From a reader, comes a question I have answered quite a few times, but which bears repetitio.
Are there any circumstances in which one can receive Communion more than once a day? I spent Christmas at Clear Creek Abbey in OK and I noticed that some of the locals received Communion at midnight Mass and then again at one of the other Masses. I really wanted to receive again but I chose not to just in case.
Also, I think some of the Altar servers at my (FSSP) parish might serve at more than one Mass on weekdays and receive communion twice.
Would this be permissible? (There are other servers available so that they wouldn’t have to serve twice)
First, there always was permission for people to receive both at Christmas Midnight Mass and again on Christmas morning. No problem there.
YES, you may receive Holy Communion at two Masses on the same day.
The 1983 Code of Canon Law says:
Can. 917 – Qui sanctissimam Eucharistiam iam recepit, potest eam iterum eadem die suscipere solummodo intra eucharisticam celebrationem cui participat, salvo praescripto Can. 921, § 2. … Someone who has already received the Most Holy Eucharist can receive it again (iterum) on the same day only within the Eucharistic celebration [i.e. Mass] in which the person participates, with due regard for the prescription of can. 921 § 2.
Can. 921 § 2 says that if a person is in danger of death, he may receive Communion even it is not in the context of Mass. That is Viaticum, however – a special case.
That iterum does not mean “again and again”, but “again one more time”.
Also, that “Eucharistic celebration” does not mean just any service involving Communion. It means Mass. That was cleared up by the Holy See in an official response to a dubium.
If a person attends or serves Holy Mass, and then for some reason attends or serves another Mass that same day, yes, Communion may be received a second time. It is not obligatory to receive. One may receive a second time. This was a change with the 1983 Code of Canon Law for the subjects of the Latin Church. So, it applies to Latin Church Catholics even if one or both of those “Eucharistic celebrations” were, say, the Divine Liturgy at the local Maronite or Ukrainian Catholic Church.
I don’t know what the Eastern Code says in this regard. I have little doubt that we will know soon after I post this.
Perhaps some practical examples of what may often happen:
1) on Holy Thursday, the Chrism Mass and the Mass of the Lord’s Supper;
2) one’s usual daily Mass and then a funeral Mass, a nuptial Mass, an ordination Mass, etc.
Presumably one could go to two “regular” daily Masses for the purpose of communicating twice in one day, and it seems, at least from the relevant canons, that this would be licit, but I can not imagine that it would be considered desirable.
Presumably you’ve thought of this already, but I doubt the issue would arise in the Eastern Churches: firstly because attendance at the Eucharistic Liturgy on a daily basis would be pretty rare in any case; secondly because of the stricter rules regarding the fast. At any rate, the CCEO says nothing about the matter.
What happened to “Do this often in My Memory”
Threehearts: Okay, I’ll play along.
I don’t know. What did happen to it?
In the olden days, receiving communion without attending mass used to be more common that it is now. In Latin America, it was common to show up at the end of daily mass to get communion.
This law seems to me to be saying, “you can only do that once”. If you want communion again, you actually have to attend the whole mass.
I don’t see this law as being much of an issue in the modern Anglosphere. By which I mean, it would be hard in a modern American / Canadian / Australian / British context to accidentally break this law.
At the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, where I attend daily Mass and where daily Mass is celebrated on every half hour from 6–9 ish, there are a few people who attend at least three Masses per day.
I usually go at one time or the next time, and the people I’m referring to are there whenever I go—whether it’s the first slot, say 6:30, or the second slot, say 7:00. They also had attended the prior Mass whenever I arrive, which I know because you can see through the wall of glass windows, AND they always stay to attend the next one when I leave.
I have just recently been wondering about this because there are several people at the Shrine who are attending AT least three Masses (who knows how many?), and by all indications are receiving communion each time. Curious.
1 Corinthians 11:25 is the reference I believe you are making. Correct me if I am wrong.
“hoc facite quotienscumque bibetis in meam commemorationem” is the Latin.
“????? ???????, ?????? ??? ?????? ??? ??? ???? ?????????” is the Greek.
Both quotienscumque and ?????? are unambiguously comparative or relative concepts requiring an objective reference; that is, neither of them refer to any kind of absolute understanding of “often” as in “frequent”. They are both clearly tied to the act of drinking, i.e. “as often AS you drink this”.
So the “memory” (commemorationem / anamnesis) is not being promoted as a frequent act in itself (though that’s surely laudable), but rather it is commanded as something which must be linked to each and every “drinking” (bibetis / pinete) without exception.
I hope that makes it more clear and not less.
Oops – the site doesn’t like my Greek font.
“touto poiete hosachis ean pinete eis tein emein anamnesin” in the first line of question marks, and
“hosachis” in the second.
Threehearts, if I may be so bold to offer my insight as to why does the Church impose limits on receiving the body and blood of our savior. The tiniest crumb of a consecrated host or the tiniest drop of the precious blood are sufficient to fill our souls with the saving grace of our Lord. More is not necessarily better- there is no more grace in a large consecrated host than there is in a small consecrated host, nor is there more grace in multiple consecrated hosts. The Holy Eucharist must always be approached with reverence, respect, faith, etc. If one is taking the Eucharist several times per day then it is possible that they will begin taking the Eucharist for granted (unfortunately too many do, even receiving once per week), or that they are receiving it for the wrong reasons. In addition to that, the Church is always celebrating Mass 24 hours per day somewhere in the world. If that isn’t “do this often in My Memory” I’m not sure what is.