June 22, 2021 (Edward J. Barr) – An exorcism course was held at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome April 16-21, 2018. During that year the Church had become aware of the growing number of demonic incidents occurring throughout the world. A few months later Roma Locuta Est provided an eyewitness account of Croation Priest Father Sudac confronting demonic activity). The Vatican training focused on instructing priests to confront the growing threat from the evil one and his minions. Since that time American exorcists such as Father Stephen J. Rossetti and Father Chad Ripperger have sounded the alarm about the tremendous increase in demonic activity in the United States. They and others have responded with websites, blogs – Exorcist Diary, videos, and books to inform the faithful about this very real threat. Pope Francis has spoken frequently about the devil before and after the above-mentioned conference in Rome. However, the dangers of demonic activity are seldom mentioned in homilies. The sheep are unaware of the wolves.
In the last few years there have been several reported thefts of the Eucharist and the monstrance from tabernacles and adoration chapels. Some of these have made national news, such as thefts from Holy Spirit Parish in El Paso, Texas, in 2019, and 2020 thefts from the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Manhattan and St. Elizabeth in Boone, NC. These incidents are reported to the police and become part of an official investigation by civilian authorities. But what about the theft of the Eucharist at the communion rite? What guidelines do parishes have to protect the Eucharist? What actions are taken if the theft occurs? Sadly, there is generally no guidance at all for concerned priests, Eucharistic ministers, and parishioners. Many parishes give no or limited thought to Eucharistic security. Frequently, security of a parish is an additional duty given to a head usher, a volunteer, or even the maintenance man. They need help.
All signs point to a further rise of demonic activity in the US. As the Mass is the summit of liturgical worship for Christ’s church, so the Black Mass is the summit of sacrilege for Satanic cults. To perform their evil act, they need a consecrated host. Adding to those committed followers of Satan are anti-Catholic activists who do Satan’s bidding without being part of any formal group. Dioceses need to create guidelines to assist parishes in dealing with this growing threat. One model that can be used is the reporting of theft of classified information.
Every person who holds a clearance from the US government receives basic training in what to do if someone tries to steal classified materials. They know what to do if they see it happening, what are the limits of action they should take if they see it happening, and who to report it to after they discover the theft. Clearly the Church doesn’t want priests or parishioner to get into unnecessary physical conflicts with Eucharist thieves; however, some protocols are needed.
At a minimum, the diocese should provide guidance on what steps a priest, Eucharistic minister, and parishioner should take if they observe theft of the Eucharist, or are made aware of it after the fact. A reporting system should be implemented to ensure that all Eucharistic ministers are immediately aware of the incident. Ideally, the entire parish should be notified. An announcement made at Mass would alert the parish to the threat and make any potential perpetrators in the congregation think twice before attempting to steal the Eucharist. All parishes in the deanery should also be notified of any incident in a timely fashion, as well as the appropriate diocesan office. The diocese should keep records to denote trends that could assist their parishes and fellow dioceses. A report should be made to the appropriate law enforcement authority. They should be provided with as much detail about the incident as possible. These reports should be made within 24-48 hours of the incident. Groups conduct coordinated operations to steal the Eucharist and if they are stopped at one church, they move on to another. My parish and the next closest parish had the same thief steal a Eucharist within a couple weeks of each other. Unfortunately, there was no formal communication between the two parishes. Establishment of the above outlined program may have stopped the second theft.
Scripture is clear, from Genesis to Revelation, about the realities of the devil and the threat he poses to the faithful. Our Lord and the inspired writers weren’t afraid to speak about the threat from the Evil one. Neither should our priests be in fear to speak about the current reality that we all face in a pagan friendly culture. That includes instructing the faithful in how to respond if these attacks happen. If an infant was grabbed from the arms of its mother and carried out of the Church, the entire parish would be in an uproar. How much more should the uproar be when the God of the universe is attacked before our eyes, the eyes He created and allows to see? The Church needs to open its eyes to this growing threat.
Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
Edward J Barr is a Catechist, an attorney, and a retired Marine Colonel and intelligence officer who has served with the FBI. He earned a Master of Theology degree from the Augustine Institute. Mr. Barr is a contributing writer for the Roma Locuta Est blog (www.RomaLocutaEst.com).