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Communion under Both Kinds

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Communion under one kind is the reception of the Sacrament of the Eucharist under the species or appearance of bread alone, or of wine alone, Communion under two or both kinds, the distinct reception under the two or both species, sub utraque specie, at the same time. In the present article we shall treat the subject under the following heads:

I. Catholic Doctrine and Modern Discipline;
II. History of Disciplinary Variations;
III. Theological Speculation.

Catholic doctrine and modern discipline

(1) Under this head the following points are to be noted: (a) In reference to the Eucharist as a sacrifice, the communion, under both kinds, of the celebrating priest belongs at least to the integrity, and, according to some theologians, to the essence, of the sacrificial rite, and may not therefore be omitted without violating the sacrificial precept of Christ: "Do this for a commemoration of me" (Luke 22:19). This is taught implicitly by the Council of Trent (Sess. XXI, c. i; XXII, c. i). (b) There is no Divine precept binding the laity or non-celebrating priests to receive the sacrament under both kinds (Trent, sess. XXI, c. i.) (c) By reason of the hypostatic union and of the indivisibility of His glorified humanity, Christ is really present and is received whole and entire, body and blood, soul and Divinity, under either species alone; nor, as regards the fruits of the sacrament, is the communicant under one kind deprived of any grace necessary for salvation (Trent, Sess. XXI, c., iii). (d) In reference to the sacraments generally, apart from their substance, salva eorum substantia, i.e. apart from what has been strictly determined by Divine institution or precept, the Church has authority to determine or modify the rites and usages employed in their administration, according as she judges it expedient for the greater profit of the recipients or the better protections of the sacraments themselves against irreverence. Hence "although the usage of Communion under two kinds was not infrequent in the early ages [ab initio] of the Christian religion, yet, the custom in this respect having changed almost universally [latissime] in the course of time, holy mother the Church, mindful of her authority in the administration of the Sacraments, and influenced by weighty and just reasons, has approved the custom of communicating under one kind, and decreed it to have the force of a law, which may not be set aside or changed but by the Church's own authority" (Trent, Sess. XXI, c. ii). Not only, therefore, is Communion under both kinds not obligatory on the faithful, but the chalice is strictly forbidden by ecclesiastical law to any but the celebrating priest. These decrees of the Council of Trent were directed against the Reformers of the sixteenth century, who, on the strength of John 6:54, Matthew 26:27, and Luke 22:17-19, enforced in most cases by a denial of the Real Presence and of the Sacrifice of the Mass, maintained the existence of a Divine precept obliging the faithful to receive under both kinds, and denounced the Catholic practice of withholding the cup from the laity as a sacrilegious mutilation of the sacrament. A century earlier the Hussites, particularly the party of the Calixtines, had asserted the same doctrine, without denying, however, the Real Presence or the Sacrifice of the Mass, and on the strength principally of John 6:54; and the Council of Constance in its thirteenth session (1415) had already condemned their position and affirmed the binding force of the existing discipline in terms practically identical with those of Trent (see decree approved by Martin V, 1418, in Denzinger, Enchiridion, n. 585). It is to be observed that neither council introduced any new legislation on the subject; both were content with declaring that the existing custom had already acquired the force of law. A few privileged exceptions to the law and a few instances of express dispensation, occurring later, will be noticed below (II).

