Priest drops wafers on the floor during communion. What happens to them?

Im not catholic so i dont know the rules but i was weatching Americas Funniest Home Videos last night and a nervous parishener during the ceremony, knocked over the dish with the holy wafers all over the floor. It was kinda funny actually but i was wondering what happens in that situation? Do you dust em off and pop dirty christ body in some persons mouth? Are you allowed to toss christ body in the dumpster? I asked my SO about this and she told me that in some denominations once the wafers leave the church it converts back to bread but in others people actually hold 24 hour watch over these things. She said it was called Devotion or something. I tried googling and just got WAY too much info without being able to further narrow my search. Just an idle thought.

5 second rule?

OK, first, this is a GQ, not a Great Debate.

Next, the answer is that they are eaten. You do not disrespect God’s body by tossing it in the dumpster. Well, for Catholics anyway, I’m not sure what Protestants or Orthodox do.

Of course, I’m assuming that they have been blessed and transsubstantiated. If not, then they probably just toss them.

In Protestant churches the “body” (usually bread cubes) are not “blessed” as such, so in my church at least, the “if it falls on the floor, it’s trash” rule applies, and if somebody drops a piece of bread, it’s discarded (usually somebody picks it up and stuffs it in his suit jacket pocket), and you get another one out of the plate.

Apparently, you’re not familiar with the expression, “quiet as a church mouse.” The cute little devils wait silently on the sidelines, then stuff their fat little faces when nobody’s looking.

The cat, even though he is 21 pounds of fat, runs over like lightning and snatches it up. Then you leap out of your chair, and say “NO! Give that to me!” Then he runs behind the couch, and starts chomping on it, staring you directly in the face with defiance. So you try to fit behind the couch and you can’t, so you try to push the couch. It won’t go, so you then tilt the couch forward to try and squeeze back there.

Then the cat, who knows he needs to hide, runs under the tilted couch. Now, not only can you not get his furry little butt, but you can’t release the couch, or else he will be squashed. There’s no one around to help you, and because you’re not that strong anyhow, you start lowering the couch, slowly, hoping he will get the hint.

But no - he sits under there, steadfastly ignoring the doom hangin over him like the Couch of Damocles, and as the couch touches him, he goes “Mrrrow!” So you think you are hurting him, and raise it back up. But you get tired, and as you try to yell and coax him out, you lower the couch again. This goes in a pattern.

(Lower) “Mrrrow!” (Raise) (Yell) (Plead) (Lower) “Mrrrrrrow!” (Raise)…

…until finally, you scream at the top of your lungs. Then he burrows even further under the couch, and you set it down, unable to hold it anymore. That’s when you find out he was faking all along, and could in fact fit under there.

Then you get out the blender and make pina coladas.

Or…the priest throws it away. Or something.

Ahhhh Anthracite that was great…i reread the first paragraph like 3 times going HUH where the hell is THIS going??Too funny :slight_smile:

The priest eats them, just as he eats all of the leftovers. This is why you don’t want to have a priest over for dinner.

But I like the cat theory too!

Don’t knock it, it worked for Peggy when she was impersonating a nun in King of the Hill!

Wait a minute. I thought the trans-substantiation doesn’t occur until after the wafer is eaten and it’s inside the parishoner’s body.

Nope. Happens at the moment the priest says “This is My Body.”

(Or at least that was true when the priest said “Hoc est enim Corpus Meum,” which is when I was forced to learn such things.)

Former lay minister of communion here, repeating the instructions the parish priest gave me:

Pre-transubstantiation (that word is an absolute bitch to spell right), it’s just a wafer, can be thrown away.

Post-transubstantiation, it’s the Body of Christ. Should it fall to the ground, put it back on the plate you’re using - to the edge so you don’t mistakenly hand it out again - and the priest will eat it, same as the other transubstantiated leftovers.

tavalla got it. My dad’s a Eucharistic minister, and he said the same thing.
Same with the wine-after Mass, the priests finish off the leftover Blood of Christ.

Actually, in the Episcopal church, the priest and the chalicists (the people who give out the wine) all finish the bread and wine if there’s much left over (the priest goes first). I should know – up until a couple of weeks ago, I was a chalicist.


Forgive an ignorant Protestant, and not a very good one at that. Does this imply that people who are not ordained are allowed to presume to work the miracle of transubstantiation?

The mind reels.
“Hey, padre! Don’t Bogart that blood! Pass the bottle, wouldja?”

“Say, Father, you want the last of Jesus, or can I have Him?”

(Sorry if I offended anyone over this, but it stuck me as funny. You’d think that someone as all-powerful as God would understand that humans meant no disrespect if they threw out a piece of communion wafer that hit the floor.)

No, no. An ordinary Eucharistic minister is either a priest or a deacon; only the former may perform the Mass, but, once the transsubstantiation has happened, either may distribute the Body of Christ to the communicants.

An extraordinary Eucharistic minister is a layperson who has undertaken that ministry, and commissioned by the local Ordinary with permission to distribute the Body of Christ at Mass, or to shut-ins as Viaticum.

So, in sum: only a priest may consecrate the bread and have it become the Body of Christ; once this is done, others may distribute it.

Is there a debate here, by the way?

  • Rick

Nope. Eucharistic Ministers are non-clergy members of the congregation who assist the priest in distributing Communion wafers that have already been blessed. They can also take Holy Communion to the sick/elderly at home or hospital etc.

Yes. Why are my cats bad?

Moderator’s Note: Even though it’s about religion, it does appear that this is a question with an answer, so I’ll move it to GQ.

Of course, the question has mostly already been answered, but perhaps someone will chime in with what the practices of the Eastern Orthodox churches are or something like that.