Can the Eucharist be chewed, or does it have to dissolve in the mouth?

I am teaching RCIA for my second year and one of the sponsors attending the class said when she was younger she was told never to chew the Eucharist, it must be held on the tongue until it dissolves. I’m guessing this might have been a pre-Vatican II perspective? I am 37 and I have never heard this teaching before. Thanks!

In times gone by it was common practice to allow the host to dissolve on the tongue rather than chew the Eucharist. This was a pious custom and not a Church rule. The general idea is that it can look disrespectful to chew the Eucharist as if it were chewing gum or a piece of meat. However, appearances are not everything. The early Christians did not have perfectly made and cut small modern hosts. They most likely had to truly “take and eat” in order to receive.

As long as the communicant is truly respectful of the Real Presence, there is nothing wrong with chewing the host in order to consume it.

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