(File photo)

MANILA – An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said the student who made the consecrated host a subject of his food review may face excommunication.

Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP Public Affairs Committee, said Wednesday the Canon Law provides the penalty of excommunication for sacrilegious acts.

"It’s a form of sacrilege. You have to atone for that. In the Church, there is excommunication regarding (such acts). The Church is very clear on that. That’s canonically provided. There is a provision in the Canon Law. If there is a total disrespect to a sacred specie, it is latae sententiae, which means automatic excommunication," Secillano said.

Under the Canon Law, a person who "throws away the consecrated species or takes or retains them for a sacrilegious purpose" incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.

It is the Church’s most severe penalty imposed, wherein the person is deprived of receiving the sacraments and is deemed as an exile from Christian society.

The concerned bishop is the one imposing excommunication through a canonical process.

The consecrated host, which is a white wafer, is presented as the Body of Christ during Eucharistic celebrations.

Secillano issued the statement days after a student of the Ateneo de Manila University posted a food review on the consecrated host, which he brought from the Mass he attended.

At the same time, the CBCP official said the university has already acted on the matter.

“But from what I know, on their part, as an institution they made reparations already, closed their churches, no more sacraments for the time being that is part of atonement, atoning for it. But that is only for a period of time. But when it comes to the guy, to the student, that I don’t know what they did,” he said.

Novaliches diocese: Online Masses to continue

Meanwhile, the Diocese of Novaliches is not yet ready to lift its arrangements for physical attendance in Masses in churches.

"We encourage them to go back (to churches). But we are still thinking if we should lift the dispensation already since there are those still affected by the pandemic," Novaliches Bishop Roberto Gaa said in a radio interview Wednesday.

Gaa said making Masses available online has been effective in reaching many faithful, with or without a pandemic.

"Why deprive them (of) that relationship that we already built up when, in fact, it has been effective," he added.

The Novaliches bishop noted that online Masses are also good for those who choose not to be vaccinated against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

"This is their choice not to get vaccinated since they don't believe in it. So, for us not to discriminate them, we will continue to make online Mass (available)," Gaa said.

The CBCP earlier urged the faithful to attend face-to-face Eucharistic Celebrations.

Last year, the Conference said it is already time to "return to the normality of Christian life," wherein the church building is the home of the celebration of Masses.

In 2020, all dioceses and archdioceses in the country issued their respective dispensation from physically attending Masses in churches due to the pandemic.

On the other hand, several dioceses and archdioceses have already lifted the dispensation from physically attending Masses in churches to encourage more people to return to churches. (PNA)