Perhaps someone might be able to clarify me on the following. Has the Church ever pronounced on the effects of receiving Holy Communion on an unborn child? When a pregnant mother received Holy Communion, does the unborn child also receive in some way? Considering that only the baptized may receive Holy Communion, but that God’s grace superabounds as well, I have become intrigued by this question.
Interesting question. I’ll ante up $0.02 to start:
As to the effect on the unborn child, it seems logical that any graces given to the mother as part of the reception of the Eucharist may be passed to the child, although I know of no church document that address this.
As to the child receiving in some way, I would say “no”. Since the mother only passes liquids and gases to the baby, by the time any piece of the host reached the fetus it would no longer be recognizable as bread hence the real presence would be gone.
Since the Church has recently promulgated a blessing for children in the womb, it seems that they can receive grace. However, we know that the Real Presence of Christ disappears when the appearance of bread and wine disappear, which would be long before the nutrients are able to pass from mother to baby.
I’d say not because the substance of Christ only lasts as long as the appearance of bread and wine remains.
I just remembered - in the case where a pregnant mother is Baptized, the unborn child is not considered Baptized. So, the same would be true for this case, mutatis mutandis, no?
The unborn have not become members of Christ’s Church yet. Only those that have received baptism, a sacrament of the dead, can receive an increase in sanctifying grace through other sacraments of the living, if still in a state of grace.
For a short time after receiving Christ, we are essentially tabernacles, as the host still has the physical characteristics of bread, for maybe 15 minutes or so. So, if this is the case, then perhaps it would be like the unborn child was going to adoration for a short time - physically separated from the eucharist, but still in the same vicinity.