Who are the "elderly and infirm" in Canon 919?

Jim is 67. He has had a heart attack, and has six coronary stents. He takes oral meds for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. On the whole however, he seems to be doing quite OK.

On occasion, Jim is not one hundred percent sure he has fasted for an hour before taking Communion.

Does Jim qualify as an “infirm” person for the purpose of Can $919? Does the fact that he is over sixty qualify him as an “elderly” person?

Should Jim simply quote St Alphonsus (Unless you can swear on seven Bibles that you have committed a mortal sin, you should go to Communion) and take Communion despite his uncertainty regarding his fast?

Canon 919 §3. The elderly, the infirm, and those who care for them can receive the Most Holy Eucharist even if they have eaten something within the preceding hour.

Canon Law does not define an age or circumstance that makes someone elderly or infirm. The reason for that is, as the saying goes, age is but a number. Someone who is in robust health at 70 could certainly fast an hour before communion. When it comes to being infirm, there’s always individuals who can handle some things better than others. There’s simply no way to create a “catch all” definition.

The answer to whether someone is exempt from the one hour fast depends upon the reasons why they would break the fast. Do they need to eat to keep their strength, health, or in coordination with medication? Is their eating during that time frame related to illness or age? Otherwise, the requirement to fast before communion remains.

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