Attitudes toward gum at Mass


I’m astounded recently at the number of people who chew gum at Mass. I’m just wondering what people’s attitudes here are.

(I was brought up that you don’t chew gum in public, and I’ve always assumed that it was included as part of the fast before receiving Holy Communion. Am I wrong about that?)


Everything I’ve heard and read says we’re not supposed to chew gum before receiving Holy Communion


That’s what I thought. (I also had a humorous poll that I was going to attach, but I was interrupted by the telephone before I could complete it.)

But what’s amazing to me is that it’s not just kids and people who probably wouldn’t know any better doing this - I’ve even seen Eucharistic ministers and cantors and choir directors doing this - (male ones - don’t blame the ladies for this one!) and it’s astonishing to me that people who supposedly should know better don’t seem to see anything wrong with this.


I’ve wondered the same thing, but never talk about it - and you might see why after a few more posts…

You are bound to get someone upset by bringing this up. I have come to the conclusion that its better not to bring a lot of stuff up even if it might be a good idea to do so.


Well, and if so, that’s what I want to know. Where are people getting the idea that gum-chewing is “okay?”

Also, how many people think that it is sufficient that they don’t have gum in their mouth at the time that they receive Holy Communion? I saw one person put his gum behind his ear just before going forward - did he really think he was “properly disposed” to receive? And if so, why?

Is it that people don’t know about the one hour fast?

Or do they think that gum is a kind of water or medicine? (Water and medicine are permitted during the one hour fast.)


I think there is a particular problem that singers encounter, especially if they have to sing for more than one mass that day. This is that their throat hurts or tickles and they feel an urge to make it right enough so that they can sing properly. Also, I think you will find some people do not think it is a violation of the fast, perhaps because they do not classify gum as food.

When I was a kid I viewed gum as like candy, which is something that could “spoil your dinner” and hence foodlike, so it never crossed my mind that someone could chew it before mass. But that is just a statement of fact about me.


They could have a sip of water. Water has two advantages: it’s permitted, and it won’t harm your teeth. :wink:

Also, I think you will find some people do not think it is a violation of the fast, perhaps because they do not classify gum as food.

Which is very confusing to me. Where would they come up with that idea?

When I was a kid I viewed gum as like candy, which is something that could “spoil your dinner” and hence foodlike, so it never crossed my mind that someone could chew it before mass. But that is just a statement of fact about me.

Me, too.


I couldn’t believe it. A while back I went to a wedding, and one of the bridesmaids was walking down the aisle chomping away at her gum like a cow chewing her cud. Mouth wide open and everything. I was shocked.


Okay, here’s one: Holy Thursday Night. After the Santus, a man was half sitting/half kneeling and he chewed his gum the same way. Like a cow chewing her cud. And he was only about four pews away from the altar.

My heart sank and all that went through my mind was: “Oh…my…God! Jesus, I am SO sorry”.
This was over five years ago, and I still can’t get that image out of my mind.
That bothered me so much, I mentioned it to a dear priest friend of mine, and his response shocked me.
He said, “Well, at least he was there”.

I just looked at him. I wanted to ask: Father, are you serious?
He’s not doing God a favor by disrespecting Him in His Own House; and on the night of our Dear Lord’s Passion.

If it appears as though I’m judging, I’m sorry. It’s not like I was “looking” for it. Our Tabernacle, at that time, was off to the right, so I followed the priest w/my eyes. That’s when I saw “Gummy Man”.

Personally, if I’m chewing gum, I make sure it’s out of my mouth an hour before Mass begins. Same thing with eating. I don’t know why, but some people actually time it right down to the minute of Holy Communion. Never could figure out why they feel the need to do that.
Except for medicine; an hour and 45 minutes w/out food isn’t going to kill me.

God Bless.

In His Most Sacred :heart:,



Here is a link to Jimmy Akin’s blog (he’s one of the radio apologists here at CA). Here is an excerpt

Incidentally, for those who may be wondering, gum does not violate the Eucharistic fast, because GUM IS NOT FOOD. Gum is one of those non-food things like mouthwash, toothpaste, medicine, throat losenges, barium solutions, and breathmints that you put in your mouth (and may even swallow) for reasons other than wanting to provide nourishment to your body. It therefore is not food and does not break the fast.
Just don’t leave it on your bedpost overnight.

So, anyway, this is an example to clear things up. I’m not saying he is right or wrong. Just maybe this illustrates.


I feel the same way. Most often, I wait to have breakfast until after I’m back from Mass. I will have coffee early in the morning, but we do the Sunday puzzles, and I usually finish my coffee before we start the puzzles.


This would definitely explain the upswing in the amount of it that I’m seeing, lately, since he is a highly respected Catholic.

Is he available to explain how he came to that conclusion? :confused:


According to Frs. Levis and Tragilio, on “Web of Faith”, breathmints and gum are definite “No No’s”. Throat losenges never came up on that particular episode.




I have to admit, though; I don’t usually get hungry until the afternoons. However, some mornings, I’m dying for that sip of cold Coke.

In His Most Sacred :heart:,



Gum IN (not ON) the carpet, water bottles, cereal, candy wrappers,etc…etc…:banghead:

its my responsibility to clean the Parish once a week so I see it all,and all this in sections where the children do NOT sit.:mad:


That seems to fit with my understanding, as well.

I suppose throat lozenges could be classified as “medicine” but if a person has a sore throat, I would expect him to stay home, or at least take the medicine before coming into the Church.

I have seen/heard people rustling a lozenge out of its wrapper during Mass, and while it’s a bit distracting, it doesn’t happen often enough to cause consternation - it seems as though most people “get” that we only suck on throat lozenges if there is absolutely no other alternative, so I’m very willing to assume that a sore throat simply snuck up on these people, unexpectedly.


Hopefully, these were unchurched non-Catholics who mistook themselves for being at the movies.

Even so, I have seen people bring all kinds of things into Mass that they shouldn’t. (One time, I just got fed up, and I went through the pews just before Mass, and confiscated all of the unattended water bottles and picnic packs and left them in a pile in the vestibule - even if “unattended” simply meant that the owner had his back turned. :whistle: )


I’ve been one of those rustlers. I do it so as to not have a massive coughing fit. The coughing can be seriously distracting to others, and I can go on for 10 minutes with one. I need to stop the cough right then.

I’m not sick. Well, I am, but not with a cold or sore throat. Acid backs into my throat and lungs, especially when I sing or breathe deep to recite a long prayer. So, the cough drop is only partially helpful, but it can stop me from the 10 minute hacking fit. I haven’t had much problem with it lately, but I have in the past.


That’s exactly the sort of thing that I figured. In a case like that, obviously you have to do something right away, and the Church certainly permits us to use medicine when we need it.

What I don’t get is how a breath mint or gum could be considered “medicine” in the same sense as that.


Oh, I saw that episode as I was getting ready for the Saturday night Vigil.
Fr. Levis was funny.
The questioner asked (and I’m paraphrasing here) ‘What if I have bad breath? Wouldn’t it be charitable of me to use a breathmint so I don’t offend the people next to me?’

Fr. Levis said, 'Your bad breath might be the other person’s Penance’.

I laughed out loud. Anyone here ever been in the position of that “poor penitent”? :gopray2:

In His Most Sacred :heart:,


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