Ron O'Brien and his Miraculous "Hosts"

In one of the most sacrilegious spectacles in recent history an alleged visionary in Keane, New Hampshire, Ron O'Brien, is prepared to sell Catholics a "Miraculous Bleeding Host" for three thousand dollars, allegedly at the command of God the Father, and mail it to you if you are overseas.

"You must also renounce the material world and sacrifice $3,333.33 to the apostolate as a condition set by Yahweh, as many abuses have occurred to Hosts given for free in the past." 

Every day alleged hosts simply appear in O'Brien's home, often bleeding. The numbers to date run into the hundreds of such hosts. In messages filled with invective, and often vile language put into the mouth of God the Father, O'Brien condemns bishops, priests, Vatican II, the Latin Rite used today, specific exercises of authority by the Holy See, other visionaries and, in general, anyone who disagrees with him. The titles of messages include Apostate Priest Father (name) Pig, as well as Pimps, Perverts, Faggots, Whores and Scum (pardon the language). The content of the  messages is as bad or worse.

Certain features, however, show the true nature of this sordid apostolate. In a letter called A Bishop Speaks Out on Ron O'Brien, a "Most Reverend" Thomas Rohde attacks O'Brien's critics and defends the alleged apparitions and "miraculous" hosts. The suggestion is, of course, that this a Catholic bishop, when in fact he is not recognized by the Holy See as a bishop of the Catholic Church. In another message, the preamble refers to "St. Malachi Martin," canonizing the recently deceased former Jesuit. While Fr. Martin was widely respected as a  commentator on Church matters, a visit to his website, now closed, showed that he supported the Creed of Campos, the beliefs of the former bishop of Campos, Brazil, who together with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the Society of St. Pius X went into schism in 1989. This "Creed" included rejection of the Second Vatican Council.

Thus, the whole tenor of the messages, as well as the heroes and associates of the visionary, are schismatic, with respect to the Vatican Council, with respect to the Holy Father, with respect to the local bishop and with respect to those in the Church who do not share their views or criticize them in any respect.

For me personally, there is a particular egregious reference in these writings and supporting documents, the suggestion that Blessed Padre Pio rejected the current rites and would have approved of O'Brien's scandalous apostolate. Padre Pio did not celebrate the Mass as revised by Pope Paul VI. The Missal was only published in 1969, the year after his death. However, various revisions had already gone into effect, beginning in 1965, from which he was excused by the law of the Church, which granted to elderly priests the permission to continue to offer the Mass from the Missal of 1962. The suggestion of O'Brien's apostolate, and other schismatic groups, that Blessed Pio was a dissenter over Vatican II and the Mass is sufficiently refuted by the below letter. The arrogance of their materials can be contrasted with its humility,  written to Pope Paul VI a  month before Padre Pio died (September 23, 1968). Thanking the Pope for Humanae Vitae and offering his own filial obedience, Blessed Pio makes explicit positive reference to the reforms of Vatican II, showing himself to be the the soul of charity and respect towards apostolic authority in the Church. 

I unite myself with my brothers and present at your feet my affectionate respect, all my devotion to your august person in an act of faith, love and obedience to the dignity of him whom you are representing on this earth. The Capuchin Order has always been in the first line in love, fidelity, obedience and devotion to the Holy See; I pray to God that it may remain thus and continue in its tradition of religious seriousness and austerity, evangelical poverty and faithful observance of the Rule and Constitution, certainly renewing itself in the vitality and in the inner spirit, according to the guides of the Second Vatican Council, in order to be always ready to attend to the necessities of Mother Church under the rule of your Holiness.

I know that your heart is suffering much these days in the interest of the Church, for the peace of the world, for the innumerable necessities of
the people of the world, but above all, for the lack of obedience of some, even Catholics, to the high teaching that you, assisted by the Holy
Spirit and in the name of God, are giving us. I offer you my prayers and daily sufferings as a small but sincere contribution on the part of the least of your sons in order that God may give you comfort with his Grace to follow the straight and painful way in the defence of eternal truth, which never changes with the passing of the years. Also, in the name of my spiritual children and the Prayer Groups, I thank you for your clear and decisive words that you especially pronounced in the last encyclical "Humanae
Vitae"; and I reaffirm my faith, my unconditional obedience to your illuminated directions.

