THE Catholic Church won’t be changing the recipe for the Eucharist – once described as just a ‘frackin’ cracker‘ by biologist P Z (Pharyngula) Myers – any time soon.
A heated discussion about the recipe was sparked by Brazilian priest Fr Francisco Taborda, SJ, 80, last month when he suggested that yuca – a root plant common in the Amazon – could be used instead of wheat. He pointed out that the traditional Eucharist was made soggy by Amazonian humidity at various times of the year, and that yuca – also called manioc or cassava which is the source of tapioca – could be used as a substitute.
But Vatican officials said there are no current plans to allow a change.
A spokesman for the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops said that the priest’s suggestion was “exclusively personal” and do not represent official plans.
The Catholic Church regards wheaten bread and wine as the only suitable matter to be used as species for confecting the Eucharist, the “central mystery” of the Catholic faith.
Bishop Fabio Fabene said that a change from the millennial formula of bread made from wheat alone as matter for the Eucharist does:
Not appear in the preparatory document for the special assembly next October and, therefore, is not a subject of the next synod.
He was referring to the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region which is scheduled for October at the Vatican.
A number of controversial subjects have been proposed for the agenda, including the ordination of married men. Another proposal is to permit the replacement of the bread used in the consecration of the Eucharist with yuca. This must be opposed vehemently; it should be peremptorily struck from the agenda.
The Church has long been quite specific that the bread for the Holy Eucharist must be made with pure wheat flour. Nothing is to be admixed – no honey, no nuts, no other grains. This purity is necessary for validity … It is a grave abuse to introduce other substances, such as fruit or sugar or honey, into the bread for confecting the Eucharist. Hosts should obviously be made by those who are not only distinguished by their integrity, but also skilled in making them and furnished with suitable tools.
Clear enough? Apparently not for some, who now wish to toy with or even discard this ancient, precise definition of what constitutes valid matter for the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. This is essential to get right. Proper matter and form, along with a validly ordained priest, are essential for the Eucharist to be validly confected. Proper matter for the Eucharist is not hard to get right – and it is essential to get it right.
Really, the discussion should end here — but, sadly, exotic and highly dubious ideas such as this one have become daily fare in this era of weaponized ambiguity.
He went on:
Of course, there are simple solutions to the problem of mushy bread. How about plastic food storage containers or plastic wrap? There are easy ways to keep food protected from moisture and other things that cause spoilage. Vacuum packaging could also be used. Does Fr Taborda really suggest that we should take this radical and dubious step of redefining the matter of the Blessed Sacrament simply because of humidity? Come on!
With mounting hysteria he writes:
This proposal goes to the heart of the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Church, the very Sacrament meant to be the source of our unity. If anything should not be a local variation, this is it. May the Lord Jesus, the Most Blessed Sacrament Himself, save us from such awful thinking.
A simple request from me, just a lowly priest: Please, Holy Father and good bishops of Brazil and the Amazon synod, do not even allow this proposal to be considered. Radically toying with the very matter of the Most Blessed Sacrament should not be a discussion at any local synod or, I would argue, even at an ecumenical synod.
If it does show up as a topic of discussion at any official synod, it should be refuted by the Pope and every Synod Father. Getting the matter of the Holy Eucharist right is not hard. Please don’t take what is straightforward and convolute it.
Phew. All this over a ‘frackin’ cracker!’