Is it a sin to refuse to drink the blood of Christ?

Is it a sin not to drink Christ’s blood during Communion? I see a lot of people receiving the body of Christ but then refusing to drink the blood of Christ after. I don’t understand why people do this. I asked my friend why she did this and she said that she only drinks the blood of Christ during “special occasions.” I don’t know what she meant, but she explained that, “for her,” it’s just how she does it. But I was thinking that it was not about her and, besides, if Jesus is being offered to you, why wouldn’t you want to receive him? She said that the deacon at her church said that receiving the body of Christ is receiving the blood of Christ, too; so, if that’s the case, what’s the point of consecrating the wine?

Okay, it may not be a sin, but I believe it to be disrespectful to Jesus. I have just been so confused regarding this matter and I never know how to defend it. Please educate me. Am I right or wrong?

Your heart is in the right place, but unfortunately you are wrong on this issue. The whole Christ – body, blood, soul, and divinity – is found under the appearances of the smallest crumb of the host and the smallest drop of the consecrated wine. That means that it is not necessary for layman to receive both the host and the precious blood at Communion. Both the bread and the wine are consecrated because that is how Christ did it and because Christ’s death is symbolized by the symbolic separation of his body and blood. (His Resurrection is symbolized by the priest’s reception of both species, which is why only the priest must receive both the host and the precious blood.)

Although a layman’s reception of both the host and the precious blood is a fuller sign of Christ’s command to his disciples to “Take and eat” and “Take and drink,” it is not necessary that laymen do so, as is evidenced by the fact that the Church did not allow priests to offer the precious blood to laymen for many centuries (precisely to underscore the fact that such double reception was unnecessary). Even today, when both species are ordinarily offered, double reception is at the discretion of the communicant. He can receive either species or both species (or, for that matter, neither species if he is not receiving Communion at a particular Mass).

**Recommended reading:

Are You an Utraquist?** by Karl Keating

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