Communion wafer that turned blood red not a miracle after all

The mystery behind the discarded communion wafer that ominously turned blood red in a St. Paul church has been solved.

When the strange event occurred at St. Augustine Church in south St. Paul this summer, many believed it to be a miracle, so the church turned it over to the archdiocese to investigate. As it turns out, the discoloration was just the reaction of a fungus, and not divine intervention.

"While the Catholic Church fully recognizes the possibility of miracles and remains open to their possibility, it does so with extreme scrutiny, investigation and care," says archdiocese spokesman Dennis McGrath in an emailed statement. "This incident was the result of natural biological causes and should not be considered in any other way."

The mystery began on a Sunday morning in June. Communion was being distributed to the St. Augustine's congregates, and a piece accidentally fell on the floor.

Because the communion had been consecrated -- and no one wants to simply toss the body of Christ in the trash can -- the communion wafer was placed in a sacred cup to dissolve.

But the next morning, church vicars discovered that the wafer had not dissolved. Instead, it looked like this:

The wafer resembled bloody tissue to the church officials.
The wafer resembled bloody tissue to the church officials.

The archdiocese sent the wafer out for an "exhaustive biological analysis," which determined it was not a miracle, says McGrath. The wafer has since been disposed of in a "manner prescribed by Church Law."

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