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Frequently Asked Questions
regarding the
DISPOSING OF CONSECRATED HOSTS.

Q. 1. What is the proper way of disposing of a Consecrated Host?

A. 1. The proper way of disposing of a Consecrated Host is to:

A. In a situation where a communicant drops the Sacred Host on the floor in the Church when receiving the Sacrament of Holy Communion, he should pick it up and consume it immediately.

B. In the case where a priest or eucharistic minister served the Sacred Host to an elderly in a Senior's Home and the senior spit it out, being unable to swallow it, the Sacred Host should be collected in a piece of linen and returned to the parish for the priest to dispose of it.

C. To dispose of a Sacred Host, the priest or eucharistic minister must dissolve it in water to the point where the Host no longer has the appearance of bread. This may require that the Host be broken up in pieces prior to placing it in water.

D. The next step is to pour the liquid down the sacristies sacrarium (a special sink with a drain going directly into the ground, not the sewer). When such is not available, the liquid should be poured on the ground in a location that would not be walked over, such as behind a flower bed that is along a wall, at the foot of a statue or similar places.

Q. 2. What about in a situation where the Sacred Host is not properly disposed in accordance to the teachings of the Catholic Church?

A. 2. The Catholic Church Canon Law # 1367 states: "One who throws away the consecrated species or, for a sacrilegious purpose, takes them away or keeps them, incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; a cleric, moreover, may be punished with some other penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state."

In other words, he or she who knows that it is wrong, and throws away the Consecrated Host in the garbage or uses other degrading methods, is automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church. The only way to have this excommunication lifted is for the person to go to confession and ask the priest to write to the Sacra Penitenzieria Apostolica in Rome, the priest asking for the faculties to absolve the person of the censure (excommunication). There are two steps involved. The person would have to return to the priest a few weeks later to find out if he received the faculties to forgive his/her sin.

This is where the priest has to write:

Sacra Penitenzieria Apostolica
His Excellency Most Rev. Luigi de Magistris
Pro-Penitentiarius
Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary
00120 Vatican City

It should be noted that if the person DID NOT know that he/she was committing a sin by improperly disposing of the Sacred Host, then a sin WAS NOT committed. Accordingly, there is no need to obtain a censure from the excommunication that did not take place.



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