Rorate Caeli

Empty Tabernacles:
Due to persistent episodes of sacrilege, Italian archbishop mandates end of Eucharistic Reserve

A worrying sign of the times.

Giacomo Galeazzi reports for Vatican Insider (in English):

GIACOMO GALEAZZI - VATICAN CITY - The image of an empty tabernacle and the hosts being kept locked up elsewhere seems almost heretical. But in truth, keeping the Eucharist safe is well worth breaking away from the norm. There is nothing more sacred in the Church than the consecrated Host. Yet for months now, these violations and abuses have been taking place, one right after the other: from the two Muslims in Sondrio who received the host in their hands from a priest - only to put it in their pockets, to a barrage of sacrilegious thefts throughout Italy. It has become bad enough to justify a forceful and unusual act by a bishop, intended to set an example for others: keep the wafers in a protected place in the parish, just like people keep their jewels in a safe.

"It is correct to protect them from a serious threat – something decisive had to be done," is the talk heard in the Vatican. In short, the Holy See has approved the locking up of the hosts to prevent them from being stolen and used by satanic cults in their black masses. And even at highest levels of the Italian Conference of Bishops, a "hard line" against desecration finds full support. The canonist Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, current Director for the Pontifical Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, who has long occupied top positions at the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and various Vatican dicasteries, supports the "exceptional measure" initiated by the Archbishop of Monreale, Salvatore Di Cristina. In the face of the escalation of sacrilegious thefts throughout Italy, it is right to hide the consecrated hosts in a secure location, and to leave the tabernacles empty and open to prevent their being broken into. In canon law, explained the cardinal of the Curia, the desecration of the Eucharist is the worst thing one can do - a crime punished with excommunication "latae sententiae" reserved to the Apostolic See. "It is evoked 'ipso facto', that is, for the very fact of having committed it, and excommunication is automatic," De Paolis explains to Vatican Insider.

Here is our translation of the Archbishop's letter:
Abp. Salvatore Di Cristina
Archbishop of Monreale

Following the repeated sacrilegous acts in various towns in the Archdiocese, openly aiming at the profanation of the Most Blessed Eucharist, while deploring with boundless pain the dishonorable events, I feel bound to warmly invite all the brothers and sisters of our Church to reparatory prayer, to collective and personal penance, and to the permanent surveilance of the most sacred thing God entrusts to our protection by his goodness.

At the same time, in order to prevent such sacrilegous acts from being perpetrated, I order that, until further notice, the sacred eucharistic species be removed from all tabernacles, that will therefore remain empty in all churches.

Let instead turns of adoration be established, in which the Eucharist shall remain exposed for adoration by all those present and thereafter either sacramentally consumed or guarded in locations that are reserved and as safe as possible.

Given in Monreale [Sicily], at the Archiepiscopal See,
on March 3, 2012


  1. Anonymous2:26 PM

    Good for His Excellency. Glad there's still an Italian prelate who believes in the True Presence and goes out of his way to protect Christ.

  2. Anonymous3:01 PM

    Please remember that no one can post anonymously. As the directions say above the comments box, you must use some sort of name. Thanks

  3. Ecclesia Militans3:14 PM

    There is a simple solution to this problem, not nearly as drastic as this made by the bishop:

    Forbid communion in the hand!

    This way he would be protecting the Body and Blood of Our Lord from two types of sacrilege, not only one.

    And yes, the desecration of the Blessed Host is the worst type of sacrilege. If we lived in Catholic states it would be rightly punishable by death.

  4. The norm of taking the Eucharist exclusively on tongue should also be re-introduced and strictly followed everywhere.

  5. Jimmy3:36 PM

    Indeed, this extraordinary extraordinary measure is taken, but nothing about ending communion in the hand? They walk the line.

  6. xavier rynne3:57 PM

    Tabernacles have always seemed very solid to me, and locked when not in use. Have people been breaking into them? Incredible.

  7. Gratias5:04 PM

    Give in because two Muslims pocketed the host? Having the tabernacle sacred is an important part of why Catholics pray in churches.

  8. A few years ago our parish had to buy a new tabernacle, because the previous one had been broken into so many times by reprobate youths desiring to desecrate the Blessed Sacrament that finally the locks and hinges could hardly work any more.

    It ended up being a blessing, because our new tabernacle is 10,000 times lovelier than the deliberately dull 1970s breadbox we had been using. It also weighs a ton (well, close to a ton maybe) so it can't be carried away without a LOT of help.

  9. “Boundless pain”, this describes so well the immediate emotions we feel, how wicked, against Our Lord, who never ever even contemplated wrong.

    “Yet for months now, these violations and abuses have been taking place, one right after the other: from the two Muslims in Sondrio who received the host in their hands from a priest - only to put it in their pockets, to a barrage of sacrilegious thefts throughout Italy.”

    Is it possible to have a link confirming these sinful actions by persons who revile our Holy Faith ? These despicable acts can surely not be allowed to pass unnoticed, unpunished ?

  10. Roger Peterson8:43 PM

    Stopping communion in the hand would not prevent desecration. The desecration videos posted on Youtube in 2010 showed the atheist activist receiving on the tongue - he simply did not swallow the host.

  11. Sobieski9:27 PM

    Interesting sermon on this exact topic:


  12. Alsaticus11:46 PM

    Litniks hate the tabernacles. This general prohibition is bizarre.

    Asking for more secure tabernacles would have been logical ; prohibiting their use is truly a weird decision.
    Or is it another twisted way to push litnik theories ?

  13. Sunshine State1:14 AM

    Discontinuation of communion in the hands would be the best way to prevent people from desecrating the Eucharist by walking away with it. As far as the break-ins of the tabernacle, there are several options that could be used other than moving the consecrated hosts to another location.

    Motion alarms in the sanctuary area where the tabernacle is placed could be activated whenever the church is unattended. Placing the tabernacle behind the main sanctuary in a glass window has been used in the architecture of some newer churches. Both of these alternatives allow the faithful the opportunity to visit the Blessed Sacrament during the day for private prayer without leaving the tabernacle exposed to criminal elements.

  14. t.g.loos9:33 AM

    We desecrate our Lord by receiving him in the hand, why are we so shocked that's it come to this. Each time we go up to receive our Lord we walk on him. Think about it, what gives us the right to mistreat our Lord?

  15. Does this not seem to speak to the current flap going on regarding Fr. Guarnizo and the importance of protecting the Blessed Sacrament? Kris

  16. Suellen12:16 AM

    Receiving on the tongue, as well as volunteer tabernacle guards for open church hours, seem like ways to increase reverence all around. God bless our bishops as more of these difficult decisions need to be made.

  17. Byzcat4:08 AM

    Cardinal Pacelli, in 1931, (before he was Pius XII), said prophetically: “I am worried by the Blessed Virgin’s messages to Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a Divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in Her liturgy, Her theology and Her soul...I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the true Faith of the Church, reject Her ornaments and make Her feel remorse for Her historical past.”

    “A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them. Like Mary Magdalene, weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, ‘Where have they taken Him?’

  18. R. John7:02 PM

    I suspect "problem, reaction solution", with the "solution" being the end originally desired.

  19. Mrs. T11:35 PM

    Mrs. T
    Perhaps wiring the Tabernacle with about 40 volts would be a deterrent.

  20. eremite9:38 PM

    One remedy for stopping most of the abuses of communion in the hand is for priests to use 'intinction', then the communicant must receive in the mouth.


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