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MacBeth
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Posted: Aug 18 2005 at 9:12pm | IP Logged Quote MacBeth

Perhaps you saw the movie Drop Dead Gorgeous, about a beauty pageant gone bad. Early in the film, a woman is driving along and almost crashes into a priest while he is crossing the street. She accuses him of drinking too much communion wine, and the woman in the passenger seat turns to the camera, and smugly states, "That's why we Lutherans use grape cool-aid for the Blood of Christ." Gasp. And yet, it was almost funny.

I know that many protestant groups use non-alcoholic juices for the "Lord's Supper" or whatever they call it, so I researched why and when it began. It was not long before I came across a site where a discussion about this was going on between a group of protestants. One pointed out that the use of juice came about during the time when temperance groups were high profile demonstrators. I can believe that, but I did not look into it any more, as one posed this question (which I have Catholicized) that made me stop and think:

If a priest were stranded on a desert island without bread or grape wine, could coconut milk be substituted for the matter, or would there simply be no way to celebrate the Eucharist? What did/do priests do in concentration camps, gulags, or other places where the Mass has been celebrated in secret?

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Posted: Aug 18 2005 at 9:34pm | IP Logged Quote theNetSmith

perhaps they celebrated (or would celebrate) with just the body? tho my image of a "desert" island is less likely to have the necessary ingrediants for making bread than my image of a "deserted" island.

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MacBeth
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Posted: Aug 18 2005 at 9:37pm | IP Logged Quote MacBeth

Let's say, no wheat, no grapes. You are stuck there. What happens?

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Posted: Aug 19 2005 at 9:20am | IP Logged Quote momwise

They didn't celebrate Mass unless someone smuggled in bread and wine. It only takes a few drops. I clearly remember reading about something along these lines (maybe it was WWII or the Cold War)where the bread and wine had to be stolen and smuggled in. I'm sure there were *lots* of Guardian Angels involved! Maybe it was the priest who wrote In Russia with God? Does anyone else remember this from his book?

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MacBeth
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Posted: Aug 19 2005 at 10:30am | IP Logged Quote MacBeth

So, if the required matter is not available, no Mass? Not ever? Even in extreme circumstances?

Just musing here. The protestant claimed that if the only thing available were coconut juice and bread fruit, he could still celebrate the Lord's Supper. This lead from an Anglican insisting that wine was necessary and that grape juice was not a permissible substitute. The other protestant insisted that the matter didn't matter, so to speak. Of course, we belive it does, but I was curious about all circumstances.

If Mass is not said, is there a substitute for extreme cases?

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Posted: Aug 19 2005 at 12:22pm | IP Logged Quote Elizabeth

Maybe that's a great cross to carry--to be denied the Mass and so to have to settle for spirtual communion. It's an interesting question and it leads one to wonder:

If you are in an area where the Mass being celebrated in a Catholic church uses improper form and/or matter, what do you do? Think: wandered in on vacation expecting one thing and getting another. Think: new pastor and everything changes.

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Posted: Aug 19 2005 at 1:42pm | IP Logged Quote JennGM

MacBeth wrote:
So, if the required matter is not available, no Mass? Not ever? Even in extreme circumstances?

Just musing here. The protestant claimed that if the only thing available were coconut juice and bread fruit, he could still celebrate the Lord's Supper. This lead from an Anglican insisting that wine was necessary and that grape juice was not a permissible substitute. The other protestant insisted that the matter didn't matter, so to speak. Of course, we belive it does, but I was curious about all circumstances.

If Mass is not said, is there a substitute for extreme cases?


Matter does matter...the words and the form are what makes a valid consecration. That being said, the Church can give exceptions to things like POW or something, like Father Walter Ciszek in With God in Russia. But unless the priest gets the permission to use something different, he can't take it upon himself to give himself the exception.

As far as going to churches with questionable matter...like yeast in the bread, or sugar or other extra ingredients that makes the Eucharist ILLICIT, but not INVALID. Not having wheat or grapes makes it completely invalid. (Unless of course, the exception to the rule).

