Why no people's Communion at TLM requiem Masses?

I was searching an old thread that had pictures of a priest wearing black vestments. On that thread, it was mentioned that in TLM requiem Masses that Communion was not offered to the congregation. My mother does not remember being at a Mass without Communion offered to the congregation. Why was this practice done? I’m thinking that it may have had something to do with the old Eucharistic fast laws, that if the funeral Mass was not held early in the morning that people could not have been expected to have fasted from midnight or for 3 hours, so as a result, Holy Communion was not offered to them at all. Am I correct?

I served many a requiem Mass in the late 50’s and early 60’s and can’t remember a time when Communion was not offered. Many of the Masses I served were in the afternoon but by the time I made my first Communion in '58, we only had a 3 hr. fast requirement. I don’t know when the midnight requirement was altered but that might indeed have something to do with it.

Uh. I served a requiem Mass a few months ago and the people were offered communion.

The only thing I can think of is perhaps, just like at weddings, there are a number of non-Catholics present so they don’t want to confuse them maybe. I’ve been to some of these events where everyone felt it was their obligation to receive communion.

In any case, there are no rules that prohibit distributing Communion at these events or at any time really. Even on Good Friday, they distribute Communion though saying the Mass is prohibited. I never understood the reasoning for that but it is not for me to question it.

The Maunday Thursday Mass is the Mass by which Jesus commemorated His death. A Jewish day goes from sunset to sunset, so he died on the same day. Holy Saturday is a rest from the noral liturgical activities of the Church. Easter Sunday is the first Mass of Easter.

Do you not understand why no mass on Good Friday or why communion is distributed?

No Mass: Remembrance of the passion and deep sorrow on the part of the Church- no joy from the consecration.

Communion: No substantive answers on the web, but I feel that it is as a comfort and nourishment on the sad day.

I haven’t been able to attend Good Friday services since I was in grade school, but I don’t remember not having Mass. I think I heard it very recently, but it surprised me. Your thoughts on why seem sensible.

You and I seem to be about the same age. I graduated in 1969 too, from Ursuline Academy in St. Louis. I sang at those requiems in the lates 50s and early 60s and I can’t remember not receiving Communion. I remember the nuns telling us that a few years before we made our First Communions, the water fountains in the halls would be covered with burlap before daily Mass. I guess your basic 8 year old would need a reminder not to have a sip.

There were around 4 (main) occasions when communion could not be distributed. 3 survivied until the new fasting regulations (1953) and revised Holy Week (1951, experimentally and 1956 officially) and the 4th was forbidden and then officially permitted in the 19th century but in practise survived far longer.

They were:
1- Good Friday for the Mass of the Presanctified
2- Midnight Mass of Christmas
3- Holy Saturday for the vigil
4- Masses for the Dead

The (2) was due to it being the only Mass in the liturgical tear celebrated in the night- before 1953 the regulation was Mass from one hour before dawn to one hour after noon. It was forbidden to give communion in the night except as *viaticum *for the sick and dying.

The (3) has a bit of confusion attached to it (at least, for me :stuck_out_tongue: ). In the liturgical books the Mass of the Easter Vigil was unique for many reasons. One is that it did not have a Communion chant attached for communion of the faithful which is usually the case, indicating the absence of communion
There are 3 decrees of the Congregation of Rites attached to it. The first one * is in 1806 which decided that communion given within this Mass sufficed for the fulfilment of the “Paschal precept”. The second one is in 1837 ** which said that it could not be distributed unless there was a custom of doing so. The last (which I haven’t seen but it is refered to a lot) is in 1850 which says that it cannot be distributed during Mass but after Mass is permissible.
Most manuals cited the last one and said that communion can be administered after Mass but it was not permissible to do so during Mass except where this was the custom. I have seen a few however, which, obviously basing themselves on the 1806 decree give the instructions for the ritual to administer communion within the Mass. I don’t know whether the publishers simply ommitted updating them or whether they had another way of interpretating the other two decrees.
One last thing was that certain people and places had indults to celebrate the Easter Vigil at or close to midnight. In this case, communion would not have been allowed, before, after or during Mass as with the Mass for Christmas.

I had started the answer to your actual question on the 4th- the Requiem- but my verbosity :o has made it a bit long and I haven’t yet finished.Will definitely try and finish it tomorrow.

  • Cum sacerdos Ioannes Baptista Berni…antiquam consuetudinem invenerit sacrosanctum Eucharisticam impertiendi fidelibus in Sabbato Sancto pro satisfactione etiam paschalis praeceti, et anceps haeserit: Num eadem consuetudo servanda foret, sive utpote abusiva removenda? Ut onem anxietatem deponeret, supples fuit apud SRC pro declarationis sequentis dubii, videlicet: An liceat in Sabbato Sancto inter Missarum solemnia sacram Eucharistiam fidelibus distribuere, et num per eadem sumptionem sacrae Communionis praceptum paschale adimpleatur?
    R. Affirmative in utroque

** Quum orationes tam precedentes quam subsequentes communionem Missae Sabbati Sancti loquantur in numero plurali: hinc quaeritur, utrum liceat in eadem Missa post Communionem celebrantis, Eucharisticam ministrare fidelibus et praesertium cum particulis in eadem Missa consecratis?
R. Negative, nisi adsit consuetudo

But I always thought that the Mass and communion were very much related. You really can’t have one without the other, or am I missing something? I can understand viaticum and all that but they do open the tabernacle and remove all Hosts from inside there too. I understand Good Friday but I guess I’m too dense to understand the meanings behind all this communal activity.

They are in a sense, but also aren’t. Only the priest’s communion is integral to the Mass. So we have Mass without communion of the poeple and Communion of the people outside Mass.

Thanks for your response so far. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the rest of it.

:frowning: Apologies lak611, I did not get down to doing it today:mad: . But I promise I will.

I wish to add that the Communion at Christmas rulings were mitigated slightly near the beginning of the 20th century dependant on the bishop.

It’s ok. I mainly posted just to bump the thread, so it wouldn’t get forgotten. :slight_smile:

They *are “*very much related,” yet the only communion that is necessary is that of the priest, because consumption by the priest is seen as part of the completion of the sacrifice. It is entirely possible celebrate Mass, however, without any of the faithful receiving.

Makes sense to me. That is what the Council of Trent taught as well.

Very true. I am curious if there were any other Masses besides private Masses and Requiem Masses where the congregation was not offered Holy Communion.

There are many Church activities that do not involve reception of the Holy Communion. Stations of the Cross, Novenas, confessions, just stopping in to pray, etc. Doesn’t mean that you cannot obtain grace by attending them; in fact your Church should encourage it.

Oh, very true. I go to my parish for adoration and Stations of the Cross . My question was specifically in reference to Mass.


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