Saturday 27th May 2017

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

The Eucharist — Matter And Form

May 13, 2017 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By DON FIER

As we concluded our two-part examination of the marvelous effects of Holy Communion worthily received last week, we saw that it can be accurately described as a “pledge of future glory.” The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains why this descriptor is so fitting:
“It fills us with every grace and heavenly blessing. It fortifies us for our pilgrimage in this life and makes us long for eternal life. It unites us already to Christ seated at the right hand of the Father, to the Church in heaven, and to the Blessed Virgin and all the saints” (n. 194).
Indeed, as further elaborated upon by the servant of God, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, “Even on earth we have a foretaste of heaven in the measure that we avail ourselves of the light and strength that the Eucharistic Christ confers on those who believe in Him” (The Faith, p. 122).
To complete our treatment of the Most Holy Eucharist, we will examine what the Church teaches regarding matter and form for valid celebration of the sacrament. Earlier in this series (see volume 149, nn. 18-19; May 5-12, 2016), we saw that “at the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1333).
Scripture passages were cited showing this was the essential matter used by Christ Himself at the Last Supper and arguments of fittingness for bread and wine, especially from the Summa Theologiae (STh) of St. Thomas Aquinas, were discussed. Our focus in this column will be to drill deeper into the precise requirements for matter and form to ensure valid consecration.
Canon 924 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law (CIC) prescribes the following: “The most holy eucharistic sacrifice must be offered with bread and with wine in which a little water must be mixed” (§ 1); “the bread must be only wheat and recently made so that there is no danger of spoiling” (§ 2); and “the wine must be natural from the fruit of the vine and not spoiled” (§ 3).
The mingling of a small amount of water with the wine (CIC, canon 924 § 1), according to St. Thomas, has four purposes, two of which will be considered here. First, Sacred Tradition informs us that “it is believed with probability that Our Lord instituted this sacrament in wine tempered with water according to the custom of that country” (STh III, Q. 74, art. 6).
More importantly, however, the admixture symbolizes the participation of the faithful in Christ’s sacrifice: “We see that the people are signified by the water, but Christ’s blood by the wine. Therefore when water is mixed with the wine in the chalice, the people is made one with Christ” (ibid.).
This profound signification is evident in the Offertory Prayer: “By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.”
It is important to note, however, that even though addition of water to the wine is necessary for liceity, it is not required for validity of the sacrament. The Roman Catechism (RC) of the Council of Trent explains:
“Although there are reasons so grave for mingling water with the wine that it cannot be omitted without incurring the guilt of mortal sin, yet its omission does not render the Sacrament null. Again as in the sacred mysteries priests must be mindful to mingle water with wine, so, also, must they take care to mingle it in small quantity…that water is changed into wine” (II, 4, 17).
As regards the quantity, Fr. Paul Haffner states that “a few drops are sufficient…[but] a quantity of water in excess of one third would render the matter doubtful” (The Sacramental Mystery [TSM], p. 96).
As stated earlier, the matter used for the eucharistic bread must be wheat (see CIC, canon 924 § 2). Furthermore, “according to the ancient tradition of the Latin Church, the priest is to use unleavened bread in the Eucharistic celebration whenever he offers it” (CIC, canon 926).
In its 2004 liturgical instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum (RS), the Holy See’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments reaffirmed this requirement: “The bread used in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharistic Sacrifice must be unleavened, purely of wheat, and recently made so that there is no danger of decomposition” (RS, n. 48). Moreover, the wheat flour is to be mixed only with water and baked.
This means that hosts made from other types of grain (e.g., barley, rye) or substitutes such as rice cakes are not permissible — the sacrament is invalidated by their use. Likewise, “it is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist” (RS, n. 48). Similarly, “nothing must be taken away from the wheat, which would change the nature of the bread. For this reason, gluten-free hosts are not seen as valid material for the Eucharist, as that essential component of wheat has been taken out” (TSM, p. 95).
This brings up the question of those who are physically unable to tolerate the gluten in wheat, i.e., people who are afflicted with celiac disease. One solution is to receive only the Precious Blood, which may be the only viable option for people who are unable to tolerate even trace amounts of gluten.
In God’s Providence, however, two Benedictine nuns from Clyde, Mo., were able to develop wafers with a gluten content level of less than 0.01 percent, which is safe enough for consumption by most celiac sufferers. These wafers are produced from unleavened wheat and water, are free from additives, and thus conform to the requirements set forth in Canon Law.
On July 24, 2003, then-Prefect Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) issued a circular letter approving their valid use under the competence of the diocesan bishop. Many parishes, therefore, keep a pyx with consecrated, low-gluten hosts in the tabernacle for celiac disease sufferers. Great care must be taken by the priest to purify his fingers prior to distributing low-gluten hosts so as to avoid cross-contamination from gluten hosts.
Hosts used by most Eastern Churches consist of leavened wheat. In 1439 during the Council of Florence, the Church solemnly declared that “the body of Christ is truly effected in unleavened or leavened wheaten bread; and that priests ought to effect the body of our Lord in either one of these, and each one namely according to the custom of his Church, whether that of the West or of the East” (Denzinger, Enchiridion Symbolorum, n. 1303).
For the Western Church, the absence of yeast represents purity (see 1 Cor. 5:7-8) whereas in Eastern theology, the addition of yeast in leavened bread symbolizes the vivifying action of the Holy Spirit (cf. TSM, p. 96). In the Latin Church, the use of unleavened bread is a strict requirement for the Eucharist’s licit celebration.
“The wine that is used in the most sacred celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice must be natural, from the fruit of the grape, pure and incorrupt, not mixed with other substances” (RS, n. 50). Therefore, as explained by Fr. Haffner, “the wine cannot be made from any other fruits or from the stems and skins of the grapes after the juice has been pressed out” (TSM, p. 96). Moreover, wine which has more than 20 percent alcohol content as well as wine from which the alcohol has been completely extracted is invalid material (cf. ibid.).

