The following account comes to me from an eyewitness of the events. On Saturday, December 2, 2017, as exposition of the Eucharist was coming to a close, and after benediction, Fr. William Long was removing the Blessed Sacrament from the monstrance. As he was doing this, the Host apparently fell out of the monstrance and onto the table that supports the tabernacle. Fr. Long did not return the Host to the tabernacle, but, instead, left the Eucharist on the table. He then left the chapel with the Host lying on the table. A layperson who was in attendance returned the Host to the tabernacle.“Sacrilege is a grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist, for in this sacrament the true Body of Christ is made substantially present for us.”—CCC 2120
Now I’m no canon lawyer, but I imagine that leaving the Eucharist outside of the tabernacle is a major no-no. And after poking around on the Internet, I found that it appears to violate gobs of canons, especially 938 and 943.
The Catechism also has important things to say on the matter. CCC 2120 describes as sacrilege “profaning or treating unworthily the sacraments.” And here’s what it says about the Eucharist in particular:
Sacrilege is a grave sin especially when committed against the Eucharist, for in this sacrament the true Body of Christ is made substantially present for us.
The passage cites canon 1367, which dictates that a person guilty of sacrilege against the Eucharist “incurs an automatic . . . excommunication.” Punishment can also include “dismissal from the clerical state.” This raises important questions. Did Fr. Long excommunicate himself by his actions? If he did, how can he still be a priest? How can the masses he celebrates be valid? How can the sacraments he administers be valid? These are important questions that people who continue to attend St. Andrew’s must ask themselves. How would you like to discover after it’s too late that the anointing of the sick that one of your loved ones received from Fr. Long was, in fact, not valid?
All of these questions are of the utmost importance, but they cannot be answered by amateurs. Only a canon lawyer has the expertise to answer these questions authoritatively. Anyone know of a Jacoby & Meyers for canon lawyers?
It’s no mystery to people who have been paying attention that Fr. Long is not the biggest fan of the Eucharist. Somebody pointed out to me that the parish’s mission statement has substantially changed:
The opening sentence in the original mission statement for St. Andrew the Apostle Church stated: “St. Andrew the Apostle Roman Catholic parish is a people, called by Baptism and nourished by the Eucharist, in which God’s presence is experienced, shared, and celebrated.” Within just a few weeks of his arrival, on his own accord, Bill Long struck out the phrase, “and nourished by the Eucharist,” and removed it from all subsequent parish publications.