(2) Regarding the merits of the Utraquist controversy, if we assume the doctrinal points involved — viz. the absence of a Divine precept imposing Communion under both kinds, the integral presence and reception of Christ under either species, and the discretionary power of the Church over everything connected with the sacraments that is not divinely determined the question of giving or refusing the chalice to the laity becomes purely practical and disciplinary, and is to be decided by a reference to the two fold purpose to be attained, of safeguarding the reverence due to this most august sacrament and of facilitating and encouraging its frequent and fervent reception. Nor can it be doubted that the modern Catholic discipline best secures these ends. The danger of spilling the Precious Blood and of other forms of irreverence; the inconvenience and delay in administering the chalice to large numbers — the difficulty of reservation for Communion outside of Mass: the not unreasonable objection on hygienic and other grounds, to promiscuous drinking from the same chalice, which of itself alone would act as a strong deterrent to frequent Communion in the case of a great many otherwise well-disposed people; these and similar "weighty and just reasons" against the Utraquist practice are more than sufficient to justify the Church in forbidding it. Of the doctrinal points mentioned above, the only one that need be discussed here is the question of the existence or non-existence of a Divine precept imposing Communion sub utraque. Of the texts brought forward by Utraquists in proof of such a precept, the command, "Drink ye all of this" (Matthew 26:27), and its equivalent in St. Luke (xxii, 17, i.e. supposing the reference here to be to the Eucharistic and not to the paschal cup), cannot fairly be held to apply to any but those present those on the occasion, and to them only for that particular occasion. Were one to insist that Christ's action in administering Holy Communion under both kinds to the Apostles at the Last Supper was intended to lay down a law for all future recipients, he should for the same reason insist that several other temporary and accidental circumstances connected with the first celebration of the Eucharist (e.g. the preceding paschal rites, the use of unleavened bread, the taking of the Sacred Species by the recipients themselves) were likewise intended to be obligatory for all future celebrations. The institution under both kinds, or the separate consecration of the bread and wine, belongs essentially, in Catholic opinion, to the sacrificial, as distinct from the sacramental, character of the Eucharist; and when Christ in the words "Do this for a commemoration of me" (Luke 22:19), gave to the Apostles both the command and the power to offer the Eucharistic sacrifice, they understood Him merely to impose upon them and their successors in the priesthood the obligation of sacrificing sub utraque. This obligation the Church has rigorously observed.

In John 6:54, Christ says: "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you" but in verses 52 and 58 he attributes life eternal to the eating of "this bread" (which is "my flesh for the life of the world", without mention of the drinking of His blood: "if anyone eat of this bread he shall live forever". Now the Utraquist interpretation would suppose that in verse 54 Christ meant to emphasize the distinction between the mode of reception "by eating" and the mode of reception "by drinking", and to include both modes distinctly in the precept He imposes. But such literalism, extravagant in any connection, would result in this case in putting verse 54 in opposition to 52 and 58, interpreted in the same rigid way. From which we may infer that whatever special significance attached to the form of expression employed in verse 54, Christ did not have recourse to that form for the purpose of promulgating a law of Communion sub utraque. The twofold expression is employed by Christ in order to heighten the realism of the promise — to emphasize more vividly the reality of the Eucharistic presence, and to convey the idea that His Body and Blood were to be the perfect spiritual aliment, the food and drink, of the faithful. In the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist this meaning is fully verified. Christ is really and integrally received under either kind; and from the sacramental point of view it is altogether immaterial whether this perfect reception takes place after the analogy in the natural order of solid or of liquid food alone, or after the analogy of both combined (cf. III below). In 1 Corinthians 11:28, to which Utraquists sometimes appeal, St. Paul is concerned with the preparation required for a worthy reception of the Eucharist. His mention of both species, "the bread and chalice", is merely incidental, and implies nothing more than the bare fact that Communion under both kinds was the prevailing usage in Apostolic times. From the verse immediately preceding (27) a difficulty might be raised against the dogmatic presuppositions of the great majority of Utraquists, and an argument advanced in proof of the Catholic doctrine of the integral presence and reception of Christ under either species. "Whosoever", says the Apostle, "shall eat this bread or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord" i.e. whoever receives either unworthily is guilty of both. But it is unnecessary to insist on this argument in defence of the Catholic position. We are justified in concluding that the N.T. contains no proof of the existence of a Divine precept binding the faithful to Communicate under both kinds. It will appear, further, from the following historical survey, that the Church has never recognized the existence of such a precept.

