“Ask a Priest: Is Receiving Communion Under Both Species OK?”

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Q: Here in America what is the Catholic Church’s teaching on receiving Communion under both species? In the Sacramentary it says the faithful can receive Communion under both species only for special occasions such as first holy Communion, weddings and confirmation. More than a few parishes in my dioceses on Sundays and even at daily Mass offer Communion under both species. I have been told that this is an abuse of power, and I shouldn’t receive the Precious Blood. Just for the record, I totally understand that when we receive the Host at Mass we receive the body and blood of Jesus. I have never seen so much confusion in the Catholic Church as there is today -D.E.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: As the U.S. bishops’ website points out, it is up to a diocesan bishop to decide on distribution under both species.

No. 24 says: “The General Instruction then indicates that the Diocesan Bishop may lay down norms for the distribution of Communion under both kinds for his own diocese, which must be observed…. The Diocesan Bishop also has the faculty to allow Communion under both kinds, whenever it seems appropriate to the Priest to whom charge of a given community has been entrusted as [its] own pastor, provided that the faithful have been well instructed and there is no danger of the profanation of the Sacrament or that the rite would be difficult to carry out on account of the number of participants or for some other reason.”

The Roman Missal points out, “Holy Communion has a fuller form as a sign when it takes place under both kinds.”

So distribution under both species is OK if the bishop allows it. I hope this helps.

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