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Help?? Infant Communion...

Posted By: Precentrix

Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/17/09 03:30 PM

I nearly posted this in the Ukie thread but thought it warranted its own space as being more than slightly off-track.

I'm in debate with some Coptic Orthodox about receiving Holy Communion under one species only in the Latin Church, the priest alone receiving from the chalice. The theological arguments for the acceptability or should I say possibility of this practice boil down to: [i]'Christ now rising from the dead dieth no more; death hath no dominion over Him.'[/i]

What I need, if anyone can help me, is the liturgical argument - the argument from praxis.

I am aware that, at least theoretically, the Eastern Churches do practise reservation of the Blessed Sacrament; I believe that in some churches which still practise infant communion, only the Most Precious Blood is given to the very youngest.

Can anyone confirm this for me from experience of what happens in their parish? Can anyone give me any relevant sources?

It would help me enormously - fortunately these guys haven't yet realised that their Church doesn't even consider my Church to have valid Baptism, but I'm assuming they won't take over-kindly to Western sources.

If anyone can give me anything from the Orientals, even better.

<looks hopefully>

ps I did post this in the Orthodox Question Box but no answer yet.
Posted By: theophan

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/17/09 03:45 PM

Christ is in our midst!! He is and always will be!!

Why are you "debating" this? It's a difference in praxis that has historic roots in Western history, but it seems to me that any theological arguments came later to defend this practice. In the meantime, you have to ask yourself what purpose this has. It surely doesn't help with understanding the other Church nor they understanding the Latin Church.

My parish has had Holy Communion under both species up until this past month when the bishops of my state decided that it would be better to stop until the H1N1 flu has passed.

There have always been differences in liturgical practices and they've been debated for the entire period of Church history. And they've caused schisms and lots of division.

BOB
Posted By: Precentrix

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/17/09 04:02 PM

Theophan,

The reason is that, based on the fact that we commonly only receive under one form, they make the argument that we do not, in fact, communicate. Now, the Copts may come up with plenty of arguments for why Holy Communion in a Latin church isn't valid (starting, I dare say, with the fact that none of us are Christians at all since we don't practise baptism by triple immersion, though we accept that it is preferable... and therefore our Orders and so on must also be invalid)... but that one doesn't hold water.

I know the historical reason for the laity not receiving from the chalice in the West is just the typical overreaction in the other direction because of the Hussite heresy; before that we received both species, though separately. I also know that there are various pragmatic reasons.

It comes down to the fact that these acquaintances have been receiving Our Blessed Lord in an RC parish, contrary to our discipline, their discipline and their beliefs about the Latin Church, and they brought up the question 'Why do you only receive half of Jesus?' [sic]. I'm trying to give them as full an answer as possible and would like to be able to point out that in other Churches, too, people sometimes receive under only one kind.
Posted By: Precentrix

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/17/09 04:06 PM

In other words, I'm not debating whether or not it should be done - I'm trying to defend its validity.
Posted By: theophan

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/17/09 04:51 PM

Christ is in our midst!! He is and always will be!!

First of all, why are they communing in a Latin parish if they don't hold our belief in the Eucharist? Our discipline assumes that persons who come forward share our belief in the Eucharist. They are to observe the discipline of their own Churches and if they're not supposed to come forward, you've got to ask why they do it. For them to do so and not hold our belief and to hold their own that this is not the Body and Blood of Christ borders on blasphemy and artolatry.

The belief of the Apostolic Churches is that Jesus is whole and entire under either or both species because we receive the resurrected Christ. We consecrate separately to bring into the present his crucifixion, but we do from the vantage point of the empty tomb. In other words, all of these saving events overlap liturgically.

But back to your original question, your pastor needs to know of their objections to Our Lord's Presence and he needs to go to them and tell them to stop.

I don't know of any other Church or ecclesial community that receives under only one form.

