, God and man, is present whole and entire, substantially and continually” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Memoriale Domini).

          “After Holy Communion, not only should the remaining Hosts and the particles that have fallen from them that retain the appearance of bread be reverently preserved or consumed, as the reverence due to Christ’s eucharistic Presence, but even for the other fragments of Hosts the directions for purifying the patens and chalice should be observed as they are found in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, De Particulis et fragmentis hostiarum reverenter conservandis vel sumendis, May 2, 1972).

          “Especially in the manner of receiving Holy Communion (in the hand) some points indicated from experience should be most carefully observed. Let the greatest diligence and care be taken particularly with regard to fragments, which perhaps break off the hosts. This applies to the minister and to the recipient whenever the Sacred Host is placed in the hands of the communicant” (Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments, Immensae Caritatis, January 25, 1973).

          (Quotes taken from:

          • I am not arguing that Christ is not really and truly present in the Eucharist or that the bread is not truly become his body and the wine not truly become his blood. But once the outward sign is no longer present neither is Christ present. Fragments of such size to be recognizable as outwardly bread contain the real presence; fragments so small as to be indistinguishable from common dust do not. write the pope and ask him–or actually the Congregation of Divine Worship Trust me, I know the teaching of the Church on this matter I have read your website and it more often reflects your opinions than the teaching of the church

          • Visible crumbs of the Eucharist contain the entire Eucharistic presence. This is the perennial teaching of the Church. It’s the reason why patens are used. It’s the reason why the very ill who cannot swallow — such as those who have had strokes — can have tiny particles of a host placed on their tongue to dissolve.

            I’m not interested in your assessment of whether the site reflects my opinions. Bishop Schneider’s teaching on this is clear and consistent with the constant understanding of the Church on this matter. It doesn’t require further response.

          • They certainly are, in many places. I’ve been to more Novus Ordo Masses than I can count where patens were used. When I was a Novus Ordo altar boy, I used them myself.

          • What I’m seeing in this conversation seems to be:

            Patrickmcmahon: “This is my opinion on what Jesus is most
            concerned about.”

            Steve Skojec: “You think so?”

            Patrickmcmahon: “If you disagree with me, you don’t know your

            Steve Skojec: (Gives examples from the Catechism, St. Ephrem, St.
            Cyril of Jerusalem, the Council of Florence, Pope Paul VI, the CDF, and
            the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments– all
            refuting Patrickmcmahon’s opinion). “Perhaps you shouldn’t be so
            confident in your opinion…”

            Patrickmcmahon: (Evidently does not read the examples Mr. Skojec
            provides). “Trust me, I know what the Church says, and it’s not all
            those things you just demonstrated She says– it’s what I say (even
            though I haven’t provided a single source to back my opinion).
            Besides, even though you’ve just given over a half dozen sources
            backing your statement, I’m now going to accuse you of doing what I’ve been doing all along– confusing my own opinion for the actual
            teaching of the Church”.

            Steve Skojec: (washes his hands). *sigh*

            Mr. Skojec, the internet is full of Patrickmcmahons. You did what
            you could.

          • Wait a minute. Didn’t Pope Francis tell us in his encyclical “Laudato Si” that even a particle of dust as a part of creation is so important that it should concern us?

            If a particle of dust, which isn’t the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, concerns the Pope so much that he included it in an encyclical to the world, shouldn’t we also be concerned about how Christ himself is handled?

    • The fragments aren’t unidentifiable, they are Christ. Christ’s concern for the poor and disabled has nothing to do with respecting Him in the Eucharist. It isn’t an either/or situation. We can assist the poor AND respect our Lord in the Eucharist.

      • it is pointless to argue with those who define the teaching of the Church in their own terms rather than according to the Fathers and Doctors

        • Please enlighten us by providing references to the teaching of the Church and the Fathers and Doctors whom you claim teach something other than what Steve has provided.

          • And patrickmcmahon’s response to your request? **crickets**.

            It’s especially rich that, while he accuses many here of “defining
            the teaching in their own terms” (despite numerous citations of
            the Fathers and Doctors that support so many here), PMcM
            hasn’t once produced a Father or Doctor to support his own assertion.

    • Christ’s taught us to love God first and with a proper love of God, we could then love our neighbor. This places God above man, even those who are hungry or homeless. One cannot love any other without loving God first. Christ also said the poor would always be among us, giving us an opportunity to practice the virtue of charity, which comes through grace given to us when we put God first, above all else.

  4. Can Communion be limited to only the priests in attendance? I don’t know what the requirements are. It seems to me that at very large Masses, our Lord becomes a party favor of sorts. People, for some reason, think there is more value added in the Eucharist at a papal Mass. Or they may have a sense of entitlement or want to brag that they received Communion at a Mass celebrated by the Pope. Sins of pride. It really affords a greater occasion to receive unworthily, IMO. And how many will receive in the hand and squirrel away our Lord, perhaps to save as a souvenir or to use in their own personal home adoration chapel or to use for a demonic act?

  5. The “Novus Ordo” mass lends itself to profanation of the Blessed Sacrament. It (profanation) is a direct by-product of that “mass.” Fr. John Marochi

  6. Communion in the hand is a sin, blasphemy and heresy all rolled up into one more Novus Ordo joke. God’s world will be a better place when the Novus Ordo has faded away into Hell where it belongs and Catholics are back to being Catholics again. Until then, may God have mercy on us all.


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