The Italian Almanac

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catholic mass

Show Must Go On

A Catholic Mass can't be stopped after a certain point even if someone dies during the service, a top cardinal explained after the death of a man in church the day before. ''The Mass must continue once the consecration of the Host has occurred because the Eucharist is present,'' Cardinal Ersilio Tonini said, using theological terms for the Catholic belief that Christ enters the Communion wafer.

''If I had found myself in the same situation at the beginning of the service I would have stopped it but after the consecration the Mass must go on until the end,'' Tonini stressed.

A parish priest on Wednesday carried on saying Mass after an elderly parishioner keeled over and died. The priest in Trento put a white drape over the body and said a few words about the man before completing the service. The funeral took place Thursday without the body having to leave the church.