BOB
Posted By: Epiphanius

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/17/09 05:52 PM

Bob,

If I read Precentrix's question correctly, the debate is over the legitimacy of the practice of ever giving out or receiving Holy Communion under only one kind, at any time for any reason. Not so much a question of "why" the practice was adopted in the West, but of "how" it can be justified, based on Eastern theology and/or praxis.

One thing that I would hasten to point out here is that the practice of Presanctified Liturgy, which is very much an Eastern tradition, involves Communion under only one kind: the most precious Body of Christ is placed into the chalice with unconsecrated wine and given out that way. (While some have tried to argue that the wine becomes consecrated by contact, there is little theological basis for this assertion.)


Peace,
Deacon Richard
Posted By: Nelson Chase

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/17/09 07:26 PM

Also, I could be wrong, but don't the Coptic Orthodox and Catholic Church recognize each other as sister Churches? Isn't there intercommunion between the Syrian Orthodox (which is communion with the Coptic Orthodox Church) and the Eastern Catholic Churches in Syria and other parts of the Middle East?

Posted By: Terry Bohannon

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/17/09 07:36 PM

I don't think it's mutual. The Catholic Church, to my knowledge, recognizes the Coptic consecration as valid. But they aren't in formal communion with each other.
Posted By: Nelson Chase

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/17/09 07:49 PM

Hey Terry,

I could have sworn that the Coptic Orthodox had a rather positive view of the current Catholic Church and that at least in Syria the Oriental Orthodox and Syrian Catholic can, if there is no Priest of their Church take communion in the others Church.

I frequently read Abba Antony, a publication of Saint Antony’s Coptic Orthodox Monastery in Ca. and they quote from the Imitation of Christ all the time as part of their spiritual guidance section. When I visited HRM, when they were still in Newberry Springs, Abbot Nicholas had me drive over and visit the Coptic Monastery. (I meet the Abbot, even though I didn't know he was the Abbot until after I got back to HRM)

Oh well, I hope that in the future all the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Communion can restore full visible unity!
Posted By: countertenor

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/17/09 08:57 PM

I can say that the Syriac Orthodox who are in communion with the Coptic Orthodox, give out communion using only the precious blood to infants. At least that is what happened when my goddaughter was baptized, chrismated and communed in the Syriac Orthodox Church when she was just about a month and a half old.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/17/09 09:20 PM

Well, but of course. Small infants are incapable of ingesting solid food, so they are always communicated with the Precious Blood alone. This was the practice in the Latin Church as well, until, in 1215, the Fourth Lateran Council withdrew the Chalice from the laity. This effectively ended infant communion in the Latin Church, though there was no deliberate intent or any theological rationale behind it.
Posted By: Precentrix

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/17/09 09:44 PM

Thank you!

The theological basis behind the withdrawal of the chalice from the laity in the West was precisely that Holy Communion received under only one species is still Holy Communion - that's what John Huss denied. We have a tendency to do things just to make the point. I hadn't realised the drastic effect on the Communion of infants, though.
Posted By: Terry Bohannon

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/17/09 11:49 PM

Hey Nelson,

That could be, but the times I was at liturgy were during consecrations of two churches. I was told not to take communion by my Coptic friend, I did not ask a priest, there were many around, but I participated spiritually. It was nice seeing Pope Shenouda III take the time to answer questions. I just wish I knew Arabic so I could have understood the other half of what he said.

Terry
Posted By: Nelson Chase

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/18/09 12:35 AM

Hey Terry,

I didn't mean to come off saying Catholics could take Communion in Coptic Orthodox Churches, I just thought/think that Coptic Church had/has very good relations with the Catholic Communion.

I have to been to a Coptic Liturgy and it was a very spiritually rewarding for me. I pray for the day we can share communion with them.

Posted By: theophan

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/18/09 01:44 AM

Quote
If I read Precentrix's question correctly, the debate is over the legitimacy of the practice of ever giving out or receiving Holy Communion under only one kind, at any time for any reason.


