What Happens When Either Bread or Wine is Invalid?

The question is raised, “Can the sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist be accomplished when either the species of bread or wine is invalid (e.g. barley bread or cider)?”

The following answer is from the Catholic Encyclopedia “Sacrifice of the Mass”:

“While the Consecration as such can be shown with certainty to be the act of Sacrifice, the necessity of the twofold consecration can be demonstrated only as highly probable. Not only older theologlans such as Frassen, Gotti, and Bonacina, but also later theologians such as Schouppen, Stentrup and Fr. Schmid, have supported the untenable theory that when one of the consecrated elements is invalid, such as barley bread or cider, the consecration of the valid element not only produces the Sacrament, but also the (mutilated) sacrifice. Their chief argument is that the sacrament in the Eucharist is inseparable in idea from the sacrifice. But they entirely overlooked the fact that Christ positively prescribed the twofold conscration for the sacrifice of the Mass (not for the sacrament), and especially the fact that in the consecration of one element only the intrinsically essential relation of the Mass to the sacrifice of the Cross is not symbolically represented. Since it was no mere death from suffocation that Christ suffered, but a bloody death, in which His veins were emptied of their Blood, this condition of separation must receive visible representation on the altar, as in a sublime drama. This condition is fulfilled only by the double consecration, which brings before our eyes the Body and the Blood in the state of separation, and thus represents the mystical shedding of blood. Consequently, the double consecration is an absolutely essential element of the Mass as a relative sacrifice.”

It still doesn’t fully answer the question, “What if the bread is consecrated but vinegar wrongly placed in the cup (which cannot be truly consecrated) is not consecrated? What comes of the bread? Do you have a sacrament without sacrifice?

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  • Anthony MT Fisher

    Something else I have wondered: what happens if a priest says the correct words of Consecration for one of the elements, but then ad libs the ones for the other?

  • Farmer88

    I just jump to safety and assume nothing was valid. I would definitely argue that is the safer bet anyway. But the wise idea would be to dispose of it as if it were valid, just in case.

  • Clive B

    ‘Valid’ to whom ? Will God turn away from a man on a desert island who has no access to wheat bread and fermented grape ? Will God reject an alcoholic who fears even a sip of wine ? I believe that God looks at my heart and does not mark how well I follow ritual.

    • Paul Schultz

      Then… why don’t you just make it up as you go along?

      • Clive B

        The eucharist is for me an anamnesis, a remembering the past in the present, very much as the Passover is. What physical elements I use, provided they are dignified and used with reverence matter less to me than the act of remembrance itself. I would never ‘make up’ the words of institution. Why should I try to improve on the Word of God ? But if all things come from God, is it vital what elements I use ? Are they not all equally perfect ?

  • Joe Aboumoussa

    Canon Law seems to suggest that it would all be invalid, probably because God’s omniscience would see that essential elements are missing from the start. “Can. 927 It is absolutely forbidden, even in extreme urgent necessity, to consecrate one matter without the other or even both outside the eucharistic celebration.”