Sunday, October 07, 2007

Pet Peeve: Homemade Hosts

(Another in my continuing series of post of things liturgical that drive me nuts.)

A few years ago, it was all the rage among the liturgically avaunt garde to encourage parishes to make their own hosts. After all, it looks, tastes, and feels more like bread. It is an opportunity for people to be more involved. It is more like what Jesus and the early Church would have used. Like Frisbee hosts, this is practice is not a priori invalid. However, in my view, other concerns trump reason for doing this.

I have encountered this practice personally three times. First, during college when I was attending a Newman Center. Second, at the seminary. (The Ice Queen was a big fan of what some of the seminarians referred to as 'Chewy Jesus'.) Third, at the Air Force Base I served at when I was in the reserves. I noticed several things about it. First, It leaves particles EVERYWHERE; on the Altar, around the altar, on hands, and hence on the floor. Second, It sticks between ones teeth. Third, It hardens to the consistency of rock in the Tabernacle. Most importantly, one can never be sure whether the bakers actually follow liturgical law and use only wheat flour and water. I have heard numerous first hand reports of people taking it upon themselves add things for reasons of taste or easier baking. This is quite serious it as it can affect validity.

Another thing to be considered, is that many cloistered religious support themselves by making altar breads. By using homemade breads, we are failing to support our religious. I know of several priests in my diocese who use breads made by the big companies that are horning in on the good sisters' livelihood. (One I know has the class to donate money to the sisters to make up for the shortfall. However, I think it is better to support the sisters' labor than to simply give them money.)

In a nutshell, buy normal hosts from the sisters.

(Coming soon: Junior Clansmen Suits and greeting people at the beginning of Mass.)
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