Deacon Richard:

Then I'd have to say we all do it because I know of no practice wherein the consecrated Precious Blood is reserved for the communion of the sick. We don't take the Precious Blood to the sick, but when I accompanied an Orthodox priest to commune a sick person, he took unconsecrated wine with him for the sam reason that you mention for the Presanctified Liturgy.

BOB
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/18/09 05:40 AM

Quote
The theological basis behind the withdrawal of the chalice from the laity in the West was precisely that Holy Communion received under only one species is still Holy Communion - that's what John Huss denied. We have a tendency to do things just to make the point. I hadn't realised the drastic effect on the Communion of infants, though.


Huss was about two centuries after Lateran IV, and the reason for withdrawing the Chalice had nothing to do with theology, everything to do with fear of profanation of the Sacrament. That is to say, the clergy thought the laity were too sloppy to drink. There was never a deeper meaning behind the removal of the Chalice from the laity; it was a purely pastoral decision based on assumptions that would never fly today.

I also don't believe that Huss ever denied that the totality of Christ was present in either species, only that receiving ab utraque species was both biblically and theologically ideal. The modern Latin Church agrees.
Posted By: Irish Melkite

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/18/09 06:44 AM

As to the question about Coptic Orthodox communing in Latin Churches,

Canon 671, CCEO

Quote
2. If necessity requires it or genuine spiritual advantage suggests it and provided that the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided, it is permitted for Catholic Christian faithful, for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister, to receive
the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the
sick from non-Catholic ministers, in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.

3. Likewise Catholic ministers licitly administer the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick to Christian faithful of Eastern Churches, who do not have full communion with the Catholic Church, if they ask for them on their own and are properly disposed. This holds also for the Christian faithful of other Churches, who according to the judgment of the Apostolic See, are in the same condition as the Eastern Churches as far as the sacraments are concerned.


and

Canon 844, CIC

Quote
§2 Whenever necessity requires or a genuine spiritual advantage commends it, and provided the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided, Christ's faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a catholic minister, may lawfully receive the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick from non-catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.

§3 Catholic ministers may lawfully administer the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick to members of the eastern Churches not in full communion with the catholic Church, if they spontaneously ask for them and are properly disposed. The same applies to members of other Churches which the Apostolic See judges to be in the same position as the aforesaid eastern Churches so far as the sacraments are concerned.


(The final sentence of quoted text from both the above canons refers, for the moment, only to the Polish National Catholic Church in the US.)

That said, the Catholic Church recognizes that reception of the Mysteries by Orthodox Christians is contrary to the expressed discipline of their own Churches in many instances and recommends that the Orthodox faithful observe the dictates of their hierarchy in these matters. The objection to such is pretty much the norm among the Eastern Orthodox Churches, but the situation with the Oriental Orthodox is more complex.

I won't presume to state the current the current discipline of the Copts on this matter. There was, at one time, an informal agreement between Rome and Alexandria intended to assure the adequate provision of pastoral care to Copts separated from their own churches. I believe that it was principally intended to benefit Coptic Catholics who, outside their historic homelands, have significantly less pastoral resources available to them than do their Orthodox brethren. Whether that agreement is still viable, I'm uncertain - but doubtful, However, the allowance for Coptic Orthodox to commune in a Catholic church certainly exists under the cited canons - with the onus resting on the individual as to whether such is permitted by his Church.

As to others of the Oriental Orthodox Communion, the longest-standing formal pastoral provision exists between Rome and the Syriacs, being primarily intended to serve the two Syriac Churches, Catholic and Orthodox.

In the Middle East, particularly, the agreement involving the Syriac Orthodox is informally extended, principally to the Melkites, although reportedly also to the Maronites in some places. However, relationships between and among the Apostolic Churches in the Middle East generally, Catholic and Orthodox - both Oriental and Eastern, are significantly more accepting and informal than elsewhere; it isn't hard to understand that the nature of being a minority at risk has contributed to building such a collegial attitude.

The Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church (the Patriarchal faction), although not a formal party to the agreement, seem to indicate that they would honor it by reason of the Patriarch having entered into it.

