I would appreciate it if other bloggers would link to this so that we can get a really large response.
Every once in a while I run into someone who doesn’t know about the Eucharistic fast before reception of Holy Communion.
We have to be properly disposed to receive the Eucharist. We have a spiritual preparation, in examining our consciences and making sure that we are in the state of grace. We have a physical preparation, which involves fasting.
For the Latin Church, the Code of Canon Law states that
“One who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain from any food or drink, with the exception of water and medicine, for at least the period of one hour before Holy Communion.”
Note: The law says before Communion, not before the beginning of Mass. So, one hour isn’t very long.
In 1964 Pope Paul VI reduced the length of the fast to one hour. Ven. Pius XII reduced the fast to 3 hours in 1957. Before that, people were to fast from Midnight before Mass.
Our current law about fasting before Communion admits exceptions.
When a priest celebrates more than one Mass on the same day he is only bound to the one-hour fast before his first Mass.
Second, those who are elderly (considered to be 60 years of age) or who are sick (as well as the caretakers of people who are sick) can receive Communion even if a full hour fast has not been fulfilled. This is helpful for people whose food comes on a schedule they cannot control.
Some think that the one hour fast before Communion is not enough and that the Church’s law should be change to require a longer fast.
Of course people can fast longer if they want to, but for now the law says one hour.
Let’s have a poll. Please pick the best response and add your reasons in the combox, if you are registered here.
By coincidence, Dr. Ed Peters is – right now – (5:30 EDT) on Relevant Radio with Drew Mariani talking about this very issue!
Check out Dr. Ed Peters page about this issue. HERE