Friday, February 05, 2010

Communion Under Both Kinds: Against Utraquism

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1. The Eastern Orthodox Church wrongly insists that the laity are bound to receive the Eucharist under both species.

Inconsistent Exegesis
2. If Mt 26:27; Lk 22:17 bind the laity to receive both species, then the Eucharist must include the previous paschal rites, the use of unleavened bread, etc., whereas the Church has always understood Lk 22:19 to mean that the celebrating priests, not the laity, must receive the Eucharist under both species.{1}

Eternal Life from Body of Christ
3. Christ attributes eternal life to the eating of the Body, without mentioning the drinking of the Blood, in Jn 6:58.{2}

Utraquism Not Recognized as Biblical in Early Church
4. The undivided Church never recognized any New Testament precept binding the laity to communicate under both species.{3}

Fathers of the Church
5. Patriarch St. Dionysios I the Great of Alexandria gave the Body alone to the dying old man Serapion [PG 20:629], Bishop St. Basil the Great of Caesarea received the Body alone a bunch of times on the day of his repose [PG 29:315], and Paulinus tells us that St. Honoratus of Vercelli gave the Body alone to Bishop St. Ambrose the Great of Milan on the day of his repose [PL 14:43].{4}

First Ecumenical Council
6. "The ancient and canonical rule," according to canon 13 of the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea I, was that the sick would usually communicate under one kind.{5}

Other Fathers of the Church
7. Bishop St. Cyprian the Martyr of Carthage [PL 4:484], Bishop St. Augustine the Great of Hippo [PL 45:1154], and St. Paulinus of Nola [PL 61:333] refer to children receiving the Blood alone. This occurred in some churches in the East as well. Church historian Evagrios refers to children in Constantinople receiving the Body alone [PG 86:2769].{6}

Christ's Complete Presence & Priest's Vicarious Communication
8. Christ is wholly present, Body and Blood, under the accidents of bread and under the accidents of wine, and the priest communicates under both species on behalf of all.{7}

Reverence for the Precious Blood & Binding and Loosing
9. It is lawful, as the Church sees fit, to allow or to withhold from the laity the precious Blood of Christ for hygienic reasons and out of reverence for the Blood, which must not be spilled.{8}

Notes & References
{1} Patrick Toner. "Communion under Both Kinds." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 5 Feb. 2010 <>.
{2} Ibid.
{3} Ibid.
{4} Ibid.
{5} Ibid.
{6} Ibid.
{7} Ibid.
{8} Ibid.

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