The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (the Catholicos faction), on the other hand, would be unlikely to consider themselves parties to or bound by the agreement.

The Armenians, with their long history of cordial relations with Rome, have had such an agreement in place for many years. It is, to the best of my knowledge, informal (one periodically sees it referenced as being formalized, but I know of no one who claims to have ever seen the text of such).

Neither the Ethiopians nor Eritreans have any such agreement, formal nor informal, and I doubt either to be particularly receptive to the idea.

Albeit they are not truly 'Oriental Orthodox', the Assyrian Church is party to a formal pastoral agreement, virtually identical to that between Rome and the Syriacs. It is intended to be for the benefit of the Assyrian faithful and those of the Chaldean Church.

That agreement (probably less necessary than it was when forged, given the increased number of parishes that each Church now has in the diaspora) is still in place, although it likely suffered from the controversy surrounding the reception of Mar Bawai (Soro) into communion with the Chaldean Church. The Ancient Church of the East is not a party to the agreement and I don't know its formal attitude toward it, but I have read things which suggest that it is not strenuously opposed to the praxis.

Many years,

Neil
Posted By: Precentrix

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/18/09 12:14 PM

I am puzzled as to what on earth Lateran IV has to do with the matter?

Posted By: Fr Serge Keleher

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/18/09 03:50 PM

Normally the Holy Lamb reserved for the Communion of the sick is moistened with the Precious Blood before being dried and reserved. In many places, this is done on Holy Thursday and the Holy Lamb so reserved is used (in principle) for the entire year.

Fr. Serge
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/18/09 04:46 PM

Quote
I am puzzled as to what on earth Lateran IV has to do with the matter?


It was due to the ruling of Lateran IV (1215) that the Latin Church began distributing communion to the laity under one species--as noted, for spurious pastoral reasons. Everything that came after that was merely an ex post facto attempt to rationalize theologically that which had become common practice.
Posted By: theophan

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/18/09 05:54 PM

NEIL:

Christ is in our midst!! He is and always will be!!

I understand all the canons about communing Eastern Christians not in communion who come with "proper disposition, etc." What I was picking up on in the original post was the expressed statement that persons communing came forward but did not believe that they were, in fact, receiving the Lord in a Latin Church. Somehow, to me, there is a disconnect here. Why would someone come to Holy Communion while at the same time denying that they were, infact, receiving the Mystery?
BOB
Posted By: GMmcnabb

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/19/09 03:46 AM

Originally Posted by StuartK
Quote
I am puzzled as to what on earth Lateran IV has to do with the matter?


It was due to the ruling of Lateran IV (1215) that the Latin Church began distributing communion to the laity under one species--as noted, for spurious pastoral reasons. Everything that came after that was merely an ex post facto attempt to rationalize theologically that which had become common practice.


After looking over the entire Lateran IV council, I am afraid that you are mistaken on this point. Lateran IV declared Transubstantiation but makes no mention of reception under one species.

Communion under one kind was first made the rule during session XIII of the Council of Constance. This particular session seems to indicate the reasons for this were that some had taken to recieving Communion without fasting and after supper " since they pertinaciously assert that communion should be enjoyed.." (DS 626) and later it mentions that Christ is fully present under both species.
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/19/09 04:10 AM

Quote
After looking over the entire Lateran IV council, I am afraid that you are mistaken on this point. Lateran IV declared Transubstantiation but makes no mention of reception under one species.


You are correct. I transposed two statements in Father Robert Taft's essay Liturgy in the Life of the Church, which gave me this false impression:

Quote
The practice began to be called into question in the 12th century not because of any argument about the need to have attained the “age of reason” (aetus discretionis) to communicate. Rather, the fear of profanation of the Host if the child could not swallow it led to giving the Precious Blood only. And then the forbidding of the chalice to the laity in the West led automatically to the disappearance of infant Communion, too. This was not the result of any pastoral or theological reasoning. When the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) ordered yearly confession and Communion for those who have reached the “age of reason” (annos discretionis), it was not affirming this age as a requirement for reception of the Eucharist.