Loving Wisdom

The Church, in her loving wisdom, provides a solution for priests who are unable to ingest alcohol. As stated in the previously referenced circular letter by the CDF, the use of mustum is permitted under certain specific circumstances.
As defined by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, mustum is “grape juice in which fermentation has begun, but has been suspended with the result that its alcohol content (usually less than 1.0 percent) does not reach the levels found in most table wines….The process used for the suspension of fermentation must not alter the nature of the juice in any way.” Furthermore, it must not contain additives.
The Code is very exact in specifying that double consecration is required for valid celebration of the Eucharist, and that consecration must take place during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: “It is absolutely forbidden, even in extreme urgent necessity, to consecrate one matter without the other or even both outside the Eucharistic celebration” (CIC, canon 927).
The form of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist “is the words spoken by the priest at the Consecration, ‘This is My Body’ and ‘This is My Blood’” (Fr. Hardon, Basic Catholic Catechism Course [BCCC], p. 140).
As taught by the Angelic Doctor, “The form of this sacrament is pronounced as if Christ were speaking in person, so that it is given to be understood that the minister does nothing in perfecting this sacrament, except to pronounce the words of Christ” (STh III, Q. 78, art. 1). He goes on to explain that the words of consecration are a synthesis of those given by the evangelists in the four scriptural accounts (cf. STh III, Q. 78, art. 3, ad 9).
So important are the exact words as defined by Holy Mother Church that Fr. Hardon categorically states: “If these words are altered, the Consecration does not take place” (BCCC, p. 140).

+ + +

(Don Fier serves on the board of directors for The Catholic Servant, a Minneapolis-based monthly publication. He and his wife are the parents of seven children. Fier is a 2009 graduate of Ave Maria University’s Institute for Pastoral Theology. He is doing research for writing a definitive biography of Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Trump Is Pushed and Pulled on Climate Change, A Year After Pledging to Cancel Paris Deal

(CNSNews.com) – Exactly one year after pledging in a speech to “cancel” the Paris climate agreement, President Trump will attend a Group of Seven summit Friday in Sicily where he’s expected to come under sustained pressure from his counterparts to…Continue Reading

St. Louis archbishop resists law requiring Catholics to hire abortion activists: ‘We will not comply’

LOUIS, Missouri, May 24, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis, led by the Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, has drawn a line in the sand for the protection of innocent human life. In February, the city…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood Closing Multiple Abortion Clinics in Iowa After State Defunds It

The abortion chain Planned Parenthood announced plans Thursday to close four Iowa clinics as a result of a new state law that defunds it. At the end of June, Planned Parenthood facilities in Burlington, Keokuk and Sioux City, Iowa will…Continue Reading

