Two Peruvian priests and the president of the Peruvian Bishops’ Conference responded to “visionary” Erica Serrano, who encouraged people to use a consecrated host to perform purification rituals and to ward off toxic people during the broadcast of the video podcast “Mujeres de la PM” (“Women of the PM”), hosted by actresses Rebeca Escribens, Katia Condos, Gianella Neyra, and Almendra Gomelsky.

“You have to immerse it, and put a host, holy water, the same cup, just like that. You submerge the photo of the person, you pray to that person, you go to church: It’s your sacrifice, and you ask him for the host; if he doesn't give it to you in your hand, well, you remove it [from your mouth],” Serrano said in the Dec. 27 broadcast.

“But I’m going to tell you, try to do it not on Sunday but go on Saturday because on Sunday one has to receive what it should be,” added Serrano, who presents herself as a “visionary” on social media.

Serrano’s advice sparked outrage in a country where, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics of Peru, “76.0% of the population aged 12 and over profess the Catholic religion.”

The video, titled “Who will be the next president of Peru? Predictions 2024 — Women of the PM,” remains on YouTube but the segment promoting a sacrilege of the Eucharist was recently removed by the producers due to public outcry.

After the excerpt of that video podcast circulated on social media, Father Luis Gaspar, who holds a doctorate in canon law, warned on X on Jan. 5 that “they’re promoting sacrilege, inducing people to go to Mass, take the consecrated host in their hands [to take it home to do the ritual].”

“She even advises that if the priest gives it to you [on the tongue], then you take it out [and keep it],” Gaspar added.

He also pointed out that the Code of Canon Law, the norm that regulates the universal Church, establishes in Canon 1382 § 1 that whoever “throws away the consecrated species or, for a sacrilegious purpose, takes them away or keeps them, incurs a ‘latae sententiae’ excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.” 

Father César Valdivia, pastor of Divine Child Parish in Lima, Peru, warned in a Jan. 5 Facebook post that Serrano “invites the audience to steal the Eucharist from holy Mass to use it in this kind of witchcraft.”

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“This is a grave mortal sin: using holy Communion to use it in witchcraft is a sacrilege. The Eucharist is the real presence of the body and blood of Christ. Encouraging people to go to Mass and pretend to take Communion and then bring the host to these rites is deceitful and repulsive,” he said.

“It’s true, we priests have always known that there are people who do this, wizards and witches, but always clandestinely and in secret. It’s the first time that, from what I can see, this [abuse] is encouraged in public,” the priest lamented.

Valdivia also pointed out that “there are no good, pious, white witches or wizards compatible with the faith. … Notice how this lady even says that you have to steal the host but not on Sunday, because on Sunday you take Communion, like, a good Catholic? People get confused by that. It’s piety or goodness on a hook to believe that everything else will be fine. This is a deception.”

“Every sorcerer or witch, white, black, brown, or fuchsia, works with their witchcraft against God, whether she herself knows it or not. She induces us into a mortal sin and opens the doors to the action of the devil in our lives,” the priest explained.

Valdivia stressed that “as Catholics we cannot accept this serious offense against Christ and our faith. Nor can we allow them in our own life practices. The Eucharist is our most precious treasure. Witchcraft cuts us off from the love and tenderness of God in our lives.”

In response to Serrano’s sacrilegious recommendations, the president of the Peruvian Bishops’ Conference (CEC), Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos, called on all priests “to defend the Eucharist and teach their faithful to defend it from all sacrilegious acts.” ​

In a Jan. 6 statement, the president of the CEC called this incitement to commit sacrilege “deplorable and reprehensible” by “using the Blessed Sacrament in superstitious rituals that contradict and relativize the experience of faith and commitment to the Christian life.” 

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Cabrejos reiterated that “the Church believes, affirms, and teaches” that in the Eucharist “the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ are truly, really, and substantially contained.”

By taking Communion, people receive “Christ Our Lord himself” and therefore the Eucharist “is what is most sacred to the Church,” the prelate emphasized.

After reminding the faithful that desecrating the Eucharist incurs automatic excommunication, Cabrejos told the faithful to “not be surprised by ill-intentioned people who use the sacred to promote superstitious and sacrilegious rituals, and at the same time I call on you to join together in prayer, to make reparation, to be vigilant, and to promote the love of Christ in the Eucharist.”

Eduardo Berdejo and David Ramos contributed to this story.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.