History of disciplinary variations

From the first to the twelfth century

It may be stated as a general fact, that down to the twelfth century, in the West as well as in the East, public Communion in the churches was ordinarily administered and received under both kinds. That such was the practice in Apostolic times is implied in 1 Corinthians 11:28 (see above), nor does the abbreviated reference to the "breaking of bread" in the Acts of the Apostles (ii, 46) prove anything to the contrary. The witness to the same effect for the sub-Apostolic and subsequent ages are too numerous, and the fact itself too clearly beyond dispute, to require that the evidence should be cited here. But side by side with the regular liturgical usage of Communion sub utraque, there existed from the earlist times the custom of communicating in certain cases under one kind alone. This custom is exemplified (1) in the not infrequent practice of private domestic Communion, portion of the Eucharistic bread being brought by the faithful to their homes and there reserved for this purpose; (2) in the Communion of the sick, which was usually administered under the species of bread alone; (3) in the Communion of children which was usually given, even in the churches, under the species of wine alone, but sometimes under the species of bread alone; (4) in the Communion under the species of bread alone at the Mass of the Presanctified, and as an optional practice, in some churches on ordinary occasions. To these examples may be added (5) the practice of the intinctio panis, i.e. the dipping of the consecrated bread in the Precious Blood and its administration per modum cibi. We will notice briefly the history of each of these divergent practices.

(1) During the third century, in Africa at least, as we learn from Tertullian and St. Cyprian, the practice on the part of the faithful of bringing to their homes and reserving for private Communion a portion of the Eucharistic bread, would appear to have been universal. Tertullian refers to this private domestic Communion as a commonplace in Christian life, and makes it the basis of an argument, addressed to his wife against second marriage with an infidel in case of his own death: "Non sciet maritus quid secreto ante omnem cibum gustes et si sciverit esse panem, non illum credet esse qui dicitur?" (Ad Uxor. c. v, P.L. I, 1296). There can be question here only of the species of bread, and the same is true of the two stories told by St. Cyprian: the one of a man who before Communion, had attended an idolatrous function, and on retiring from the altar and opening his hand in which he had taken and carried the Sacred Species, found nothing in it but ashes; the other of a woman who "cum arcam suam, in qua Domini sanctum fuit, manibus indignis tentasset aperire igne inde surgente deterrita est" (De Lapsis 26). This custom owed its origin most probably to the dangers and uncertainties to which Christians were subject in times of persecution, but we have it on the authority of St. Basil (Ep. xciii, P.G., XXXII, 485) that in the fourth century, when the persecutions had ceased, it continued to be a general practice in Alexandria and Egypt; and on the authority of St. Jerome (Ep. xlviii, 15, P.L. XXII, 506) that it still existed at Rome towards the end of same century. It is impossible to say at what precise period the practice disappeared. The many obvious objections against it would seem to have led to its abolition in the West without the need of formal legislation. The third canon attributed to the Council of Saragossa (380) and the fourteenth canon of the Council of Toledo (400), excommunicating those who do not consume in the church the Eucharist received from the priest (Hefele, Conciliengesch., I, 744; II, 79), were directed against the Priscillianists (who refused to consume any portion of the Eucharistic bread in the church), and do not seem to have been intended to prohibit the practice of reserving a portion for private Communion at home. In the East the practice continued long after its disappearance in the West, and in the eighth century the faithful were able to avail themselves of it as a means of avoiding association with the Iconoclastic heretics (Pargoire, L'Église byzantine, Paris, 1905, p. 339 sq.). It had already been adopted by the anchorites, as St. Basil (loc. cit.) tells us, and continued to be a feature of anchoretic life as late as the ninth century (see Theodore Studita (d. 826), Ep. i, 57, ii, 209, in P.G. XCIX, 1115, 1661).

