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Hospital Chapel Desecrated Twice in Spain
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A hospital chapel in Puerto Real, Spain, within the Diocese of Cadiz and Ceuta, has been desecrated on two separate occasions, leading to the planning of Masses for reparation.
Photo credit: Josh Applegate
Officials within the diocese said the tabernacle had been profaned, with the chaplains at the hospital chapel being witnesses to these sacrilegious acts.
During the initial incident, one of the priests discovered that the tabernacle door had been tampered with and subsequently realigned. Although there was minimal damage and no sacred vessels or consecrated hosts were stolen, the priest found a dirty glass with what appeared to be coffee residue in one corner.
On the second occasion, another chaplain found that the veil of the tabernacle had been torn off. Although the tabernacle door was not forced open, the lid of the ciborium and the pyx, containing all the consecrated hosts, had been taken.
Following these incidents, the chaplains removed all items from the tabernacle as a precautionary measure and reported the desecrations to the hospital management, which subsequently involved law enforcement.
To make amends for these acts of desecration, a Mass of reparation will be celebrated in the chapel on both September 15 and September 18.
The practice of reserving consecrated hosts after Mass serves several purposes, according to the instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Primarily, it allows the faithful who cannot attend Mass, especially the sick and elderly, to partake in sacramental Communion and unite with Christ and His sacrifice offered during the Mass.
Reserving the Eucharist also facilitates the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, offering the appropriate worship due to God. Redemptionis Sacramentum specifies that the Most Holy Sacrament should be reserved in a prominent, dignified, and visible part of the church. Diligence is also required to ensure that liturgical regulations and legal norms are followed to avoid the risk of profanation.
The instruction additionally warns that any attempt to use the consecrated species for sacrilegious purposes or to discard them is considered a grave offense, and absolution for such offenses is reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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