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In Paris, a man crushes a consecrated host during Communion

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Pascal Deloche | Godong

Agnès Pinard Legry - published on 01/20/22

While distributing Communion during Sunday Mass on January 16, Fr. Simon de Violet, an associate pastor at Holy Spirit Parish, was confronted by a man who received the host before smashing it to bits and throwing it on the ground. A gesture of great violence for the Church, a desecration, required a Mass of Reparation celebrated this Wednesday.

A scene of great spiritual violence took place on Sunday, January 16, at Holy Spirit Parish (12th arrondissement of Paris). While Fr. Simon de Violet, one of the vicars, was distributing Communion during Sunday Mass, a man arrived and held out his hand to receive the body of Christ. But instead of bringing the sacred host to his mouth, he lifted it to the height of his face and crushed it into a thousand pieces before letting it fall to the ground.

“It was the main Mass (at 11 am) which also corresponds to the second stage of baptism for children, there were many people,” Fr. Simon, told Aleteia, still in shock. When the man approached, the priest did not notice anything suspicious. Everything happened very quickly. “He took the host, raised his hand to the height of his face and crushed it as one might do with a potato chip!”

Pulling himself together, the priest then grabbed him by the jacket and called out to him. “The man simply answered ‘For Nadia’ before melting into the crowd. The act was thus reflected, premeditated,” he continued. “His hands were a bit swollen, with some wounds, as is the case with people who use drugs or alcohol excessively. But he was fully conscious.” Quickly the priest asked the faithful to step back so that he could get a vessel to pick up what he could, “I made sure that the body of Christ was no more damaged than it already had been.”

Fr. Simon’s tweet reads: “Desecration this Sunday at the parish. After having received it, a man broke a host in front of me and threw it on the ground. Let’s pray for him, and that the devil will stop attacking the Church.”

“Profaning the body of Christ is much more serious than sacrilege committed against a statue or the theft of a collection,” the priest explains. “It is the height of what is most serious in liturgical and sacramental terms. The body of Christ is the treasure of the Church.” While the beginning of this year has been marked by several church desecrations, Fr. Simon sees them as “waves of attacks by the devil” as there have been throughout history. The powers of evil are unleashed,” he says, “and it’s a way of testing the Church to trust in God and remember that the devil was defeated by Christ. And that man who crushed the host was under the influence of the devil.”

“I decided to carry the host in an exit procession. We walked through the people of God with the broken body of the Lord.”

At the end of the Mass, Fr. Simon decided to explain to the congregation what had just happened. “I decided to address the congregation for those who had not seen what occurred, but also for the children sitting in the front row who saw everything without necessarily understanding the significance of this gesture,” the young priest continued. “I decided to carry the host in an exit procession. We went through the people of God with the broken body of the Lord. There is something prophetic and dramatic in that.”

A Mass of Reparation

After the Mass, the parish priest, Fr. Arnaud Duban, put the host in water to dilute it. “We then recited a prayer and mixed the water with the soil,” Fr. Simon said. “The body of Christ cannot be thrown away, even if it is broken into a thousand pieces,” he explains. Spiritually, a Mass of reparation was held on Wednesday, January 19. “We will take the opportunity of this tragedy to help the parishioners and children who were present to have a right sense of the sacredness of the body of Christ.”

Because this desecration was not a minor event, Fr. Simon, in agreement with his parish priest, decided to talk about it right away. “We made the choice to be transparent for several reasons. Evil must be confronted face to face. We have to name things,” the priest says. “This should also help us to better venerate and respect the body of Christ. But be careful “not to fall into victimization and communitarianism,” he warns. “The Church does not see itself as one community among others, but as one universal community. It has always been careful not to lock itself into any kind of communitarianism.”

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