Graduates walk out on Pence at Notre Dame commencement

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Dozens of graduates and family members silently stood and walked out Sunday as Vice President Mike Pence began his address at Notre Dame’s commencement ceremony. Pence, the former governor of Indiana, was invited to speak…Continue Reading

Trump nominates Callista Gingrich for ambassador to the Vatican

President Trump has nominated Callista Gingrich, the wife of former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), as ambassador to the Holy See, the White House announced Friday. The nomination comes just five days before Trump is set to meet with Pope Francis…Continue Reading

The murder case of Blessed Oscar Romero has been reopened

San Salvador, El Salvador, May 19, 2017 / 01:14 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A nearly 40 year-old murder case was reopened this week to properly prosecute the suspected killer behind the Salvadorian archbishop’s martyrdom. Because of an amnesty law that prohibited…Continue Reading

Notre Dame Protest of Pence Twists Catholic Social Teaching

This Sunday, vice president Mike Pence will return to his home state of Indiana to deliver the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame. For the third time in several years, the school’s graduation ceremony will be plagued by…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood is Ditching the Failed “Pro-Choice” Label. Here’s Why

The “pro-choice” label has not been working out so well for the abortion chain Planned Parenthood. The labels pro-choice and pro-life have been used for decades to help identify people’s positions on abortion, but young adults seem to be moving…Continue Reading

Bishop Conley: The Pro-Choice Political Dictatorship of Relativism

In 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who would soon be elected Pope Benedict XVI, preached that “we are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one’s own ego and…Continue Reading

These Republicans Voted Against the Bill to Defund the Planned Parenthood Abortion Biz

Republicans in the House of Representatives yesterday voted for a Reconciliation bill that would defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business. This was the second attempt to get enough votes on the reconciliation bill that would not only defund the nation’s…Continue Reading

Cecile Richards Comes Unglued After House Defunds Planned Parenthood: Republicans Hate Women

Planned Parenthood abortion business president Cecile Richards it’s not happy that the House of Representatives voted yesterday to defund Planned Parenthood. The main response of the CEO of the nation’s biggest abortion conglomerate can be summed up in three words:…Continue Reading

Despite pro-life provisions, healthcare bill raises serious concerns

Vatican City, May 4, 2017 / 05:27 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The House passed a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and a replacement health care bill on Thursday, but one bishop warned that the new bill poses serious problems for…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

‘Comfortable’ Catholics are ‘unwilling’ to see dangers facing Church: Scholar

ROME, May 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Too many Catholics are caught up in a “comfortable” Catholicism that makes them unwilling, and even unable, to see the “grave problems” currently besetting the Church, said a renowned theologian and one of the world’s top Catholic experts on the Church Fathers. “Most Catholics seem to live their life on a sort of comfortable zone, just the way that a lot of bishops live in a sort of safety-first…Continue Reading

Catholic bishops denounce a Trump budget championed by Mulvaney – a lifelong Catholic

On the day that President Donald Trump met with Pope Francis in Rome, a top administration official defended a proposed budget that America’s Catholic bishops have strongly criticized for hurting the poor. The Trump administration official in the hot seat: budget chief Mick Mulvaney, a lifelong Catholic who grew up in Charlotte. Speaking Wednesday to the House Budget Committee, Mulvaney called Trump’s budget plan a “moral” document that puts “taxpayers first.” And he defended the…Continue Reading

Pope Francis Receives US President Donald J. Trump

Pope Francis received President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, today, May 24, 2017, at about 8:30 a.m. in the Apostolic Palace, before Francis’ weekly General Audience in St. Peter’s Square. The meeting was broadcasted by Vatican Television and can be watched via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVCm1-toVFg According to a statement released by the Holy See Press Office, the discussions, which lasted about 30 minutes, were cordial.

Trump budget completely defunds abortion providers, and Planned Parenthood is furious

May 23, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-abortion feminists are bemoaning and pro-lifers are celebrating President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal that would withhold all federal funds from abortion-provider Planned Parenthood. Breitbart reported yesterday that Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney told the media on Monday that the new budget would defund the abortion business, but only if the new Republican healthcare legislation passed recently by the House is also passed by the Senate and…Continue Reading

Catholic Church Sues St. Louis to Stop It From Becoming a “Sanctuary City” for Abortion

Several Missouri Catholic groups filed a lawsuit Monday challenging a St. Louis ordinance that could force them to hire abortion activists and rent to pro-abortion groups. The Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis, the pro-life maternity home Our Lady’s Inn and a local Catholic businessman said the city ordinance violates their constitutional freedoms. In their lawsuit, they ask the court to block the city from enforcing the measure. In February, the St. Louis Board of Alderman…Continue Reading

A New Birth Control Commission?