(2) That Communion of the sick under the species of bread alone was the ordinary usage at Alexandria in the middle of the third century is proved by the account of the death-bed Communion of the old man Serapion as told by Eusebius (Church History VI.44), on the authority of Dionysius of Alexandria (d. 264). It is recorded of St. Basil that he received Holy Communion several times on the day of his death, and under the species of bread alone, as may be inferred from the biographer's words (Vita Basilii, iv, P.G. XXIX, 315). We have it on the authority of Paulinus, secretary and biographer of St. Ambrose, that the saint on his death bed received from St. Honoratus of Vercelli "Domini corpus, quo accepto, ubi glutivit, emisit spiritum, bonum viaticum secum ferens" (Vita Ambr., 47, P.L., XIV, 43). These testimonies are sufficient to establish the fact that, in the early centuries, reservation of the Eucharist for the sick and dying, of which the Council of Nicaea (325) speaks (can. xiii) as "the ancient and canonical rule", was usual under one kind. The reservation of the species of wine for use as the Viaticum would have involved so many practical difficulties that, in the absence of clear evidence on the subject, we may feel sure that it was never the general practice. We are told by St. Justin Martyr (First Apology 67) that on Sundays, after the celebration of the Sacrifice, the Eucharistic elements were received by all present and carried by the deacons to those absent. But this would have been possible only in small and compact communities, and that it was not a general custom and did not long survive may be inferred from the fact that no subsequent mention of it is to be found. St. Jerome (Ep. cxxv, 20, P.L., XXII, 1085) speaks of St. Exuperitus of Toulouse, "qui corpus Domini canistro vimineo, sanguinem portat in vitro", but this example of a private devotional practice, which is also exceptional in its way, throws no light on the usage of communion for the sick. It is recorded in the life of St. Mary of Egypt (21 sq., P.L. LXXIII, 686) that the Abbot Zosimos brought Communion under both kinds to her solitary retreat in the desert, and in later times there are several examples of dying persons communicating sub utraque. But everything leads us to suppose that such Communions, as a rule, were administered in connection with Mass, celebrated in the house of the sick person or in the immediate vicinity and this supposition is strongly confirmed by the well-known fact that the sick were sometimes carried to the church for the purpose of receiving both the Eucharist and Extreme Unction (see Chardon, Hist. Du Sacrem. de l'Eucharistie, c. v, Migne, Theol. Cursus Completus, XX, 282). It is to be noted, finally, that the sick who could not consume the Host were allowed to receive under the species of wine alone (Council of Toledo, 675, can. ii, Mansi, XI, 143-4).

(3) It was the practice in the Early Church to give the Holy Eucharist to children even before they attained the use of reason. It is implied by St. Cyprian (De Lapsis 25) that the chalice alone was offered to them; and St. Augustine, in his incidental references to child Communion, speaks of it as administered under either species (Ep. ccxvii, 5, P.L. XXXIII, 984 sq.), or under the species of wine alone (Opus Imp., II, 30, P.L., XLV, 1154). St. Paulinus of Nola, speaking of newly-baptized children, states that the priest "cruda salutiteris imbuit ora cibis" (Ep. xxxii, 5, P.L., LXI, 333), which is applicable only to the species of wine. In the East also, in some churches at least, children, especially suckling infants, communicated under the species of wine alone (see Dom Martene, De Antiq. Eccl. Ritibus, I, xiv, Gasparri, Tract. canon. SS. Eucharista, II, n. 1121). There are examples, on the other hand, both in the Western and Eastern Churches, of Communion administered to children under the species of bread alone. Thus the Council of Mâcon (586) decreed that the fragments of consecrated bread remaining over after the Sunday communion were to be consumed by children (innocentes) brought to the church for that purpose on the following Wednesday or Friday (Labbe-Cossart VI, 675); and Evagrius (d. 594) tells us that a similar custom existed at Constantinople from ancient times (Hist. Eccl., IV, 36, P.G., LXXXVI. 2769).

