Excerpted from "The Catholic Encyclopedia", 1913.
Wine is one of the two elements absolutely necessary for the sacrifice of the Eucharist. For valid and licit consecration vinum de vite,
i.e. the pure juice of the grape naturally and properly fermented, is
to be used. Wine made out of raisins, provided that from its colour and
taste it may be judged to be pure, may be used. It may be white or red, weak or strong, sweet or dry.
Since the validity of the Holy Sacrifice, and the lawfulness of its
celebration, require absolutely genuine wine, it becomes the serious
obligation of the celebrant to procure only pure wines. And since wines
are frequently so adulterated as to escape minute chemical analysis, it
may be taken for granted that the safest way of procuring pure wine is
to buy it not at second hand, but directly from a manufacturer who
understands and conscientiously respects the great responsibility
involved in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice.
If the wine is
changed into vinegar, or is become putrid or corrupted, if it was
pressed from grapes that were not fully ripe, or if it is mixed with
such a quality of water that it can hardly be called wine, its use is
forbidden. If the wine begins
to turn into vinegar, or to become putrid, or is the unfermented juice
is pressed from the grape, it would be a grievous offence to use it, but
it is considered valid matter.
To conserve weak and feeble
wines, and in order to keep them from souring or spoiling during
transportation, a small quantity of spirits of wine (grape brandy or
alcohol) may be added, provided the following conditions are observed
(1) The added spirit (alcohol) must have been distilled from the grape (ex genimime vitis);
(2) the quantity of alcohol added, together with that which the wine
contained naturally after fermentation, must not exceed eighteen per
cent of the whole; (3) the addition must be made during the process of
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