Q — Do Catholics have dietary restrictions, not including Lent? My mother remembers meat from animals with non-cloven hooves being forbidden.

A — The answer is “No.” Catholics do not have dietary restrictions, other than during the holy season of Lent, and even then, of course, these have to do with ascetical fasting and abstinence rather than with forbidden foods/meats. In the early church the question had a quite a different spin to it. Pagan temples, everywhere present in the ancient world, often had animal sacrifices. The meat from such sacrifices was often sold in the local butcher shops. The question arose: Could Christians eat meat that had come from animals sacrificed to idols, even when we know that “idols” have no objective reality? St. Paul deals with this question in 1 Corinthians 8 in a pastorally sensitive manner, very worth looking at still.

Q — How many consecrated hosts should a communion minister take when taking Holy Communion to those who cannot be present at the Eucharist?

A — It is wonderful to witness Communion ministers assisting pastors by taking Holy Communion to those who are unable to be present at the celebration of the Eucharist. It helps to underscore the fact not only that we are all together one Body in Christ, but also that, as appropriate, all the baptized exercise in different ways ministry to one another. The question has to do with the number of hosts a Communion minister should take. The brief answer is: in concert with the pastor, determine who is to receive Holy Communion and, therefore, how many hosts are required. Should it happen that one host is left over, so to speak, and the Communion minister is unable to return the host to the ciborium in the tabernacle, he/she should reverently consume the host.