Skip to main contentAccessibility feedback

Dear Catholic.com visitor: Summer is here, and you may be thinking about a well-deserved vacation, family get-togethers, BBQs with neighborhood friends. More than likely, making a donation to Catholic Answers is not on your radar right now. But this is exactly the time we most need your help. The “summer slowdown” in donations is upon us, but the work of spreading the gospel and explaining and defending the Faith never takes a break. Your gift today will change lives and save souls for Christ this summer! The reward is eternal. Thank you and God bless.

Dear Catholic.com visitor: Summer is here, and you may be thinking about a well-deserved vacation, family get-togethers, BBQs with neighborhood friends. More than likely, making a donation to Catholic Answers is not on your radar right now. But this is exactly the time we most need your help. The “summer slowdown” in donations is upon us, but the work of spreading the gospel and explaining and defending the Faith never takes a break. Your gift today will change lives and save souls for Christ this summer! The reward is eternal. Thank you and God bless.

Background Image

Did St. Norbert Have to Drink a Spider to Avoid Desecrating the Precious Blood?

Question:

I read that St. Norbert (ca. 1080-1134) consecrated the precious blood and was about to drink it when he saw a spider in the chalice. Rather than spill the precious blood, he decided to drink the contents—spider and all—and survived because of his faith. Did he really have to do that?

Answer:

No. St. Norbert had other options.

In the extraordinary form of the Latin liturgy, a document titled De Defectibus in Celebratione Missarum Occurrentibus (On Defects Occurring in the Celebration of Masses) addresses such situations. According to it,

If before the Consecration a fly or spider or anything else falls into the chalice, the priest is to pour out the wine in a suitable place, put other wine into the chalice, add a little water, offer it, as above, and continue the Mass. If after the Consecration a fly or something of the kind falls into the chalice, he is to take it out, wash it with wine, burn it after the Mass is over, and throw the ashes and the wine which was used for washing into the sacrarium. (10.5)

That St. Norbert preferred to risk death than take the chance of profaning the Eucharist was a heroic virtue, but protecting the Eucharist did not require him to consume the spider.

Did you like this content? Please help keep us ad-free
Enjoying this content?  Please support our mission!Donatewww.catholic.com/support-us