2000 June/Questions

  1. If, after receiving Communion, the communicant becomes nauseous and brings up the host, what should he do?
  2. Lovely question! It is a point of theology that if the accidents of the host and wine are no longer recognizable as such, then there is no longer a Real Presence. For example, should the Precious Blood be diluted with water to the point where it would not longer be recognizable wine; then the Real Presence would be lost.

In the case given in the question, if there are no recognizable pieces of Host in what has been brought up, the best course of action would be simply to scoop it up and bury it. If there are pieces of host present, then dilute them with water until they are no longer recognizably bread, and the scoop them up and bury them.

  1. Do the Midnight Masses of Easter and Christmas fulfill the obligation of the Feast, and can one receive Communion at these Masses and at the Mass of the day?
  2. The Midnight Masses of Easter and Christmas are considered Masses of those feasts, and hence attending them fulfills the obligation, i.e. one is not then obliged to attend the Mass of the day. The Midnight Mass at Easter may begin before midnight provided the Vigil ceremonies begin after nightfall. The Midnight Mass of Christmas must not begin before midnight.

As regards receiving Communion, although there is nothing specific in the Church’s liturgical manuals on the subject, it has always been the practice in Tradition to permit the reception of Communion at the Mass of Midnight and the Mass of the day. Hence the faithful may continue in this practice.

  1. If someone going to Confession does not know the penance the priest gives him, or forgets it afterwards, what should he do?
  2. Either ask the priest for another penance if he does not know the penance that the priest has given him, or ask another priest to give him another penance if he has forgotten the penance his confessor gave him. The faithful may not substitute a penance of their own for any penance given by the confessor which they cannot for one reason or another perform.

The reason for this is that the penance is a complement to the sacramental absolution, and hence can be changed only by he who has the power to give absolution. Anyone who has substituted penances of their own in good faith need not panic, however. Just mention the fact to a priest in the next confession and ask him for a penance to cover those that could not be said.