How bad is it to drink black coffee before mass?


Yes coffee is out.

Just check the clock and drink some when you first wake up. It is 1 hour before Communion --not before Mass.



I did a seach on the topic and it appears to be a not uncommon question. Following are links to other Q&As from Ask an Apologist. The Apologists are our resident experts, including priests. Perhaps these will be helpful.

Do Catholics have a serious obligation to observe the Eucharistic fast?

Is there an exception to the fast?

Is coffee permitted before Mass?

Does coffee with cream break a fast?

Does coffee break the eucharistic fast?

Some relevant Q&As that deal with scruples and the Eucharistic fast.

Is swallowing leftovers breaking the Eucharistic fast?

Taking Eucharist 55min after eating

And, here is a Q&A that contains several links to several questions, sort of a summary of the issues.

Is not fasting an hour before Communion sinful?



As I wrote, I have a priest comming for coffee (hmm…) on Friday so I will ask him.

Before Mass there is usually a whole bunch of people smoking outside the Church and it is impossible for the priests to not see them.

What I am thinking about is that maybe we once in while do a to big thing out of a very unimportant issue. Remember that when Christ did give us the gift of Communion it was during and right after a meal. Everybody was well fed and without no doubt a bit under the influence as well. Reckon the vine was a bit stronger back then. So I can’t understand this whole “nothing to eat before Communion” incident. But, if that is the case, this “one hour” rule I never have heard about, really is true, I will obey it. I mean, I try to be a good Catholic.

But if we dig deeper we will find many things we do obey on paper but never in the “real” life. Is it possible to live one whole day (in a normal city doing what we do to get food on the table and so on) following The CCC on every paragraph? How many of you pray the Angelus at six AM, twelve noon and six PM? Or the Magnificat as the last prayer of the day? Read The Bible every day? Begin and end the day with the Sign of The Cross? Bless the one who made a stupid thing with his/her’s car? (I don’t have a car because I don’t need one.) Live a whole day without one smallest of the small white lie? I do all this things I would like to say, but after some thoughts I find out that I pray the Angelus at 6.20AM, close to noon but not spot on and maybe at 10.20PM. I do pray a Rosary prayer each day, I do read The Bible every day, but not always centralize on what I do read. When I still was driving I did not bless the idiot who cut me off while overtaking me. So we can conclude that I am far from perfect. If anyone do all this as The RCC teach I can’t help sensing a bitter-sweet smell of ultra orthodoxy behavior. I therefor state that it is impossible, unless you are not a monk or nun, to live in a modern society living up to every rule there is. I also want to bring this to your minds. Christ did say it is always OK to do good no matter what time or day it is. Yes? So, let us say that your kids has made you breakfast, and you have less then an hour to Communion. Do you really say that you can’t eat it because it is to late? No child understand that, and you are bound to smash a tiny hearth. What would Christ have done?



Maybe i’m not thinking about this correctly…but…
Communion usually starts in our mass about 40 minutes after it starts. it takes me 20 minutes to drive to church. That means that unless i am drinking/eating something in the car, I am fine. For that reason I guess I don’t think that much about the fast anymore. You are aware, though, that it’s one hour before you receive the eucharist, not before mass begins? You shouldn’t have that much trouble fitting in your coffee a little earlier. Unless you live right near your church and your priest is very fast, the majority of the hour is accomplished automatically with travel time and the portion of the mass before communion.



The one-hour Eucharistic fast has been the rule your entire life, unless you are an older person. If you are an older person, the Eucharistic fast used to be much longer, so the current fast at only one-hour is much easier to adapt into life.



Yes, you are correct. If one does not have a medical issue, the only time it might really be an issue is if one attends daily Mass, since it tends to be shorter than Sunday Mass, or if a priest celebrates a very speedy Sunday Mass. Then if timing is an issue, one needs to choose which they will do: receive our Lord in the Eucharist or eat and/or drink something instead. Canon law states that the fast must be observed, so one must choose accordingly.



I am not sure why you continue to reference smoking, which has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

It is indeed one hour:

Can.* 919 §1. A person who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before holy communion from any food and drink, except for only water and medicine.

In the past, it was three hours. And before that it was from midnight the evening before.

Except none of the things you listed are examples of rules. They are holy things to do, not required things to do. And, the subject at hand is not about doing holy things, but about refraining from doing something we are asked not to do.

This is a straw man argument. No one has said that the OP should not drink coffee, nor that the imaginary parent in your scenario should refuse the breakfast.

What they are obligated to do in such a case is simply refrain from Holy Communion if they attend a Mass and have not observed the one hour fast.



In order for the 1 hour before Holy Communion rule could be broken you would almost have to be eating and drinking in the parking lot before Mass. The rule is before taking Communion…not before Mass. What am I missing here?



These things are encouraged but not required of Catholics.



Just be thankful it is only 1 hour. It used to be 3 hours before communion.



The OP is asking about daily Mass which tends to be shorter. In my area daily Masses last a half hour or so which means communion is given after about 20 minutes. So if you have a meal or coffee just before leaving the house, spend 10 minutes getting to church, and 20 minutes of Mass time before communion, you haven’t met the one hour fast. The choices are to either eat earlier or abstain from communion.



