“Take-out” communion is “insane”

Many Catholic bishops are discussing the practical aspects of resuming public Masses, now the initial coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown restrictions are easing.

One of their concerns is what to do about distributing communion, which is considered a “high risk of contagion” moment.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, (pictured) who is the head of the Vatican’s liturgical office, has warned them that the answer cannot be the “desecration of the Eucharist.”

“No one can be denied confession and communion,” so even if the faithful cannot attend Mass, if a priest is asked to give either they must oblige, he told them.

Although no date yet has been announced for the resumption of Mass, one of the solutions being considered is a “take-out” communion.

This proposal would see hosts placed in plastic bags to be consecrated by the priests and left on shelves for people to take.

“No, no, no,” Sarah said to a reporter, when the idea was put to him.

“It’s absolutely not possible, God deserves respect, you can’t put him in a bag.

“I don’t know who thought this absurdity, but if it is true that the deprivation of the Eucharist is certainly a suffering, one cannot negotiate how to receive communion.

“We receive communion in a dignified way, worthy of God who comes to us.

“The Eucharist must be treated with faith, we cannot treat it as a trivial object, we are not in the supermarket,” Sarah said.

“It’s totally insane.”

When the reporter told Sarah (who’s sometimes been seen as out of sync with Pope Francis) that this method is already being used in some churches in Germany, Sarah replied:

“Unfortunately, many things are done in Germany that are not Catholic, but this doesn’t mean that we must imitate them.”

He then said he’d recently heard a bishop say that in the future, there would be no more Eucharistic assemblies – the Mass with the Eucharist – but the Liturgy of the Word.

“But this is Protestantism,” he said, without naming the bishop.

Sarah also said the Eucharist is not a “right or a duty” but a gift freely given by God that must be welcomed with “veneration and love.”

Catholics believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist after the hosts are consecrated by the priest.

Sarah explained that in the Eucharistic form, God is a person, and “no one would welcome a person they love in a bag or in an unworthy way.

“The response to the privation of the Eucharist cannot be desecration.

“This really is a matter of faith, if we believe it we cannot treat it unworthily.”

Regarding Masses being streamed or on TV during the pandemic, Sarah said Catholics cannot “get used to this” because “God is incarnated, he is flesh and blood, he is not a virtual reality.”

It’s misleading for priests, who should be looking at God during the Mass and not the camera, as if the liturgy was a “show,” he added.


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