Communion From Chalice Only

Here’s an interesting question: Is it permissible to receive communion from the chalice only? That is to say: they receive under the species of wine only, and not under the species of bread, as is usually the case.

I ask this question because I have observed several situations where a Mass is celebrated with a larger congregation than anticipated. As a result, the priest may consecrate an insufficient number of hosts, and during the communion rite, he and his assisting EMHCs fraction the hosts to ensure that every one can receive our Lord. Sometimes, however, this is still insufficient, and they run out of hosts before they run out of communicants. At this point, is it permitted for the priest to offer the chalice to the communicants so that they can still communicate?

Of course, I am well aware that both species are fully the Body and Blood of Christ, but I merely to inquire if it is permitted under such circumstances. I see no theological hurdle to it, but history has shown us that the Church tends to prefer communion under the species of bread, and Pope Pius II even once prohibited communion under both kinds in favour of the species of bread alone. As such, to turn the tables and have communion under species of wine alone would certainly seem very odd, hence my concern.

Thank you for reading and your kind replies. :slight_smile:

People who are gluten-intolerant sometimes receive the Precious Blood only on a regular basis. Whichever species someone receives, they are still receiving the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ.

Yes, receiving from the chalice of the Blood is a valid option, especially for those who cannot receive the host due to dietary constraints (i.e. gluten intolerance)
One should just approach the priest prior to mass to request.

Both species contain the fullness of Jesus Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul, & Divinity, so when receiving either, or both one receives Jesus in His fullness.

You don’t have to ask the priest to receive only the Blood. My sons are both gluten-free and what they do is get in line, either get the blessing from the Host minister or priest, or just skip the minister and go straight to the Cup minister. That causes a wee bit of confusion, because one of them is 6’2" and obviously old enough to have made his First Communion - the other is about 6’ tall and looks all of his 18 years! But the ministers usually get over it.

There is also a very low-gluten host that can be consecrated just for them but so far, they don’t want to make special arrangements to receive it.

But yes, to answer the OP’s question, either species contains Jesus entirely. When I grew up, we never got the cup so I rarely take the Precious Blood even now.

Agreed, unless the practice in your church is that only the priest, deacons, and alter ministers receive from the chalice. If this is the case, I would recommend speaking with the priest or deacons before the mass, as just going to the alter and taking from the chalice yourself would be imprudent.

Or if someone is severely gluten-intolerant. There are two people I know who can’t receive from the regular chalice because it has tiny crumbs of the host in it, and other people who have received the host already drank from it. Our priest just prepares a special chalice for them and sets it aside.

As others have noted this is allowed and, in the case of those with gluten intolerance, is the norm.

That said, in most parishes the way the queues to receive the host and the chalice are set up, it might be perceived as odd for someone to go straight to the line for those receiving from the chalice. I imagine those who distribute communion come to recognize those who regularly branch off from the line prior to receiving the host.

Obviously if one is in a parish/diocese where only a few people receive from the chalice then one would have to ask for special accommodation.

There would have to be a serious reason for doing so .

Jesus’ command was to eat and drink . To be faithful to his command it is necessary to partake of the sacred mysteries under both kinds . For health reasons or for the situation you mentioned it is common sense to do what is unavoidable .

Arkwright It is NOT necessary to recieve under both species. Many parishes in the US still receive only under one species. And if offered both you do not have to receive both.

i hope they don’t go and pick up the chalice themselves!

In that case, the gluten-intolerant person could not receive from the chalice because it would have the Host already added to it. This is usually the priest’s chalice and it is given to one of the EM’s to minister from anyway.

So, if they could not receive from the chalice they would have to make arrangements to use the low-gluten host. It is usually placed within a pyx and placed on the paten, then given to one of the EMs who hands it to the receiver still closed. The receiver opens it, takes out the consecrated Host, now the Body, and consumes it.

Or, there could be a separate chalice prepared but that would entail someone ministering it…A little tricky, but the details can be worked out with the priest. I became my son’s EM for quite a while. I ministered only to him and then whisked myself away and took his little cup back to my pew.

Jesus commanded otherwise , and his words are plain , straightforward , and in no way obscure .

He told us to both eat AND drink .

You both and eat and drink when you receive only one species.

The Church knew this when it banned the laity from receiving under the species of wine for hundreds of years (if not over 1000 years).

You are just wrong.

Restricting my answer just to the question at hand:


Of course you don’t .

When you receive a consecrated host you eat . When you receive from the chalice you drink .
Jesus , referring to the bread which had become his Body said EAT .

Jesus , referring to the wine in the cup which had become his Blood said DRINK .

In Communion under both kinds , in one case we eat and in the other we drink .

That is just plain and simple common sense , and what Jesus commanded us to do is likewise just plain and simple .

And no talk of transubstantiation , with which I have no problem , can divert from the fact of what Jesus commanded .

It was actually only withdrawn gradually from the 13th Century onwards.

My friend, you are advocating a heresy known as Utraquism. Have a read of the documentation and then tell us why you persist in misrepresenting Church teaching.

Arkwright, you are wrong. He is in charge of his church and in his church only the priests are obliged to consume both the Host and the Precious Blood. When we receive either species we receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is dogma and must be believed.

This is an interesting question, which no one has answered yet.

I agree with you there is no theological problem with doing so, but I don’t know what is the common practice. I have so rarely been at a mass where the hosts ran out that I have not observed this problem.

How about we consult the REAL authority on this issue, the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Church, which is quite clear in regard to the OP’s question:

Can. 925 – Sacra communio conferatur sub sola specie panis aut, ad normam legum liturgicarum, sub utraque specie; in casu autem necessitatis, etiam sub sola specie vini. (Can. 925 – Holy communion is to be given under the species of bread alone or, in accordance with the liturgical laws, under both species or, in case of necessity, even under the species of wine alone.

That is the law in the Latin Church.

And from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1390 Since Christ is sacramentally present under each of the species, communion under the species of bread alone makes it possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace. For pastoral reasons, this manner of receiving communion has been legitimately established as the most common form in the Latin Rite.

From the 19th Ecumenical Council at Trent, 13th Session (11 Oct 1551):

CANON III.-If any one denieth, that, in the venerable sacrament of the Eucharist, the whole Christ is contained under each species, and under every part of each species, when separated; let him be anathema.

and the Ecumenical Council at Trent, 21st Session (16 July 1562):

CANON III.–If any one denieth, that Christ whole and entire -the fountain and author of all graces–is received under the one species of bread; because that-as some falsely assert–He is not received, according to the institution of Christ himself, under both species; let him be anathema.

That is what Holy Mother Church teaches.

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