I read an article that said one hour is really not fasting. How could you feel hungry in just one hour? They have really dumbed down the fasting these days (like during Lent). Really unless you are ill, a true fast would make more sense on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.



That is not the point of the Eucharistic fast.



Yes, but I think three hours is more fitting.



=tollelege;10824065]OK I just found out that canon law (919.1) states that water and medicine are the sole exceptions to the one-hour fast. I know this is lame, but the morning daily mass can be tough to get through without an “eye-opener” as an addict of a different kind might call it. And yes, I know that a better guy would get up earlier for coffee or break the habit.

So a) is coffee right out and b) how bad would it be to keep drinking it? Is drinking black coffee (0 calories) as bad as, say, eating a donut? Would it constitute unworthy reception of Holy Eucharist, forfeiting grace otherwise received? Can I get away with calling it medicinal? Do priests who have to say early masses ever struggle with this?

**It IS sinful [a venial sin]

It IS Disrespecful Matthew 26:40**
And he cometh to his disciples, and findeth them asleep, and he saith to Peter: What? Could you not watch one hour with me?

THINK OF ALL THAT GOD HAS DONE; IS DOING AND WILL DO FOR YOU IN THE FURURE. Is this REALLY someting more important to YOU than giving it up for GOD?:shrug:



The Church gives us the minimum requirement but people can definitely do more than the minimum. (Similarly, people can go to Mass more than once a week or receive communion more than once a year. Hopefully our faith will lead us to want to do more in many different ways.)



That…is what I was missing.:wink:



Why do I have this feeling that we all are trying to find loop holes in rules.

I am sure that rule is true. (I will however ask, and also try to find out if anyone really enforce it.) If we for a while focus on the question, “how bad is it to drink black coffee before mass”. How bad is it, really? Is it a venial or mortal sin? Or is absolutely nothing? I wonder how many rules there is that nobody ever obey just because they are not aware about them. So, we can not drink, eat or smoke (and 1ke, I use that example becuse it is my only sin and actually smoking is not a sin.) one hour before Communion. I think this whole thing can be narrowed down to one simple issue. We are not supposed to do anything that gives us “joy” before Communion. So let us say that someone enjoy drinking water and are doing so just before Communion. Is that person sinful? Guess he/she is. Jesus loves us, and I don’t think He mind if we are doing something that we like to do, but then in the other hand, I am not a CC, I did convert, so I can be wrong. Can we listen to music if that make us feel good? Can we walk our dog before mass and Communion if it bring us joy? Can we kiss our wife/husband? Pamper our child? The list is endless if we think about it.

This whole thing is not about coffee, it is about doing something that make us feel good, and if that is a sin, and what make us feel good is not “normally” wrong, how do it become a sin one hour before Communion? I will follow that rule, what more can I, if it is considered a sin.



We are not to eat or drink before receiving the Eucharist. Smoking is neither eating nor drinking, it is not ingested.

The purpose of the Eucharistic fast is to abstain from what the Church terms profane food and drink in preparation for sacred food and drink.

We are to solemnly prepare spiritually by examination of conscience and prayerful approach to the sacrament. We are equally to prepare our physical bodies by refraining from the profane in preparation for the sacred-- the Eucharistic food should not be commingled with anything as we receive it.

From St. Augustine, Letter 54:

…for from that time [of the earliest Church] it pleased the Holy Spirit to appoint, for the honour of so great a sacrament, that the body of the Lord should take the precedence of all other food entering the mouth of a Christian; and it is for this reason that the custom referred to is universally observed. (Ep. 54.6)

You have some odd ideas. I would suggest turning to what the Church actually teaches, because that is not it at all. It has to do with properly preparing ourselves to receive the very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ into our bodies and the respect that needs to be shown to Christ in the Real Presence. The Eucharistic fast is NOT a penitential fast. Penitetial fasting is not permitted on Sunday and Feast Days.

1384 The Lord addresses an invitation to us, urging us to receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist: "Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you."217

1385 To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: "Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself."218 Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion.

1386 Before so great a sacrament, the faithful can only echo humbly and with ardent faith the words of the Centurion: “Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea” (“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed.”).219 And in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom the faithful pray in the same spirit:

O Son of God, bring me into communion today with your mystical supper. I shall not tell your enemies the secret, nor kiss you with Judas’ kiss. But like the good thief I cry, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

**1387 To prepare for worthy reception of this sacrament, the faithful should observe the fast required in their Church.**220 Bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest.

Please stop making stuff up that is neither what the Church actually teaches NOR the purpose of the Eucharistic fast. These non sequiters are getting old.

The purpose of the fast is to prepare our bodies to receive the Real Presence in a respectful manner.

If you disrespect the Eucharist and purposely disobey the authority of the Church, then yes you commit a sin. None of the things you listed do either of those things.

No, it is about properly preparing yourself to receive Christ in the Eucharist. It is surprising that no one instructed you on why it is important to prayerfully prepare to receive the Eucharist.

It is not about doing something that “makes you feel good” it is about obeying the law of the Church in order to not profane the Eucharist.



We don’t fast before communion in order to avoid anything that gives joy. We fast to prepare ourselves both spiritually and physically to receive the Lord. This article gives a nice overview:


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