Recommended Readings

Spiritual Counsels


Questions and Answers

Subject Index

Contact Me

Related Links

Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Questions and Answers

Recently, I heard a discussion on the radio about whether or not homemade hosts, with eggs and sugar and so on, were acceptable. There was a priest who said that such hosts made the Mass invalid. Well, what about all the people that day? What happened to them? Did Christ deny them His presence? It doesn’t seem fair.

Outline of the Answer
• Smart versus Wise?
• Pushing Away God’s Graces
• The Elements of the Eucharist
• The Example of Christ
• Presumption and Pride—or Faith

We humans are smart enough to send a spacecraft to another planet from where it sends back photographs and everything, but compared to God’s wisdom we really don’t know much about anything at all. So instead of arguing about a theological answer to your question, let’s look at the issue psychologically.

Pushing Away God’s Graces

Given the fact that God is always pouring down His graces upon us and never ceases to draw us to Him, what, then, would prevent us from receiving those graces? Well, we ourselves push away those graces through our own psychology. Through pride and spiritual blindness—with arrogance, with presumptuousness, with disobedience—we essentially separate ourselves from God’s saving grace.


St. Catherine of GenoaThis soul also beheld a certain ray of love issuing from that divine fountain, and darting towards man with a force as if to annihilate him; and she saw that when it found impediments, then, if it were possible for God to feel pain, He would suffer the greatest of all grief. This ray aimed only to penetrate the soul, and it was her own fault if she were not penetrated by it, for the ray surrounded her on all sides, seeking entrance; but the soul, blinded by self-love, did not perceive it.


—Saint Catherine of Genoa
Spiritual Dialogue, First Part,
Chapter VIII

The Elements of the Eucharist

Now, in regard to the Eucharist, we know from the Gospels precisely what basic elements are needed for a proper celebration: bread and wine. All the accounts of the Last Supper agree about this. So bread and wine are the sine qua non of the Mass. That’s why we can’t celebrate the Mass with coffee and donuts. Coffee isn’t wine, and donuts are not bread.

Hmm . . . wait a minute here. Aren’t donuts a sort of bread? Hmm . . . What, then, is bread, really? Well, isn’t it flour and water mixed together and baked? Yes. And what is wine? Well, isn’t it fermented juice? Yes.

So can elderberry wine, for example, be used for Mass? Can donuts—which are flour and water, among other things—be used at Mass? Thus we have to ask, “When is wine not wine and when is bread not bread?”

The Example of Christ

At this point, there can be only one sane recourse. We simply need to look at what Christ Himself used for the first Eucharist: He took bread and wine from the Last Supper, a Passover meal. He used, therefore, grape wine and unleavened wheat bread with no additives.

Knowing this, we come to the psychological point of this discussion. Instead of arguing about whether bread made with leaven and eggs, for example, is bread metaphysically acceptable to God for our celebration of the Eucharist, we simply have to realize that we can’t go wrong if we follow the example of Christ. Moreover, if we try to do something different from Christ’s own example, then we are guilty of presumption and pride. And what better a way to push away divine grace than with presumption and pride!

Presumption and Pride—or Faith

So regardless of whether or not bread other than unleavened wheat bread constitutes a metaphysical invalidation of the Mass, we can still say for certain that presumption and pride psychologically invalidate the Mass for anyone falling into those sins.

And what about those people you asked about? Well, we can assume that those persons who rejected the example of Christ and took up presumptuous innovations psychologically invalidated the Mass for themselves by their own arrogance. Yet we can also assume that all the graces God intended for the faithful would have been fully available for any persons who, ignorant of the sins being perpetrated that day, participated with faithful innocence in that Mass.


 Back to the list of questions


No advertisingóno sponsorójust the simple truth . . .

For the sake of truth, this is a website with NO ADVERTISING.

If you find these pages to be informative and helpful, please send a donation in appreciation,
even if itís only a few dollars, to help offset my costs in making this website available to you and to all.



Questions and Answers

Spiritual Counsels                                                         

INDEX of Subjects


Privacy Policy

Permissions Policy                                           




In San Francisco?



in association with
A Guide to Psychology and its Practice

Copyright © 1997-2020 Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

All material on this website is copyrighted. You may copy or print selections for your private, personal use only.
Any other reproduction or distribution without my permission is prohibited.
Where Catholic therapy (Catholic psychotherapy) is explained according to Catholic psychology in the tradition of the Catholic mystics.