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In Desecration in Scranton , The Anchoress reports on the theft of consecrated Hosts from a church there. This is done, as you will guess, only for very wicked reasons, which she goes on to describe. For a Catholic, this is as horrifying as having a loved one kidnapped by someone you know is going to abuse him – because that is in fact what is happening.

And it may be more common than we’d like to think. In our own parish, a few years ago, the priest caught a young woman palming the host. He actually had to chase her down the aisle and confront her to get Our Lord back. She was dressed, a little stereotypically, all in black and was wearing black makeup, and apparently had rather badly faked consuming the Host.

I hadn’t realized that people might do that, and that priests who ought to be enjoying distributing the Lord to His people and concentrating on the person in front of them, had to be alert to this. The priest told me that priests have to do this, because the danger of someone stealing the Host is real. That’s really creepy.

Part of the problem is that, thanks to predictably poor teaching, people receive the Host and turn their back on the priest and consume the Host as they are walking away, when they are supposed to step to the side and consume it while facing the altar. One answer is to return everyone to the old tradition of receiving the Host on the tongue, which would be good, I think, for other reasons as well.

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