Have you ever read Mr. Blue by Myles Connolly? There's a story within the story...a play that supposedly Mr. Blue writes about the end of the world. This priest was the last one...spends months growing his own wheat and making the wine until at last he can celebrate Mass. He celebrates the Mass in the middle of the street, with the authorities trying to stop him but he keeps on until the consecration, This is my Body, This is My Blood...and this is the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world. A very moving story....

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MacBeth
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Posted: Aug 19 2005 at 1:54pm | IP Logged Quote MacBeth

Can a priest say Mass without the matter present?

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Posted: Aug 19 2005 at 3:46pm | IP Logged Quote jdostalik

To back pedal a bit, the author of With God in Russia , is Fr. Walter Ciszek, SJ...the book is a wonderful read. He did go long periods of time not being able to celebrate Mass as he spent over 20 years in Soviet prison camps. When he could, he and other priests, some Orthodox ones as well, would make their own wine from bits of raisins and water by letting them ferment...



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Posted: Aug 19 2005 at 5:49pm | IP Logged Quote momwise

jdostalik wrote:
some Orthodox ones as well, would make their own wine from bits of raisins and water by letting them ferment...


I'd forgotten about that part. I do remember him mentioning special spiritual practices on Sundays. These must have been his only way of celebrating Sunday. It is amazing how priests and bishops do end up getting wine to celebrate Mass.





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Posted: Aug 20 2005 at 8:56am | IP Logged Quote MacBeth

jdostalik wrote:
To back pedal a bit, the author of With God in Russia , is Fr. Walter Ciszek, SJ...the book is a wonderful read.


[MacBeth adds yet another book to her reading list]

Tim!!! We need more emoticons!

Thanks for the insight, everyone. I recently watched Molokai, the story of fr. Damien, and his dilemma was with confession. Confined to a leper colony, he was unable to make his confession until another priest came by. The captain of the ship would not let the other priest off the ship to hear the confession, so Father Damian shouted it (in French) to the priest from a small boat (warning: unfortunately, the director saw it necessary to translate this confession in subtitles, and it was not the sort of confession you would want your children to read--I found this the one problem with the film, as it not only shocks one into considering the private sins of a priest, but makes one wonder about the seal of confession...).

Anyway, extreme case do make for interesting speculation.

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Posted: Aug 20 2005 at 9:08am | IP Logged Quote JennGM

MacBeth wrote:
jdostalik wrote:
To back pedal a bit, the author of With God in Russia , is Fr. Walter Ciszek, SJ...the book is a wonderful read.


[MacBeth adds yet another book to her reading list]

His cause for sainthood has been opened...he was a saintly man. Another good book by him is He Leadeth Me. I gave both of these to my mil and she was so moved by them. The Shadow of His Wings made a similar impression...such hardships from the war, concentration camps, etc. that these priests and people endured...how can we complain about heat, food, etc.?

MacBeth wrote:
I recently watched Molokai, the story of fr. Damien, and his dilemma was with confession.


You should add this book about Father Damien to your list if you haven't read it yet. It's quite moving...

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Posted: Aug 20 2005 at 9:18am | IP Logged Quote momwise

MacBeth wrote:
I recently watched Molokai, the story of fr. Damien, and his dilemma was with confession. Confined to a leper colony, he was unable to make his confession until another priest came by. The captain of the ship would not let the other priest off the ship to hear the confession, so Father Damian shouted it


Bl. Damien had some of the most supernatural physical strength I've ever read about. Here's *another* book for you MacBeth:Damien the Leper by John Farrow (he was Mia's father). It's a riveting read.

The movie may not have shown this part since it took place before he went to Molokai, but when he first got to Hawaii he had to deal with demon worship and there was one night when he heard the drums of the ceremony so he traveled, alone , through the jungle in the dark, until he reached the men and then he burst into the room and demanded they stop. They had a voodoo doll of Fr. and they were amazed that they couldn't harm him.

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