Priest receiving communion

just popped into my head

we know that the priest must receive both species of the Eucharist

can he receive via intinction instead of drinking from the cup?

just curious. i’ve never seen it happen (at least as far as i can remember)

As far as the Roman rite is concerned, the rubrics call for him to take the species separately, saying a special private prayer before he takes each.



I found this in our diocesan statutes.

“A priest who is unable to consume alcohol, is encouraged to receive under both forms
through intinction. If he is unable to do this, he must present the Bishop with a
medical certificate indicating that he may not ingest even the smallest quantity of
alcohol. The Bishop may permit him to use mustum, or unfermented juice of ripe
grapes. In such a case, the priest alone is to receive the consecrated mustum. If the
Precious Blood is distributed to the faithful, actual wine should be consecrated in a
separate chalice. Any Precious Blood consecrated from actual wine should be
consumed by a deacon or another extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. (cf.
Decree of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, August 22, 1994)”

It appears it is possible for it to happen, but it would also appear to be a very rare circumstance.

i see

so it will not affect the validity of the Sacrament, just that if there’s no grave reason, it would be highly illicit

That’s the way I would see it.

Now, we do have a case here locally, that is somewhat different.

Our community has a federal prison facility, and we hold a weekly Mass for the residents.

Due to federal regulations, the amount of alcohol that can be brought into the facility is regulated very stringently. With that being the case, the celebrant is required to receive by intinction, as well as those in attendance.

Special permissions had to be obtained since it wasn’t related to a health condition.

Of course, this is another extreme case, just like a health issue for the priest.

Whether or not the priest consumes the Sacred Species has no effect on the validity of the sacrament. The bread and wine become consecrated before the priest consumes them. He is required to consume them when the rubrics so state, but even if he does not, or if he receives at the end, the sacrament is valid.

And before someone comes along to quote Redemptionis Sacramentum and gripe that I’m insufficiently sensitive to liturgical abuses:
97. A Priest must communicate at the altar at the moment laid down by the Missal each time he celebrates Holy Mass, and the concelebrants must communicate before they proceed with the distribution of Holy Communion. The Priest celebrant or a concelebrant is never to wait until the people’s Communion is concluded before receiving Communion himself.
Per paragraph 173, a violation would not be a grave abuse.

… The point is that the priest must consume both kinds, therefore he must have both kinds. It is not necessary for Mass to be valid that anyone else consume the Eucharist. Even if people don’t receive, they have been to Mass…

Why would the priest need to partake of both species?
Sorry if this is a bad or stupid question to ask.
Or one I have not even thought out in my mind yet. If the faithful can get by on the bread alone, why would the priest have to recieve both the bread and wine?
Would he also have to be blemish free? And a perfect sacrifice?

It’s not a matter of a “grave reason” (that term has its own meaning in canon law). It’s illicit, but the bishop can dispense from the rubric and allow a priest to consume by intinction (like in the 2 examples we’ve just seen of prison and an alcoholic priest).

The principle celebrant has to receive the Body and then the Blood in two distinct “acts” saying privately the prayer before each one–the two moments, and the two prayers cannot be combined. In concelebration, the concelebrants may receive by intinction.

A priest may not offer Mass if he is not in a state of grace. (However, it would still be valid if he were not, though the priest would be compounding his sin by doing so). And the sacrifice is perfect, because it is the sacrifice of Calvary.

The priest must consume both species to “complete the Sacrifice.”


VIII. 1. If a priest celebrates who is suspended, ex-communicated, unfrocked, irregular, or otherwise canonically impeded, his consecration of the Sacrament is valid, but he commits a mortal sin, both by receiving Communion unworthily, and also by exercising priestly functions, which have been forbidden to him.

VIII. 2. Any priest who, having access to a suitable confessor, celebrates in mortal sin, commits a grave sin.

VIII. 3. If a priest who, in case of necessity, not having access to a suitable confessor, celebrates in mortal sin, without contrition, he commits a grave sin. Not, however, if he is contrite; but even so, he must confess as soon as possible.

VIII. 4. If the priest remembers during the actual celebration of Mass that he is in mortal sin, he should make an act of contrition, at the same time resolving to confess and make satisfaction.

VIII. 5. Similarly, if he remembers that he is excommunicate, or suspended, or that the place is under interdict, he should make an act of contrition, and resolve to seek absolution. If, however, in the above cases, the consecration has not yet taken place, and there is no danger of scandal, he must discontinue the Mass he has begun.

Thank you all for the answers, I must study up on this. I would never ask my priest about this particular thing yet. As well as I think I know him, I still would never ask this yet.

I am thankful for priests that have answered, and will study this more.

Since it is only the priest who must consume both species, why should any of those in attendance be receiving the Blood? The best way of dealing with this is for the priest to consecrate only the necessary amount of wine for him alone to receive from the chalice and all those in attendance to receive only Hosts. It only complicates the issue to have the priest and all in attendance receiving via intinction.

It is done under the direction of our Bishop.

We have been instructed, and we all agree that just because these individuals are incarcerated, doesn’t mean they should be treated any differently, and we work within the guidelines given.

We also have musicians (guitars) that enter the facility with us in order for there to be music at the Masses.

Considering the stresses of being incarcerated, along with crowding, and other factors, anything that can be done to help reduce tension in those facilities is welcomed by the staff.

Providing the body and blood at Mass does help that.

So, do all parishes have Communion under both species at every Mass? I doubt that is the case, so why should it be the case in a prison?

Do you feel there is a reason that they should not be able to receive under both species?

Especially considering that the practice has been approved both by the Church, and the prison system?

To answer your question, I can only speak for my parish since I have not attended all of the parishes in my diocese, but yes, unless it is specifically a Children’s Mass (i.e. school Mass), Holy Communion is offered under both species.

In working with the prison ministry, I have learned some valuable lessons.

  1. Good people make bad choices.

  2. Truth be told, there are alot more people on the outside that should be in there than what actually are. They just haven’t been caught yet.

In our prison ministry, we not only offer weekly Mass, but we also offer Bible study, and RCIA.

I have seen major spiritual growth in quite a few individuals, along with numerous conversions. I have in fact been the sponsor/godparent for several individuals.

There are several, who have been released, that still maintain contact with our parish… I have even had several of them to my home for dinner.

I have a little spin on this question. I am an EMC. For to weeks every summer, we have about 130 kids coming to Mass, so I help the priest by distributing the Eucharist along side him. Very often our priests attend daily Mass. As awesome it is to distribute Communion, serving it to a priest is very humbling.

Hmmm. Something doesn’t sound right. I don’t know the rules of concelebrating but isn’t that what should be going on here? I assume this is an OF Mass?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit