Yesterday a reader asked the following question?
“WAS TAMPONAGE OR TAMPONOLOGY A STUDY SUBJECT IN MORAL THEOLOGY”?
If it was I never came across in when I did moral theology in St. John’s in Waterford.
But I was instructed in two other interesting topics by Monsignor John Shine.
- HOW TO BAPTISE A MONSTER IN THE WOMB.
- WHAT TO WHEN A FLY GETS INTO THE CHALICE AFTER THE CONSECRATION.
In older times babies in the womb who were malformed and not expected to survive were referred to as “monsters”. I think it was a reference to a very old belief that a malformed or disabled child was seen as a punishment from God.
Of course the RC Church would have still believed that such children had souls that had to be saved and those born dead could not be baptised and their souls would be “lost” in Limbo. And of course, at that time unbaptised babies could not be buried in consecrated grounds and were often buried on family land.
So, the think was that it was vital to get to them in the womb and baptise them while they still had life in them.
So trainee priests were taught how, with the help of midwives and doctors. to baptise such children in the womb!
The midwives or doctors would prepare a pipette with a long spout and fill it with sterilized water which the priest would make into holy water.
Then with the medics help the pipette would be inserted into the woman’s womb and the priest would squeeze the water over the baby and pronounce the words of baptism.
This meant that the baby was saved and prevented from being sent to Limbo.
It could also then receive a church funeral and buried in a Catholic graveyard.
THE FLY IN THE CHALICE:
The other topic that we were lectured on was what to do if a fly got into the chalice at Mass after the consecration.
The problem was that after the consecration we Catholics believe that the wine has become the Precious Blood and we have a responsibility to let nothing untoward to happen.
So the instruction was:
Take the fly out of the chalice and squeeze it into an altar cloth called a corporal.
After the Mass was over you had to burn the fly.
Then you had to wash the cloth and drink the water you had washed it in.
It all goes to show that there were some very strange preoccupations within the Roman Catholic church in the past.