Many of Professor Paul Zachary Myers’ atheistic disciples have followed his lead, engaging in desecration of the Most Holy Eucharist. Myers has stated that the Eucharist is freely given out, therefore, it’s not stealing to take the Eucharist. Au contraire. The Eucharist is freely given to all those who confess the Catholic faith. Presenting oneself to receive the Eucharist is the equivalent of professing as truth the entire sacred deposit of the Catholic faith. Perhaps Myers’ disciples should consider that. In fact, anyone who receives the Eucharist while renouncing any part of the Catholic faith is doing something far worse than stealing.

Yet, I have felt from the beginning of this tragic series of events that the Eucharistic sacrilege and desecration that has been coming at the hands of religiously anti-religious atheists goes hand in hand with the sad reality of Eucharistic indifference on the part of so many Catholics—those Catholics who receive Jesus while in a state of mortal sin and those Catholics who receive Jesus while in open dissent to one or more Catholic teachings. Somehow, the atheists’ gross display of anti-Catholicism is a manifestation of what we have been failing to perceive for so long—many professing the Catholic faith receive Our Lord unworthily.

"Lord, I am Not Worthy …"

Jesus Christ, true God and true man, gives himself for the sake of our salvation, that he may abide in us and we in him (cf. Jn 6:56). Who could be worthy of such a gift? There is nothing we could do to merit this honor.

Before so great a sacrament, the faithful can only echo humbly and with ardent faith the words of the Centurion: "Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea" (Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed) (CCC, 1386; cf. Roman Missal, response to the invitation to communion; cf. Mt 8:8).

And, indeed, were human nature entirely sinless, we would still be unworthy of such a marvelous gift. Yet it is the Lord’s good pleasure to cleanse all who are in venial sin and to even share his Sacred Body and Precious Blood with the faithful. It is Christ’s good pleasure to make us worthy. But how could some remain unworthy?

"Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord" (1 Cor 11:27).

Do we, as St. Paul teaches, "examine" ourselves? Do we "discern the body" (cf. 1 Cor 11:28-29)?

A Georgetown University survey that came out this year suggested that only 57 percent of Catholics believe in the Real Presence, as opposed to 61 percent in 2001. This is a serious problem. Now while it is certain that many Catholics who do not believe in the Real Presence do not attend Mass or do not receive Communion when they do attend Mass, it is equally certain that many Catholics who do not believe in the Real Presence do attend Mass and receive Communion anyway. Moreover, the poll did not show how many Catholics live in open dissent to the Church on matters of faith and morals and receive Jesus in the Eucharist anyway. The point is not to diminish what Myers and his disciples are doing, but to emphasize that Eucharistic indifference is more widespread within our walls.

What Can Be Done?

Some of the sacrilegious videos have been removed from viewing on Youtube, though the threat to invasions of our worship remains. And because of that threat, there is a greater need for Eucharistic security, as one author on this site recently pointed out. And he is right: whoever sees someone departing the Communion line without having consumed the Eucharist should stop that person. But what else can be done to prevent not only sacrilege, but Eucharistic indifference and unworthy reception? Perhaps those who believe in the Real Presence may be called to have an uncomfortable but compassionate conversation with a friend or family member (for instance, those who persist in a state of mortal sin, or perhaps do not believe in the Real Presence). Such an effort toward Eucharist reverence can be a great act of charity for both the Lord and the sinner called to conversion.

Additionally, there is needed greater Eucharistic catechesis and reverence on the part of believing Catholics. Many who have a strong devotion to the Eucharist may be called to teach at this time. "Anyone who has discovered Christ must lead others to him. A great joy cannot be kept to oneself. It has to be passed on," Pope Benedict told the youth in Cologne on August 21, 2005. We must convey these saving truths to our brothers and sisters – both to those who claim to be Catholics and to those who have turned their ire toward us.

Perhaps some parish practices that tend toward Eucharistic irreverence need to be reexamined. I personally have been at many Masses in which the priest consecrates a type of bread other than the traditional wafer. Well-intending parishioners, no doubt out of true love for the Lord and a desire to offer a gift of service, bake their own bread to be used during the Lord’s Supper. Despite the praiseworthy efforts of such volunteers, this is a practice that needs to be rethought. The benefit to consecrating the wafer is that very few excess fragments are shed. However, with the homemade bread, there remain dozens of fragments—if not more, all roughly the size of grains of sand—left in the hands of communicants. If such fragmentary bread is used for consecration, parishes should take a hypervigilant approach toward the Eucharist, one that may not be pastorally possible for in-the-hand reception. To my shame, I remember being young and brushing the miniscule fragments from my hands in my ignorance. But what I did not fully grasp then was that in transubstantiation, there is no substance of bread remaining. The "breadness" is gone altogether as soon as the priest pronounces the words of consecration! Despite the size of these tiny fragments, which retain the accidental qualities of bread, the reality remains that this is the Eucharist—true God, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The question must be seriously asked: Does this remain a fitting option for a parish, and if this practice is deemed pastorally necessary, might not it be better to begin the practice of reception on the tongue to better prevent the Eucharist from being trampled underfoot?

