One of the favorite questions for medieval theologians to pose in their treatises on the eucharist was quid mus sumit — what does the mouse eat? The question was raised to get at the nature of the real presence of Christ in the sacrament, in relation to the sacramental signs of bread and wine. It was also used as a foil in considering what is (or isn’t) received by those not properly disposed to receive, whether through mortal sin or through lack of baptism.
Thus Thomas Aquinas wrote, “Even though a mouse or a dog were to eat the consecrated host, the substance of Christ’s body would not cease to be under the species, so long as those species remain, and that is, so long as the substance of bread would have remained; just as if it were to be cast into the mire. Nor does this turn to any indignity regarding Christ’s body, since He willed to be crucified by sinners without detracting from His dignity; especially since the mouse or dog does not touch Christ’s body in its proper species, but only as to its sacramental species” (ST III, 80.3 ad 3).
That’s just a little background to this online report from the Toronto Star. Anglican hospitality gone a little too far? Something that would make Jesus smile?
Or just one of those things — you know, something that shouldn’t have happened, but did?