ROSARIO, Argentina – As Catholic bishops across Europe and in the United States discuss reopening Mass to the faithful and ponder what to do about the distribution of communion, considered a “high risk of contagion” moment, Cardinal Robert Sarah of Ghana, head of the Vatican’s liturgical office, warned that the answer cannot be the “desecration of the Eucharist.”
The cardinal said that “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.
In present days, the Italian bishops conference and the government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte continued their negotiations after the recently announced “stage 2” of the quarantine, meaning a gradual easing of quarantine restrictions, though no date yet has been announced for the resumption of Mass.
According to La Stampa, an Italian daily, one of the solutions being considered is a “take-out” communion, because the distribution of the Eucharist is considered to have a “high contagion risk.” 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 told Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, an Italian conservative site, in an interview published Saturday. “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.”
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