Communion in the hand – here is another practice of the modern age that must be rethought in the interest of Eucharistic security as well as for the sake of the universality of the Church.

First of all, the Eucharistic minister must observe everyone who receives in the hand to be certain that that person consumes the Precious Body. In light of this surge of deplorable videography on Youtube, unfortunately, many ministers of Holy Communion are either not watching or are overwhelmed by the numbers of communicants and are unable to watch adequately (otherwise, those attempting to desecrate the Sacred Host would be caught).

Secondly, this clearly seems to clearly be the will of the Holy Father. In Rome, it has become the norm for papal liturgies that communicants are now to receive communion on the tongue while kneeling, according to a Catholic News Service report on June 26. While on the one hand granting a better sense of the mystery for communicants, this practice will on the other hand also help the Vatican prevent Eucharistic sacrilege, as several consecrated Hosts went online for sale on EBay in 2005 following significant Masses from the Vatican.

Many Catholics may have heard it said often that we are to make our hands a throne for receiving the Lord. However, Scripture says that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body" (1 Cor 6:19-20).

When we receive the Lord on the tongue, we take him into our bodies. We are totally dependent children who come to him who is the true food (cf. Jn 6:55).

What good would our lives be without this nourishment?

Our hands are indeed for service, but more important than temporal service is the co-indwelling of God and man. He abides in us, and we abide in him. Without that, all the temporal service from the good will of man is merely that—temporal. When we approach the Eucharistic Banquet, we are the ones who need the healing hands of the Lord. We are the ones too sick from our own sins to take him into our hands. The whole body is nourished by the Lord, not just the hands. The tongue and the heart are more fitting thrones for the Lord of Glory.

To protect the Eucharist from further sacrilege, please consider writing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), in addition to your local bishop and your parish priest, charitably asking that reception on the tongue become the normative practice, particularly in light of our common desire to keep the most precious gift we have, Christ himself, out of the hands of those who despise both Christ and his Bride.

Communion of Reparation and Eucharistic Adoration

"Do not offend the Lord our God any more, because he is already so much offended," Our Sorrowful Mother told the children at Fatima on Oct. 13, 1917. And we now have a new impetus as followers of her Son because of the offense given by these outrages against the Most Holy Eucharist and Christ’s Bride, the Church – we must become advocates to God for our enemies (cf. Mt. 5:44).

"Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men! Make reparation for their crimes and console your God," said the angel of Portugal to Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. Our Lady later told the children that many souls go to hell because there is no one to make reparation for them. This is Fatima’s call for us in our day. There is no better offering to the Father that will supplicate his mercy than an offering of his Son himself. The angel of Portugal taught the following prayer to the children at Fatima:

"My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love you. I ask pardon of you for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love you.

"Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly, and I offer you the most precious Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifference with which he himself is offended. And, through the infinite merits of his most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of you conversion of poor sinners"

If we can save souls from hell through offering Holy Communion in reparation to God the Father for grievous sins, why wait? Why not print this prayer up, or even memorize it, and pray it after receiving the Eucharist?

Finally, in December of last year, the Congregation for the Clergy launched a worldwide drive to invigorate the practice of Eucharistic Adoration around the world in reparation to God for the offenses of the abuse scandal that has wrought havoc upon the Church over the past decade. In the wake of the scandal and in light of these recent outrages against the Most Sacred Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, there has never been a more urgent time to answer the call to engage in this form of worship.


I did not watch a video of desecration online, nor have I seen images of Professor Myers’ desecration—I did not know if I could bear the sight. Perhaps through this I have come to a greater understanding of the Apostles who weren’t there on Calvary, because I do not know if I can bear to watch just what they are doing to my Jesus. My own weaknesses aside, I hope to be part of a new great flood – a great flood of prayers pouring into heaven that the Lord will not delay to deliver us from this great evil through the grace of conversion.

There are many things we can do as a people to help bring an end to this abuse of Our Lord and abuse of our faith—both actively and preventatively. As with all great endeavors, sacrifices need to be made, such as purging ourselves of some of the aforementioned practices that increase the opportunity for Eucharistic sacrilege. But we must now act in the best interest of Our Lord.

Sometimes it is beyond our capacity to understand why such great evils as this happen. I do not know. What my mind cannot grasp is why Our Lord would have chosen to consent to allow himself to be subjected to such abuse. But then again has he not always suffered such rejection from his beloved creatures? Perhaps God’s permitting this extreme form of sacrilege is his way of showing us the great Eucharistic indifference he has endured for so very long.

Let us do our part to answer Fatima’s call: "Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men," says the Angel of Portugal. "Make reparation for their crimes and console your God."

Kevin Clarke is a graduate student at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He publishes a semi-weekly blog, The Charcoal Fire.