In fact, the practice begins in the century prior to Lateran IV; Lateran IV was merely taking notice of what had already happened.

Taft goes on to note:

Quote
Nevertheless, the notion eventually took hold that Communion could not be received until the age of reason, even though infant Communion in the Latin rite continued in some parts of the West until the 16th century. Though the Fathers of Trent (Session XXI,4) denied the necessity of infant Communion, they refused to agree with those who said it was useless and inefficacious—realizing undoubtedly that the exact same arguments used against infant Communion could also be used against infant baptism, because for over ten centuries in the West, the same theology was used to justify both! For the Byzantine rite, on December 23, 1534, Paul III explicitly confirmed the Italo-Albanian custom of administering Communion to infants.


The key point of this discussion is summarized by Taft in this statement:

Quote
So the plain facts of history show that for 1200 years the universal practice of the entire Church of East and West was to communicate infants. Hence, to advance doctrinal arguments against infant Communion is to assert that the sacramental teaching and practice of the Roman Church was in error for 1200 years. Infant Communion was not only permitted in the Roman Church, at one time the supreme magisterium taught that it was necessary for salvation. In the Latin Church the practice was not suppressed by any doctrinal or pastoral decision, but simply died out. Only later, in the 13th century, was the ‘age of reason’ theory advanced to support the innovation of baptizing infants without also giving them Communion. So the “age of reason” requirement for Communion is a medieval Western pastoral innovation, not a doctrinal argument. And the true ancient tradition of the whole Catholic Church is to give Communion to infants. Present Latin usage is a medieval innovation.


With the restoration of communion under both species in the Latin Church, there is no longer any reason not to restore infant communion as well.
Posted By: Irish Melkite

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/19/09 05:14 AM

Originally Posted by theophan
What I was picking up on in the original post was the expressed statement that persons communing came forward but did not believe that they were, in fact, receiving the Lord in a Latin Church. Somehow, to me, there is a disconnect here. Why would someone come to Holy Communion while at the same time denying that they were, infact, receiving the Mystery?


Bob,

Not sure - habit, maybe? (Go to church, go to Mass/Liturgy, receive Communion).

Many years,

Neil
Posted By: Precentrix

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/19/09 05:24 PM

Bob,

I had wondered the same thing. I suspect that they just hadn't really thought much about it - these guys are quite 'secular' in their outlook on life in general.

Anyway, guys, thanks for all the help;

Julie Michelle
Posted By: theophan

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/19/09 07:02 PM

Maybe it's just me.

Some years ago, I went to the First Holy Communion of my godson in another state. The pastor there insisted that he wanted everyone--all the parents--to come forward and receive with their children. Now my sister and her husband were uncomfortable because they'd never had their marriage blessed in church--indeed, he needed an annulment from his first marriage and they'd been married in a civil ceremony. They thought they'd decline. There was also a family there that the father was Jewish and he really ddin't want to be part of this, even when the pastor insisted.

But, then, I see this moment as the defining moment of a person's life--that most intimate moment when one touches Divinity and Divinity touches me; the most improtant act that I will do or participate in this side of eternity. I read St. Paul's admonition before receiving--about examining oneself so as not to be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. Maybe I'm off; too strict or whatever.

BOB
Posted By: StuartK

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/19/09 07:13 PM

The pastor was way out of bounds, and more than a little out of his gourd, if you ask me. Did he even bother to inquire about the status of the parents and godparents before he made this request? What do they teach them in the seminaries, these days?
Posted By: theophan

Re: Help?? Infant Communion... - 11/19/09 07:48 PM

Stuart:

My rule of thumb was given to me by my pastor as I was graduating high school in 1968. "In the future you won't be able to trust your pasrish priest because of the direction the seminaries are going. You'll have to know the Faith and teach it to your children yourself." (And I'm sure he also meant I'd ahve to correct the craziness that they might bring home from religious programs gone amok. I've seen that, too.)

BOB
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