Question from Bridget Trail on 4/5/2008:
Would you review the proper disposal of a host not totally consumed by communicant and then spit out? I serve Holy Communion in retirement/nursing homes to patients suffering from alzheimers. Also, some say they're Catholic but are not! On one occasion a patient took the host out of her mouth & in her hand. The host was wet and stuck to the cloth that I gently placed the host into & folded to bring back to Church. I couldn't consume it-unlike when the hosts just accidentally falls to the floor. We were instructed to take it back to the church and bury it in the dirt under a St. Joseph Statue (which was recently stolen). I did but am very uncomfortable doing so. Also, can the host be buried in ordinary blessed ground and not at a Church? Would you review the Church's teaching on proper disposal of hosts. I know particles not consumed are brought back to church sacristy and disolved,etc.
Answer by Rev. Mark J. Gantley, JCL on 4/7/2008:
Dissolving in water to the point where the Host no longer has the appearance of bread would be the goal. This may take some assistance (e.g., breaking the Host up first). Then the water should be returned to the earth.
I would say that greater certainty needs to be reached regarding the ability and willingness of the person to receive devoutly. The type of thing that you are describing should be most rare.