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Rev. Kimberly Jordan wrote:

Hi guys!

I'm a Lutheran clergy woman and was asked by a parishioner why Roman Catholic lay people aren't given the wine when they receive the Eucharist.

I responded that in some parishes they do, but (as I seem to recall from church history courses ages ago), the tradition of receiving Holy Communion under one kind of species went back centuries to the time when the clergy were the only educated people among the illiterate, lay people.

In their concern to properly honor and respect, dare I say protect?, the Body and Blood of Christ in the consecrated elements, they wanted to avoid spilling the blood, so only the celebrant consumed it. The same premise was used for the practice of placing the host directly onto the recipient's tongue. Further protection was used by placing a salver under the chin of the communicant when receiving the Eucharist.

  • Did I come remotely close to answering correctly?

If not, I certainly want to set the record straight.

Thanks in advance for your response.

In Christ's service,

The Rev. Kimberly Jordan

  { Did I correctly explain the view of why Catholics don't receive the Eucharist under both species? }

Eric replied:

HI Rev. Jordan,

Actually it has more to do with a heresy, at least as we see it, that arose that asserted that one needed to receive both the Body and the Precious Blood in order to receive the complete Jesus.

In order to quash this heresy and emphasize that all of Christ is received under either form, the Church started to restrict access to the cup to the clergy.

This allowed the heretics to be clearly seen.

Hope this helps!

Eric Ewanco

John replied:

HI Rev. Jordan,

In addition to what Eric has said, it is also important to be note that this became a tradition (small t) in the Western Rite. Eastern Catholics receive both species by intinction.

There are also practical considerations. Prior to the use of Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, only (a priest, deacon, or bishop — the ordinary ministers) could distribute Holy Communion. To give both species, you need twice as many ministers so, in consideration of time and logistics, at most Liturgies we receive under one species.

These days in our Archdiocese, most parishes offer both species at one of their Sunday liturgies, if possible but again, you need twice as many ministers, be they ordinary or extraordinary.

Finally Rev. Jordan, as a former Baptist/Pentecostal Minister, I invite you to further investigate the truth about Christ's Church founded on Peter.

Like many other former Ministers of Post-Reformation Ecclesial Communities, I'll be waiting to greet you on this side of Tiber ;>)

In the mean time, may God richly bless you in your pursuit to serve Him in Spirit and Truth.

Under His Mercy,

John DiMascio

Eric followed-up:

Good point.

But actually, for optimal flow, if not done by intinction, you need three times as many (two Cups for each station of the Body), as it takes twice as long to receive from the Cup as to receive the Body.


John followed-up:

Touché Eric! but since intinction is mostly prevalent in Eastern Rite parishes, the situation is slightly different.

Eastern Rite parishes in the West are smaller and usually have fewer liturgies on weekly basis. The congregants are use to longer liturgies to begin with and at the sake of stereotyping,
Eastern Catholics are culturally accustomed to a slower pace of life so they typically they are
not in a rush.


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