Desecration in Scranton

This is not good:

It is believed that sometime overnight on Aug. 3 or early morning on Aug. 4 someone broke into St. Rose of Lima Church in Carbondale. The person was able to open the tabernacle, the receptacle on the side altar in which the vessels containing the Blessed Sacrament are kept.

The person removed the ciborium, the vessel which contains the small consecrated Hosts used for Holy Communion. These Hosts are the Body of Jesus Christ. [Emphasis mine - admin]

The Carbondale police were notified. Police and parish staff conducted a search in the immediate area of the church in hopes of finding the ciborium, but it was not located.

Since the consecrated hosts were removed from the church, this constitutes a desecration of the Blessed Sacrament. Therefore, Church law requires that one form of the special Rite of Reparation must be celebrated as soon as possible.

Via Women of Grace:

Satanism is on the rise – and its cruel and despicable rituals are taking place in the backyards of America on an ever increasing basis. To follow is a chilling account about the deliberate theft of a chalice full of consecrated hosts . . . WNEP-TV is reporting that someone broke into St. Rose of Lima parish in Carbondale, Pennsylvania for the sole purpose of stealing a chalice full of consecrated hosts.

Monsignor David Tressler, pastor of the parish, said the only thing stolen was the most precious item in the church – the Blessed Sacrament.

“What has been taken is the Blessed Sacrament, which is our Holy Communion, which is the the source and summit of who we are, the body and blood of Christ,” Tressler told WNEP.

Apparently, after climbing through the window, the thief opened the tabernacle on the altar and removed the chalice containing consecrated hosts. It was the only item stolen.

Older readers may remember that my son Buster and I have had serious discussions about this:

After Mass this evening Buster and I headed out for a quick hamburger and somehow the discussion came up about how the Holy Eucharist is sometimes accepted at Mass by someone only to remain unconsumed and spirited out of the church for use in various – always nefarious – ways.

“How exactly,” Buster asked me. “I’ve read that the Eucharist has been stolen for use in black masses – but what do they do with it, actually?”

I don’t like talking about this stuff, but I related a little – that some have put the Consecrated Host upon an “altar” and stabbed it, or sliced it, so as to “stab” Christ. “They believe, as we do, that the Eucharist is the actual, physical Presence, the Body and Blood of Christ,” I explained. “That’s why Wonder Bread and Grape Juice won’t do [nor will the unconsecrated wafers lying on the sacristy shelf of a Catholic church]. They want the Consecrated Host – they know what it is. Sometimes the desecrations can be tearing it up and stomping on it, or doing disgusting things to it. And sometimes the Host is even abused sexually. Just as sexual abuse or rape is about power and control and domination, someone who sexually abuses a Host, sees it as controlling and dominating Christ.”

“But, it’s a Gift,” Buster said, “So they only cheat and hurt themselves.”

I was a little confused. “What do you mean, which is the Gift, the Holy Eucharist, or sexuality?”

Let us pray for the return of our Blessed Sacrament from the hands of those who seek to do evil, and for God’s mercy on the souls of the thief or thieves.

And perhaps on this Vigil of the Feast of beloved St. Clare, who once faced down Saracen marauders by placing a Monstrance containing the Holy Eucharist before the mobs, and prostrating herself in prayer shall be our powerful partner in prayer and intercession.

(Crossposted at Patheos)

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Dorian Speed

    The story of St. Clare reminds me of the powerful conclusion of “The Mission,” where Jeremy Irons’ character leads the villagers in a Eucharistic procession.

    I wonder if these incidents are truly on the rise, or if we’re just more aware of when they happen because of our increasingly connected society. Either way, praying for the souls of all involved.

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  • Gabriel

    The priest is directly responsible for this. The tabernacle is always supposed to rain locked! The keys are supposed to be hidden in a separate place.

    [It is not clear that the Tabernacle was left unlocked. It only says that he/they were able to get the Tabernacle opened. -admin]

  • Victor

    As most Christians know, there are some things that prayer alone can cure.

    Did not Sol finally see the light? I agree that we certainly must pray for these people concerned.

    God Bless

  • Jeff

    It reminds me of a Eucharistic miracle in Italy. A thief (not a Satanist but a rabid atheist) stole a consecrated host and brought it home. When he was alone, he proceeded to stab it repeatedly. A few minutes later he looked at it and blood was visible. I believe he converted soon after.

    But as Anchoress points out, the Satanists already know it’s really Jesus.

