Water before Communion?


I know the catechism says that “water and medicine” do not break the Eucharistic fast. But what if I’m not taking medicine with my water…what if I’ve been exercising and I’m thirsty, so I want to take a sip of water. Is that okay? The word “AND” in the catechism confuses me.


Water alone is fine.


Water does not break the fast. It’s medicine AND water, not medicine WITH water.


As others mentioned, water is fine, BUT it must be just water - NOT flavored water. You know the kind - sold as water, but tasting of strawberries, or lemon, etc. Not acceptable.


Where did you ever find precepts, directives, laws, etc., to this detail?

To me it seems either an embellishment, or perhaps just personal opinion.

Then again, perhaps I’m wrong, so could you give me a reference?

Peace and All Good!


Thank you–that puts it very clearly.


Thank you, all. I thought it would be okay but I didn’t drink the water just in case. Now I know it’s okay for certain. I’ve only been a Catholic for almost 17 years–lol. But a poorly catechised one, a lot of it due to my own fault. I wouldn’t drink flavored water, I don’t think though.


Is it so difficult to plan ahead? If you have to drive to church and wait through most of the mass for communion then almost certainly an hour has passed. You can go to the end of the line to make sure. If you know you are going to mass it seems logical not to exercise just before it. Besides that, in the US, a little thirst never kills anyone. No it isn’t breaking the fast to have water, but I remember the olden days when friends said they had to fast from midnight I think without water but I’m not sure.


I think the idea is that flavored water isn’t just water, but water with stuff in it, rather like flat, diluted soda (which is actually pretty much what I think of flavored water). So in drinking flavored water, you are drinking more than just water.

On a side note, I have to admit that I find the name “flavored water” pretty amusing. When it comes down to it, aren’t most drinks flavored water? I mean, I suppose alcohol is actually a different liquid, but most people don’t drink it pure. It’s not like juice is made with liquid nitrogen. And yeah, the particles dissolve in there to make a solution that is different, but still, “water with stuff added for flavor/nutrition” describes pretty much every drink out there.


My husband wanted me to go for a walk with him this afternoon, and when I told him I wanted to go to Mass this evening, he said we’d have enough time. We did, but I didn’t really think about getting thirsty until I was already walking. Mass is only 30 minutes on Friday night, so Communion is about 20-25 minutes into the Mass. I ended up not drinking anything anyway.


This is potentially dangerous advice.

If you have symptoms of being thirsty, you are already dehydrated. This is a dangerous condition that could lead to a health crisis for certain people. At the very least, it can lead to disorientation and fainting even in healthy people.

People should drink water throughout the day, not just when they “feel thirsty.”

Catholics are allowed to have water before Mass. In fact, people can have water DURING Mass, and many do. There are certain meds that result in a dry mouth and throat, which can cause not only discomfort, but coughing and choking. Water is a necessity for these people.

As for exercising before Mass, many people in the United States have very tightly packed schedules. It’s entirely possible in the United States that the only time some people can fit in a workout is before Mass. Sometimes people think they will be home in time for a shower and refreshment, and then something happens (e.g., traffic jam, meeting up with the boss at the gym and feeling obligated to have a polite conversation with him/her, etc.), and they find that their schedule is up-ended.

Can we not put burdens on people that the Church does not require?


The norm for water changed with Apostolic Constitution Christus Dominus of Pope Pius XII in January 1953:By Our Apostolic authority We decree and command all the following:

 I. The law of the Eucharistic fast from midnight continues in force for all of those     who do not come under the special conditions which We are going to set forth in this     Apostolic Letter. In the future it shall be a general and common principle for all, both     priests and faithful, that natural water does not break the Eucharistic fast

and continuing from March 1957 (with Sacram Communionem):2. Priests and faithful, before Holy Mass or Holy Communion respectively, must abstain for three hours from solid foods and alcoholic liquids, for one hour from non- alcoholic liquids. Water does not break the fast.

and commentary:[INDENT]The formula which confirms that water does not break the Eucharistic Fast (at first it was said to be aqua naturalis) leaves one to understand that it refers to water in general and in the common sense of the word even mineral water, carbonated or chemically purified water.




I don’t think it’s right to set up a “guilt trip” situation for doing that which, as even you admit, the Church allows.


Tea is not permitted. That is flavoured water.


See post # 12: forums.catholic.com/showpost.php?p=12143000&postcount=12


Actually the advice to constantly drink water throughout the day is bad advice based on no good science. The best advice is actually to drink when we feel thirsty.

My nurse once told me to drink some absurd amount of water like 64 ounces a day. I thought this was patently ridiculous and did some research on it. I found even the formerly-respected Mayo Clinic parroting this advice without a shred of evidence for it being useful or healthy or beneficial. I likewise found many good sites debunking this advice. I determined that the only good advice here was “drink when you’re thirsty” and I reported that nurse to my doctor who pretty much agreed with my appraisal of the situation and promised to have a talk with that nurse. She explained that living in such an arid climate as we do, and having many clients who are poor and/or homeless, it is sometimes important to impress upon them the critical precept to stay hydrated in order to avoid heat stroke and other problems.

Naturally if you are out in 110-degree heat all day and sweating like crazy, you will drink a lot of water. But personally I spend almost all day in air conditioning at 75 or so, and I get away with a minimum of 3 16-oz drinks with absolutely no ill effects.


I am on a lot of meds and suffer from dry mouth practically all the time. It gets to the point where my teeth stick to my tongue and my gums and is most unpleasant. If I didn’t have water with me at all timesI wouldn’t be able to receive Holy communion! I sometimes get dirty looks for drinking water during Mass, but they don’t know me and I don’t care if they think I have no self control!


Most if not all of the Catholic churches in my area do not have air conditioning therefore during the summer they can be almost little heaters. In order to avoid people passing out from the heat, it is only natural for people to drink water or whatever breverage they require to stay cool. They can also be quite cold during the winter therefore its common for people to drink some sort of hot beverage before mass because it is so cold outside. When it comes to this fast although it was created for a reason, we also need to look at the human need such as water to stay cool or hot chocolate just before mass to warm up because it is -20 Celsius outside.


How long is “just before Mass”? Are you suggesting that people bring hot beverages with them to warm up after they’ve been outside?


It is very clear that medicine and water (cold or hot) do not break the fast. Therefore there is absolutely no need for them to bring any other type of beverage or are you suggesting that hot water cannot bring warmth.

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