May God grant victory to the truth, peace to his Church, tranquility to the world, health and prosperity to your Holiness so that, once these fleeting doubts are dissipated, the Kingdom of God may triumph in all hearts, guided by your apostolic work as Supreme Pastor of all Christianity.

Prostrate at your feet, I beg you to bless me in the company of my brothers in religion, my spiritual children, the Prayer Groups, my sick ones and also to bless all our good endeavours which we are trying to fulfill under your protection in the name of Jesus.

Humbly yours, 

P. Pio, Capuchin

Since this analysis was first published on EWTN's website the worst material (condemnations of critics and others, vile messages from "Yahweh" etc.) has been purged from O'Brien's website. Such revisionism is typical of false seers.

For example, in the case of demonic mysticism and apparitions, God's providence always provides that error and other factors permit the discerning faithful to see the devil's claws. Once the negative elements finally dawn on the "seer" (who if he or she is proud will be the last to doubt their own experience), an attempt may be made to salvage the apparition, which the person may have been sincerely convinced was authentic up to that time, or at least in the beginning. Humble submission to a spiritual director and to the Church is the only remedy in such circumstances. 

In the case of the human spirit and fraud, the messages all along would have manifested the level of theological knowledge and virtue of the alleged seer. As these defects are exposed they point to the true source of the messages. If the "apparition" is to be continued this material must be rectified or even hidden and future messages must be more carefully crafted. Ultimately, however, the effort must fail, because it is always exposing the human limitations (in theology and virtue) of the alleged seer.

One final note, according to press reports, since late 1999 Ron O'Brien and his apostolate have been under police investigation for alleged fraud in the collection and use of donations. It turns out that under another name he had a previous federal conviction and imprisonment for financial crimes.

The Hosts

Speculation about the origin of these hosts is not necessary. It is enough that in accordance with the constant practice and canons of the Church no one may keep the Eucharist on their person or in their home. If a bishop were to grant permission for the Lord to be reserved in a private home, it would have to be in a suitable chapel, with a secure Tabernacle, just as in a parish Church. Further, Mass must be celebrated there and the Eucharist periodically renewed. The concept of preserving a host perpetually, except in those cases where the Church has certified a Eucharistic miracle (as at Lanciano or Orvieto) is foreign to Catholic practice, law and theology. To suggest that God the Father wants this and therefore it can be done is to overturn the whole basis of apostolic authority and to undo the promise of Jesus Christ to Peter, "whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." While mystics might be asked by God to encourage a Pope to do something specific, God Himself respects the authority He has given the Church and no authentic mystic, much less a holy man or woman, has ever urged disobedience to Church law, much less Councils and Popes.

What to do with the Hosts if you have them

When an ordained priest celebrates Mass and a Consecrated Host begins to bleed, as at Orvieto, then there is certainty that it is The Lord. If the Church verifies the miracle and preserves It indefinitely, then we know that it is from God and worship of the Host is in order, since it was consecrated by a priest.

When a host appears out of nowhere we have no idea what it is. To intentionally worship an equivocal host, one not known to be consecrated (except on the word of an unproven seer), is in all likelihood to worship a piece of  bread. This would be materially idolatry,  though formally the person thinking it to be Jesus would be excused from sin, at least until they failed to take correction from the Church on the matter. However, if there is such willful ignorance - ignoring the Church and her laws, ignoring a situation whose facts cry out "false" - such willful  ignorance would not excuse one before God.

So, if you have such an alleged "host," I urge you to take it, dissolve it in water until it disintegrates and pour the water down the sacrarium or special sink in the parish. This is in fact what the diocese of Rome is requiring in another alleged case of suddenly appearing hosts. If you are too embarrassed to do that, dig a hole in the ground and pour the water there. If it is bread no harm is done. If it is a stolen consecrated Host - stolen by the devil - then you will have shown It the respect the Church accords Hosts when they are dropped on the ground accidentally or spit up by the sick and must be disposed of. Dissolving it in water causes the Presence to cease, if It was ever there. By no means keep it in your home, contrary to Church law, theology and common sense. In fact, however, all the evidence suggests that O'Brien bought thousands of hosts from a Catholic supply company and that therefore there was nothing miraculous, or demonic, in the phenomenon of their appearing. 

Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL

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