Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Communion Hosts Dispensers?

Since 2007, there have been these nifty things on the market called Communion Host Dispensers.

These Jesus PEZ dispensers are in use in 375,000 churches, at least one of which is Catholic. So, this makes me wonder, what would the Vatican say about such things?

Please wait as your local theology student researches answer (source)
After a couple of hours of looking through everything I have, I see nothing that explicitly says that communion has to be given by hand or that it cannot be given by a dispenser like those above. This is possibly due to the fact that in some Catholic Churches of other rites, it is not given by hand.

Like so.

Next question: Why does this go against our sensibilities then? Why are we so completely bugged by a Jesus PEZ?

The first thought I have is directly related to the phrase "Jesus PEZ." It's disrespectful to take communion the same way we take candy. Communion is unlike anything else we eat and it shouldn't be consumed in an ordinary way.

These dispensers are silver and gold, though. And isn't it important to take communion in the right frame of mind? Can't it be reverent regardless of the trappings?

The old-school definition of sacrament is: an outward sign of an inward grace. So the outer trappings really do matter.

Being in the right frame of mind is all well and good, but the appropriateness of your behavior counts. Behavior makes a difference. Take for example smiling: If you smile even when you're depressed, it will make you feel better. Act reverently, even if you're not particularly feeling it, and you'll start to feel it. But act irreverently and, even if you do feel reverent, the feeling will go away.

So, what about this makes Catholics make this face?
Simply put, we take actions and outer trappings very seriously, especially when it comes to our Sacraments. The inner life affects the outer actions. The outer actions certainly affect the inner disposition.
It might sound shallow to you, but that doesn't make it less true.

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