torsdag 6 december 2012

Communion under both kinds

Credence table by Elmar Eye
Credence table, a photo by Elmar Eye on Flickr.
It is only a few years ago that communion was almost invariably being distributed under both kinds. Two or more chalices of wine (illustration) would be consecrated, with Extraordinary Ministers to help the priest to distribute it.

Some friends of mine were complaining that, following an influenza epidemic a couple of years ago, communion is no longer distributed under both kinds in the parish.

This is an old dispute with a long history. It was an issue with the Hussites, and that was in the early fifteenth century, over a hundred years before the Reformation. There is a good theological reason why communion is given out only under the form of bread and this is discussed at length here.

In short, it is not necessary for salvation and it leads to misapprehensions about the nature of Christ's presence in the sacred elements.

The official situation is set out in Sacrosanctum Concilium, section 55.

The dogmatic principles which were laid down by the Council of Trent remaining intact [40], communion under both kinds may be granted when the bishops think fit, not only to clerics and religious, but also to the laity, in cases to be determined by the Apostolic See, as, for instance, to the newly ordained in the Mass of their sacred ordination, to the newly professed in the Mass of their religious profession, and to the newly baptized in the Mass which follows their baptism.

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