(4) The Mass of the Presanctified, in which the essence of the sacrifice as such is wanting, admits of Communion only under the species of bread. The custom of celebrating in this manner was introduced in the East by the Council of Laodicea in the fourth century (can. xlix) and confirmed by the Second Council in Trullo in 692 (Hefele, op. cit., I, 772). It was the rule for all fast days during Lent, and the faithful were in the habit of receiving at it (Pargoire, op. cit, p. 341 sq.). This custom is still maintained in the East (Gasparri, op. cit., n. 68). In the West the Mass of the Presanctified, celebrated only on Good Friday, is mentioned in the Gelasian Sacramentary (P. L, LXXIV, 1105) and in later sources, and in the beginning the faithful used to communicate at it. Apart from the Class of the Presanctified the faithful were sometimes allowed to receive under the species of bread alone, even at the public Communion in the church. From an incident recorded by Sozomen (H.E., VIII, v, P.L., LXVII, 1528 sq.) as having occurred at Constantinople in the time of St. John Chrysostom, it would seem to follow that the reception of the consecrated bread alone was sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the then existing discipline. The point of the story is, that the unconverted wife of a converted Macedonian heretic, being compelled by her husband to communicate in the Catholic Church, secretly substituted at the moment of reception a piece of ordinary bread, which her servant had brought for the purpose, but was balked in her deceitful design by a miracle, which petrified the bread with the marks of her teeth upon it. In the West, as is clear from St. Leo the Great (Serm. xlii, 5, P.L., LIV, 279 sq.), the Manichæans at Rome, towards the middle of the fifth century, sometimes succeeded in communicating fraudulently in the Catholic Church: "ore indigno corpus Christi accipiunt, sanguinem autem redemptionis nostrae haurire omnino declinant". This sacrilega simulatio on the part of the heretics would have been impossible, unless it was customary at the time for at least some of the faithful to receive under one kind alone. That those detected in this simulatio are ordered by St. Leo to be excluded altogether from Communion, implies no reprobation on the merits of Communion under one kind; and the same is true of the decree attributed by Gratian to Pope Gelasius, "aut integra sacramenta percipiant, aut ab integris arceantur" (De Consec., D. II, c. xii, P.L., CLXXXVII, 1736). In the monastic rule attributed to St. Columbanus (d. 615) it is prescribed that novices and those not properly instructed "ad calicem non accedant" (P.L., LXXX, 220). This also seems to imply the usage in some cases of Communion under one kind; and, as a further instance of divergence in this direction from Communion strictly sub utraque, may be mentioned the practice, introduced about this time, of substituting for consecrated wine, in the Communion of the faithful, ordinary wine into which a few drops of the consecrated wine had been poured. According to the "Ordo Romanus Primus", which in its present form dates from the ninth century, this usage was followed at the pontifical Mass in Rome (see Mabillon, P.L., LXXVIII, 875, 882, 903). It was adopted also in several other churches (Dom Martène, op. cit., I, ix). Some theologians of the period held with Amalarius of Metz; (d. 837) (De Eccl. off., I, 15, P.L., CV, 1032) that in this case the common wine received a certain consecration by the infusion of the consecrated drops; but the majority, including St. Bernard (Ep. lxix, 2, P.L., CLXXXII, 181), denied that there was any consecration in the proper sense, or that the reception of this chalice was strictly speaking the reception of the Precious Blood.

