Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The Catholic Church Alone. The One True Church of Christ. Part 60.

REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada

Q. How is fasting required in the case of communion ?

A. There is an ecclesiastical precept (which St. Augustine says, was all the Church over in his time) that no communicant should either eat or drink from the midnight before. Yet St. Augustine observes, that on Maundy-Thursday, it was a custom to receive not fasting, in honor and memory of Christ's last supper. However, when the sacrament is given, by way of viaticum, in danger of death, fasting is not necessary.

Q. Is there an obligation of receiving under both kinds ?

A. There is no divine precept. There is indeed a divine precept of taking the body and blood, which is complied with under one kind alone; because, as I said before, under either kind is contained both the body and blood of Christ.

Q. Yet, methinks, the precept is divine, and that it falls upon both eating and drinking, which requires both kinds. For in the first place, the institution was such, and the Apostles received at Christ's hands in both kinds. Again, it was expressed by these words, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you, St. John vi. 54. Besides, it was the practice in the primitive ages, to receive both kinds. Again, Pope Gelasius I. who lived in the fifth century, commanded communion under both kinds.

A. It is owned, both kinds were given to the Apostles at the institution, but every circumstance at the institution was not a divine precept. As to the words," unless you eat and drink," John vi. 54, they are not to be understood of the distinct actions, but only of partaking of the body and blood: for in the same chapter, life everlasting is promised to those who eat only; " he that eats of this bread, shall live for ever," verse 59. Again, " if any one eateth me the same shall also live by me," verse 58. You see eating alone will suffice. Again, the Scripture, in many places, speaking of the holy communion, makes no mention of the cup; see St. Luke, etc., chapter xxiv. 30, 31; Acts ii. 42, 46, et chap. xx. 7. Besides, it is to be observed, that whosoever receives the body of Christ, must certainly receive his blood at the same time, since the body which he receives is a living body (for Christ can die no more, says St. Paul,) Rom. vi. 9, which cannot be without his blood: there is no taking Christ by pieces; whoever receives him, receives him wholly. So that the faithful are no ways deprived of any part of the grace of this sacrament, by receiving in one kind only: and the reason is, because the grace of this sacrament being annexed to the real presence of Christ, who is the fountain of all grace; and Christ, being as truly, and really present in one kind, as in both; consequently, he brings with him the same grace to the soul, when received in one kind, as he does when received in both. Again, many learned Protestants have acknowledged, that there is no command in Scripture, for all to receive in both kinds. See Luther in his epistle to the Bohemians. Bishop Forbes, lib. 2. de Euch. cap. i. 2. White, Bishop of Ely, in his treatise on the Sabbath, p. 97. And Bishop Montague, Orig. p. 97. But abstracting from what has been said, our adversaries have no reason to object against us, for defrauding the laity of part of the grace of the sacrament; since they deprive them of the whole, viz.: Both body and blood, as receiving neither one nor the other, but only a little bread and wine. As for the practice of the primitive ages, both kinds were commonly taken, but not always: for the ancient fathers give an account, that in time of persecution, Christians took only the consecrated bread, which they carried home with them. Also, abstemious persons, who had an aversion to wine, only received the consecrated bread. Again, infants received only the consecrated wine. Pope Gelasius, indeed, ordered both (rinds to be given, in order to detect the Manicheans, who abstained from wine, on account that they held wine to be a liquor of the devil's invention, and communicated only in the other kind, upon that belief. This was the ground of Pope Gelasius's prohibition; but afterwards, in Pope Leo the second's time, it was free to communicate in one, or both kinds.