One comes across, during the Liturgy, occasions where the Holy Communion slips from the hand of the Celebrant while it is being administered to the faithful. He carefully picks it up and restores to the plate. But, there is a possibility, though remote, that the sacramental cup spills over the Altar or on the aisle where Holy Communion in both forms- Flesh and Blood of the Savior- is administered . How is the Celebrant supposed to handle the situation?

My question therefore is: According to Catholic Church, are there any written instructions on how to deal with the situation where the Blessed Sacrament of Blood of Christ spills on the Altar on on the aisle?

  • Very detailed instructions were given by Pope St. Pius V in Section X, paragraphs 12 to 15, of the decree "De defectibus in celebratione missarum occurentibus." This decree used to be printed near the beginning of the Missale Romanum, probably so that it could be easily found when needed. Dec 21, 2021 at 15:39

1 Answer 1


Are any written instructions to deal with accidental spilling of the Blessed Sacrament of Blood of Christ on the Altar or aisle?

Of course there are provisions written about such situations.

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says the folllowing:

280. If a host or any particle should fall, it is to be picked up reverently; and if any of the Precious Blood is spilled, the area where the spill occurred should be washed with water, and this water should then be poured into the sacrarium in the sacristy.

A sacrarium is a basin with a drain that goes directly into the ground.

It is usual when mopping up any spillage on the floor, to absorb some of it with a cloth and squeeze the cloth out into a bucket. This continues until the floor is clean, even if a damp spot remains, and water is then rubbed over it to clean it even more thoroughly.

It is the same in the case you mention. The liquid and water are squeezed into the bucket and the result is poured down the sacrarium. The cloth used for this purpose must be washed in water until there is no sign of the stain, and the water poured into the sacrarium. The cloth may only then be put into the laundry basket. - What to do when the Precious Blood is spilt

  • Thanks. Some modern day Churches in cities , which function from floors of apartments, may not necessarily have the sacrarium. Instead, their wash-basins drain to the common rain-water drainage. One would be obliged if you can add the rule position applicable in such a scenario. Dec 22, 2021 at 8:25
  • @KadalikattJosephSibichan I am sure dispensations have been given in this area.
    – Ken Graham
    Dec 22, 2021 at 13:59
  • Thanks. In the good old days, there was a tradition of burning the objects which were considered sacred, but were no more usable , like torn pages of the Bible, broken pieces of Rosary, blessed palm leaf used on Palm Sunday etc. So, burning of the cloth used in wiping of the spilled Sacramental Blood , would be a good idea. Dec 23, 2021 at 4:57

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