  • DaveW

    I thought it was a bit weird when I converted that our church is locked all the time. Everything is kept locked up, you have to knock on the door to get someone to let you in if you need to talk to the church secretary or anyone else. I mean, I understood that the Tabernacle should be locked but why not leave the church open all day so people could go inside and hit the kneeler if they wished?

    Since then I have seen why. We’ve had a few incidents of people vandalizing or stealing things like statues from the church grounds. Clearly we’re a target for that, though I had no idea that was the case prior to me being more involved locally. I find that very weird. And sad.

    [We've had our candle boxes and poor boxes hit a few times, but the pastor (bless him) refuses to lock the church, because people are in and out all day, stopping by to pray for a few minutes. I am grateful for that. -admin]

  • Ellen

    We used to leave our church open 24/7 but back in the 1970s, someone took the entire tabernacle. They just pried it out of the altar and took the whole thing.

    We will see more of these incidents I fear.

  • Last Sphere

    This is all part of a coming storm.

    Our modern world has been seduced by false reasoning and specious arguments in the name of progressive enlightenment. The Church is being attacked from inside as well as outside. Christianity is increasingly viewed as an ancient superstition whose outdated coping mechanisms are a troublesome modern day mental disorder.

    And at the same time new age spiritualism rears it’s ancient pagan head as it repackages and sugar coats all the old vices for the sake of tolerance and open-mindedness.

    And in the midst of this chaos and confusion evil is romanticized and destructive power is worshiped.

    But there is a paradoxical lesson of Truth (and dare I say Hope) in the midst of this heinous evil act: Both the devout and the evil alike recognize the Truth of Jesus Christ’s very real presence in The Blessed Sacrament.

    “You believe that there is one God. You do well: the devils also believe and tremble.” – James 2:19

  • igout

    Can they bring back the Spanish Inquisition? Please, pretty please?

  • Larry

    A horrendous and despicable act. There IS a rise of evil in this country and in the world. Churches really might want to start beefing up security, especially for their most precious objects.

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  • Western Chauvinist

    Some of the responses to this story calling for prayers for the perpetrators remind me of the joke about the two sociologists walking down the road when they pass a man beaten and bloody in the ditch. One sociologist turns to the other and says, “who ever did this really needs help.”

    Unlike a commenter suggested on another thread, I do *not* believe we all have to think the same way. The Church needs saints *and* soldiers and this just shows me I’m not one of the saints.

  • Jim F

    “Can they bring back the Spanish Inquisition? Please, pretty please?”

    Well, nobody would expect that…

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Especially if they bring the comfy chairs, Jim! ;)

  • AG

    I think we should just bow our heads and join in the Act of Reparation.

  • archangel

    What comes to mind here (besides Monty Python) is that once again Satan provides us with a fundamental truth through his demonic actions. The Fallen Angel still possesses the intellect of an angel. As such he makes one mighty biblical scholar as was proven when he tempted Jesus in the desert. Further, it was a demon in Nazareth who essentially blew Jesus’ cover and declared Him to be the Son of God just before being exorcized. And now with this very common desecration. THIS was the main reason why the congregation was not allowed to take communion in the hand. It can be taken away for these kind of rituals. I still don’t like the practice and always take it on the tongue.

    Isn’t it interesting that THEY know what the consecrated Host is? Unfortunately too many of our own faithful forget it all to soon. For the perpetuators… good chance they really have no idea the effect of what they are doing, given what is possessing them. From a human soul standpoint, only the grace of God can save them as they heap condemnation upon themselves willingly.

  • Zeke

    I guess my house of worship can be left open because “Wonder bread and grape juice” aren’t in high demand with the devil worshippers. I very much enjoy your site because I learn a lot about Catholicism. Occasionally, I am also reminded why I am not a Catholic myself.

    [I guess you see "wonder bread and grape juice" as some sort of, what, bigotry? I am reflecting my own experience visiting a Protestant church as a teenager, when - yes - "wonder bread and grape juice" were passed to the congregation for communion. But of course, jump to your conclusion and assign whatever bigotry to me you wish. That's an easy thing to do. What I said is perfectly true; people looking make nefarious with the Holy Eucharist know where to find it.-admin]

  • Last Sphere

    (“I guess my house of worship can be left open because “Wonder bread and grape juice” aren’t in high demand with the devil worshippers.”)

    Yeah, funny that.

    Even the satanic can distinguish between your Wonder bread and The Real Body and Blood of Christ.

    Throughout the Gospels the Devil and his minions always recognized Christ, even when the haughty refused to.

    Let your eyes see and your ears hear.

    God Bless and Peace Be Upon You.