(5) The practice of the intinctio Panis, mentioned above, which is the last disciplinary variation to be noticed during this period, was already forbidden by the Council of Braga in 675 (Mansi, XI, 155), but, as from the "Micrologus" (xix, P.L., CLI, 989 sq.), was reintroduced in the eleventh century. It was condemned once more by the Council of Clermont (1095) under the presidency of Urban II, but with the limitation "nisi per necessitatem et per cautelam" (Mansi, XX, 818). The exception "per cautelam" allows the intinctio when it might be necessary as a precaution against the spilling of the Precious Blood, but the later prohibition of Paschal II (Ep. 535, P.L. CLXIII, 442) makes an exception only in "parvulis ac omnino infirmis qui panem absorbere non possunt". Notwithstanding these prohibitions the practice survived in many places, as we learn from Robert Pulleyn (d. 1146; Sent. VIII, iii, P.L., CLXXXVI, 964), who condemns it. Its prohibition is renewed as late as 1175 by a Council of London or Westminster (Hefele, op. cit., v, 688). There is no evidence of the intinctio in the East during the first ten centuries, but its existence in the eleventh century is one of the grounds of reproach advanced by Cardinal Humbert (d. 1061) against the Greeks. (Adv. Grec. calumnias, 33, B.L., CXLII, 967 sq.). According to Dom Martène (d. 1739) the practice still existed in the East in his own time (op. cit., I, 13); while the custom of pouring some of the Precious Blood on the consecrated bread, which was then dried by heating and reserved during a whole year for the Communion of the sick, may be considered as a kind of intinctio. This latter custom was prohibited by Benedict XIV for the Italo-Greeks in 1752, but the usage, where it existed among them, of receiving the Host on a spoon with some drops of the Precious Blood, was allowed to be retained (Gasparri, op. cit., II, 1177).

It is abundantly clear from this brief survey of disciplinary variations during the first twelve centuries that the Church never regarded Communion under both kinds as a matter of Divine precept.

Since the twelfth century

The final suppression of intinctio was followed in the thirteenth century by the gradual abolition for the laity of Communion under the species of wine. The desuetude of the chalice was not yet universal in St. Thomas' time (d. 1274): "provide in quibusdam ecclesiis observatur", he says "ut populo sanguis sumendus non detur, sed solum a sacerdote sumatur" (Summa, III, Q. lxxx, a. 12). The Council of Lambeth (1281) directs that wine is to be received by the priest alone, and non-consecrated wine is to be received by the faithful (Mansi, XXIV, 405). It is impossible to say exactly when the new custom became universal or when, by the Church's approval, it acquired the force of law. But such was already the case long the outbreak of the Hussite disturbances, as is clear from the decree of the Council of Constance (see I above). The Council of Basle granted (1433) the use of the chalice to the Calixtines of Bohemia under certain conditions, the chief of which was acknowledgment of Christ's integral presence under either kind. This concession, which had never been approved by any pope, was positively revoked in 1462 by the Nuncio Fantini on the order of Pius II. The Council of Trent while defining the points already mentioned, referred to the pope the decision of the question whether the urgent petition of the German emperor to have the use of the chalice allowed in his dominions be granted; and in 1564 Pius IV authorized some German bishops to permit it in their dioceses, provided certain conditions were fulfilled. But, owing to the inconveniences that were found to result, this concession was withdrawn in the following year. Benedict XIV states (De Missae Sacrif. II, xxii. n. 32) that in his time the kings of France had the privilege of communicating sub utraque at their coronation and on their death-bed. In the eighteenth century the deacon and subdeacon officiating at High Mass in the Church of Saint-Denis, Paris, on Sundays and solemn feasts, and at Cluny on all feasts of obligation, were allowed to receive sub utraque (Benedict XIV, loc. cit.) The only surviving example of this privilege is in the case of the deacon and subdeacon officiating in the solemn Mass of the pope.

Theological speculation

The definition of the Council of Trent, to the effect that the communicant under one kind is deprived of no grace necessary for salvation (see I), was intended merely to negate the Utraquist contention, and is not to be understood as implying that Communion under one kind involves incompleteness of sacramental causality or a curtailment of sacramental grace. The council had no thought of deciding this point, which had been held to be an open question by theologians since the twelfth century and has continued to be treated as such down to our own day. Without attempting to sketch the history of the discussion, we will state here very briefly the ultimate form which the question has assumed and the opposing answers that have been given.

