Expert Answer Forum

Self-Communicating QUESTION from Charles Gill February 4, 1999
Is it allowable for anyone (other than priests and deacons) to take the body and blood from the altar and give it to themselves? The practice at our church is for the priest and Eucharistic ministers to leave the altar to begin distributing communion to the congregation while the altar servers approach the altar and drink from the chalice themselves. ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on February 4, 1999
Dear Charles, In it's authoritative document titled Inaestimabile Donum issued April 3, 1980, the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship specifically addresses the subject of self-communication; Communion is a gift of the Lord, given to the faithful through the minister appointed for the purpose. It is not permitted that the faithful should themselves pick up the consecrated bread and the sacred chalice; still less that they should hand them from one to another. (Inaestimabile Donum, 9) The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops echoed this and have issued a very clear ruling on this matter as well; The chalice may never be left on the alter or another place to be picked up by the communicant for self-communication (except in the case of concelebrating bishops or priests), nor may the chalice be passed from one communicant to another. There shall always be a minister of the cup. (This Holy and Living Sacrifice: Directory for the Celebration and Reception of Communion Under Both Kinds. Approved by the Holy See in 1984) I hope this helps you. In Christ, John Miskell Back to Index Page

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