EWTN Catholic Q&A
Sweet Bread
Question from tom kehrer on 06-25-2002:

I attended a Mass where the bread was (to my taste) sweet. I am wondering if : 1) Was the wine consecrated. 2) Was the Mass valid. thank you tom

Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 06-27-2002:

Common teaching says that the wine was likely consecrated, as each consecration is distinct.

As for the bread, it is hard to say. The addition of yeast or baking soda would make it illicit by ecclesiastical law, since the Latin Rite uses unleavened bread, the Eastern Rites leavened. The addition of any other ingredients (honey, cinnamon etc.) is contrary to both ecclesiastical and divine law (Christ established the essential nature of the sacrament). Small amounts probably do not invalidate the consecration; however, at some point the addition of ingredients does invalidate the consecration when it ceases to be bread by common estimation (but a cookie or cake or something else). Since Catholics have a right to the sacraments of the Church, and no one has a right to undermine their validity, the addition of any ingredients is gravely wrong, any Catholic moral theology book will say that. Please note that a Mass (the Sacrifice) is invalidate whenever one of the species is invalid matter, even though the other is validly consecrated. Thus, one could at least receive Christ in Communion under the valid species. However, this is one of the abuses so serious that Rome will quickly act upon it if informed, to the embarassment of the priest and his bishop.

Here are some of the potential consequences of invalidating a Mass through such grave abuse of the sacrament. First, it is a mortal sin for those who do or allow it. It is a mortal sin of injustice against the faithful whose right to the Church's sacrament has been grievously violated. It involves the faithful who innocently receive an unconsecrated bread in material idolatry. For this reason, no Catholic should receive as Communion a suspicious bread. If this is discovered after reception, or one receives without knowing one should not, there is certainly no fault. The sins are the perpetrators - one for each communicant. Finally, if money was received as a stipend for that "Mass", a real Mass would have to be said for that stipended intention, or the money returned.

As you can see, the evils involved in invalidating the matter of the species are many. They must be repaired, in this life or the next! Catholics should not tolerate this abuse on even one occasion. If the pastor won't stop it, the bishop must be informed. If it does not stop then, Rome should be informed. The validity of a sacrament is the responsibility of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.