It is a recognized principle in sacramental theology that the sacraments cause what they signify, and the present discussion turns upon the interpretation of this principle in reference to the Holy Eucharist. Does the principle mean, not merely that the external rites are intended to signify, in a sufficiently distinctive way, the special graces they were instituted to confer, but that their efficiency in the production of grace is measured by the decree of clearness (where decrees are admissible) with which the sacramental signification is expressed? In the Eucharist grace is symbolized as spiritual refection or aliment, after the analogy of corporal nourishment; and this signification is admittedly expressed with greater clearness in the distinct reception of both species than in Communion in one kind. Are we to hold, therefore, that Communion sub utraque, being a more perfect symbol of a complete refection, confers a fuller degree of sacramental grace than Communion under one kind, or in other words, that by Divine institution there is a twofold causality or two distinct lines of causality in the Eucharist, corresponding to the two modes of reception, and that both lines of causality are required for the complete production of its fruits? A minority of the great theologians have answered this question in the affirmative, e.g. Vasquez (in III, Q. lxxx, a.12, disp. ccxv, c.ii), De Lugo (De Sac Euch. disp. xii, iii, 68 sq.), the Salmanticenses (De. Euch. Sac., disp. x, 52 sq.) Arguing on the lines indicated these theologians hold that per se Communion under both kinds confers more grace than Communion under one kind, and admit that the modern discipline of the Church withdraws this opportunity of more abundant grace from the faithful. But in doing so it inflicts they maintain, no notable spiritual privation, withholding no grace that is even remotely necessary for salvation; while, indirectly, the many advantages resulting from this discipline, particularly the increased reverence for the sacrament which it secures and the additional opportunities for frequent Communion which it provides, more than make up for whatever loss is involved. The majority of the theologians, however, rightly deny that Communion under one kind involves per se any loss or curtailment of sacramental grace. St. Thomas (III, Q. lxxx, a. 12, ad 3) and St. Bonaventure (In Sent. IV, XI, punct. ii, a. 1, q. 2) may fairly be claimed for this view, which is defended by Cajetan (In III, q. lxxx, a. 12, II), Dominicus Soto (In Sent. IV, XII, q. i.a. 12, II), Bellarmine (De Sac. Euch., IV, 33), Francisco Suárez (In III, q. lxxix, a. 8, disp. lxiii, VI, 8, sq.), Sylvius (In III, q. lxxx, a. 12, q. 2), Gonet (De Sac. Euch. disp. viii, 4, 11, 69), and a host of later writers. While admitting that the sacraments cause what they signify, these theologians deny that the extent of their causality is dependent on the mode or degree of perfection in which this signification is realized, or that there is any ground for distinguishing a twofold causality in the Eucharist depending on the twofold manner of reception. There is all the more reason for denying this in the case of the Holy Eucharist, since both the Body and Blood of Christ are really present and the complete refection intended by Christ are really received, under either species alone; and since, moreover, in the production of whatever grace is given, in addition to the grace of mere presence the more important cause is Christ Himself in His sacred humanity personally present in the recipient. Must we hold that Christ limited the grace-giving efficacy of His invisible presence so as to make it dependent on the accidental mode in which that presence is visibly symbolized rather than on the presence itself? Or that He curtailed the spiritually nutritive effects of what is de facto complete as an aliment and, as such, is sufficiently symbolized by either species, merely because the physical analogy in the manner of reception is not reproduced as literally and completely as it might be? Even in the natural order we do not always insist on the distinction between eating and drinking in reference to our bodily refection, and in the spiritual and supernatural sphere, where there is question of the soul's refection by Divine grace, it is surely an overstraining of the law of sacramental symbolism to urge that distinction as insistently as do theologians of the first opinion. Such briefly is the line of argument by which the common opinion is supported. It only remains to add that in this opinion the reception of the chalice may augment, per accidens, the grace of the sacrament, by securing a longer continuance of the species and thereby of the Real Presence, and by helping to prolong or renew the fervent dispositions of the recipient.

About this page

APA citation. Toner, P. (1908). Communion under Both Kinds. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Toner, Patrick. "Communion under Both Kinds." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Joseph P. Thomas.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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