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: At this point, reports about a possible new birth control commission are unconfirmed. This commentary first appeared on http://nfpandmore.org/wordpress/.) + + + The week of May 13th started wonderfully with widespread efforts to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Fatima. The work week was quickly dimmed,…Continue Reading

Wanda Poltawska… The Stubborn Insistence On Being Human

By DONALD DeMARCO The city was Toledo, Ohio. The year was 1990. The venue was the dining room in a private home. The audience consisted of several pro-life people, including myself. The speaker was Wanda Poltawska who was relating a series of events in her life that we were most privileged to hear. In 1962,…Continue Reading

A Movie Review… “Outcasts” And True Social Justice

By REY FLORES “A bold example of social justice in action” — Follow the cameras of Grassroots Films, the Award-Winning producers of The Human Experience and Child 31, on an unexpected journey across the globe. Travel to the prisons of Central America, walk the dark city streets of London, New York, and Ireland’s most treacherous…Continue Reading

Kentucky Printer Can Refuse LGBT Message

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling on May 14 affirmed a printer who objected to promoting a message for Lexington’s Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO) which conflicted with his sincerely held religious beliefs. Hands On Originals’ managing owner, Blaine Adamson, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, refused to print T-shirts for the…Continue Reading

No Help For Minor Children… Gender Confusion Prevails In The Courts

By DEACON MIKE MANNO (Editor’s Note: Deacon Mike Manno, an attorney, is director of deacons for the Diocese of Des Moines and host of Iowa Catholic Radio’s Faith On Trial program [www.iowacatholicradio.com]. He can be reached at deaconmike@iowacatholicradio.com.) + + + This month the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a Ninth…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In his parish bulletin recently, Fr. George Rutler of the Church of St. Michael in New York City recalled the famous words of the great jazz singer Al Jolson: “You ain’t heard nothing yet” and compared them with the words of Jesus: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now” (John…Continue Reading

Discover God’s Gifts And His Will

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Pentecost Sunday (YR A) Readings: Acts 2:1-11 1 Cor. 12:3b-7, 12-13 John 20:19-23 In the first reading today we hear about the Holy Spirit descending upon the apostles as they were gathered in prayer. The event was marked by some extraordinary phenomena: the noise like a driving wind filling the house and the tongues of fire.…Continue Reading

The Canonization Mass For Jacinta And Francisco . . . Pope Francis Says: “Dear Pilgrims, We Have A Mother”

(Editor’s Note: Pope Francis on May 13 canonized Jacinta and Francesco Marto, as the highlight of his May 12-13 Apostolic Pilgrimage to Fatima. Below is the Vatican translation of the Pope’s homily during the Mass, as provided by ZENIT News Agency. (It is followed by the text of Pietro Cardinal Parolin’s homily at the vigil. Earlier at the vigil, the…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… 25th Ordination Jubilee Solemn High Mass And Celebration

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK (Editor’s Note: The staff of The Wanderer congratulates Fr. Cusick on his upcoming 25th anniversary of Ordination.) + + + Thank you for reading my column so faithfully over the years and for all that you have done to support the apostolate of The Wanderer. As we mark the 25th anniversary of my June 6,…Continue Reading

Our Savior And Redeemer… More On The Gabirah, The Queen Mother

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 8 St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort, in his celebrated book True Devotion to Mary, explains that our Lady is not only the Mother of Christ, the Mother of God Incarnate, but she is also the spiritual Mother of All Christians, of all those who are baptized into the Church founded by her Son. He…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Peter Sanz And Companions

By CAROLE BRESLIN In 1748, the Viceroy of Peking with great frustration asked, “What are we to do with these men? Their lives are certainly irreproachable. . . . Their jailers and their families become their disciples and embrace their religion. To prolong this state is only to give them the opportunity of increasing the number of Christians.” Thus Peter…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Pope St. Celestine V

By CAROLE BRESLIN After the death of Pope St. John Paul II, faithful Catholics rejoiced at the election of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as the next Vicar of Christ. The German prelate took the name of Benedict XVI for two reasons: in memory of Pope Benedict XV who led the Church during the turbulent times of World War I, seeking peace…Continue Reading