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Hello,

I had a question about infant/toddler communion in the Byzantine rite churches. How is it usually administered? Just a little drop on the spoon I assume?

and how common is it? in say the Ruthenian or Ukranian Greek Catholic churches?

just because at a certain age - especially when kids are in that toddler stage - they are a lot more harder to manage in church. So how exactly is a kid handled in such situations for communion ? (What if he/she spits out? etc)

And certain kids can turn more hyper than others- are such kids avoided?

Basically kids are hard to manage, especially at that 1 -3 yrs phase, so how is communion given to them in a right way?

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Dear JamesofMalabar,

Greetings!

Infant Communion at the time of Baptism and Chrismation is very widespread within the Ukrainian Catholic church that I am familiar with being of that church.

It would involve anything from a very small portion of the Precious Blood of Jesus from the Communion spoon to simply dipping the spoon in the Chalice and placing it in the mouth without making him or her gag, of course.

I've been to many baptisms where this is done and I've yet to see a problem with any infant.

Cheers, Alex

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Very small portion...very quickly administered.

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OK. thanks!

Another follow up question I have is - I'm SyroMalabar Cath and in our Malabar Church even tho we confirm all sacraments of initiation to infants now (ever since 2005-06), we practically don't commune kids again until the age of 7 or so. so at baptism the infant receives communion following baptism & chrismation. But after that, a child will only receive communion again at age 7 or so following his first confession. I think this is due to the heavy Latinization that's affected the Malabar Church over her history (like 300 yrs of Latinization).

So with this scenario in mind, is it strange or wrong for me (canonically Syro-Malabar) to take my toddler for communion at a Byzantine Cath church?

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Christ is in our midst!!

JamesofMalabar,

In the Catholic Church one is free to commune in any of the sui juris Churches that make up the Church. I think it might cause more eyebrow raising for me, a Latin, to take my child to communion in another sui juris Church because of the Latin Church's discipline. And I don't think it makes any difference that your own sui juris Church is not of the Byzantine tradition. If I were you, I would not hesitate.

Bob

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James, once your child has received communion, he can receive communion, even in the Latin Church (my children have when we have been away from one of our own parishes). In the case of the Latins, there may be some push back because of lack of education. Certainly you can go to a BCC and not have to worry about the lack of education aspect.

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@ akemner

I did ask the Latin priest about it ... the closest Latin parish near our home. just 3 minutes away. And he said "No". He basically told us the kid doesn't know anything. and would need to be catechized and then be ready to receive after that by age 7 at the minimum.

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Another question I have is ... is there a different understanding of communion to kids under age 7 between the Byzantine (Ruthenian) and Ukranian (UGCC) churches?

my local Latin priest told me, that the Ukranians don't commune kids as well. That they only give communion at the age of reason.

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JamesofMalabar,

Why don't you ask the priests at each of these parishes? As for "the kid doesn't know anything," I would have to ask this priest why Churches of Apostolic origin have this practice and their children have not been "catechized." It appears that being catechized is only something peculiar to the Latin Catholic Church.

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So, I got my Master's in Pastoral Theology in a program where most of my classmates were in a Roman Catholic deacon formation program together (the degree supported the academic formation for this diocese's deacon program).

When we had our sacraments class on the Eucharist, we talked quite a bit about how the Latin Church gave children communion-IIRC, Rome was the last place in the West to give it up during the 15th century. The reason for the loss was because of the reservation of chalice to the clergy (no Blood means babies cannot receive). The problem was further compounded by an inversion of thought after Trent that the minima set by Trent became maxima in practice. What I mean with regard to communion is that Trent said that children had to make their first communion by the age of reason, it it was not necessary as they did not have the capacity to sin. That became in the 17-18th centuries that children could not receive before the age of reason because they did not understand what they were receiving. The age of reason got pushed back to something like age 14 by the early 20th century. During all this time, Confirmation was always before First Communion. When Pius X lowered the age back to the Tridentine age of reason of 7, he thus lowered the age of reception of communion, but did not fix the ideas that one had to rationally know what the Eucharist is, that sinning is a prerequisite of receiving communion, and left Confirmation hanging in places where it was administered right before First Communion (instead of as soon after baptism as possible when the bishop could make his parochial visitation).

That is the short version of what we were taught in that course (this diocese, Davenport to be precise, has an official policy that Eastern Catholic children are not to be denied communion).

Unfortunately, many Eastern Catholic parishes still hold that the rather very recent Latin practice the is one to imitate, and it is difficult to dislodge. The Ruthenians, Romanians, and Melkites score the best in this regard, at least in my experience.

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Originally Posted by akemner
James, once your child has received communion, he can receive communion, even in the Latin Church (my children have when we have been away from one of our own parishes). In the case of the Latins, there may be some push back because of lack of education. Certainly you can go to a BCC and not have to worry about the lack of education aspect.
Canonically he cannot say no. Write his bishop.


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Originally Posted by Fr. Deacon Lance
Originally Posted by akemner
James, once your child has received communion, he can receive communion, even in the Latin Church (my children have when we have been away from one of our own parishes). In the case of the Latins, there may be some push back because of lack of education. Certainly you can go to a BCC and not have to worry about the lack of education aspect.
Canonically he cannot say no. Write his bishop.

So the thing is the Latin priest told me communion for younger kids/toddlers is not the norm in the Syro-Malabar Church as well (which is the truth). so he goes why should we here? that was his argument.

The Syro-Malabar Church altho confers all sacraments of initiation, communion is given to kids again only after their first confession (which is by age 7 or so).
I think this is practically done because many of the Syro-Malabar dioceses in India only switched to this eastern way very recently - like around 2016-2017 time. and one jurisdiction (Ernakulam-Angamaly Archeparchy) still does things the Latin way. So because of this the status of various kids could be in different stages. Some kids might only be baptized.
(pretty much the Malabar Church is heavily Latinized and is going through an identity crisis).

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Perhaps we are making too much of Infant Communion? Is this about identity politics - like so much else is in today's world?

I was not communed at my Baptism/Chrismation and I grew up only partially Latinized. My Polish did not improve as a result and I feel no inclination to cross myself with the whole hand nor do I feel any sudden, inexplicable jerky motion in my arm to touch my left shoulder first . . .

If someone can show how Infant Communion brings infants closer to Christ - as opposed to just having their parents feel really "Eastern" (whatever that means) - then perhaps this would have a point.

Until such time, I would strongly recommend to those EC's who are thinking of "Doxing" (do we still say that here?) because they can't find an EC parish that will commune infants as a measure of hopeless Latinization or because the RC parish won't allow it as proof they are out to de-Easternize us, to just bring in some frankincense and calm down about it.

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My concern started with the existence of my own rite in the diaspora community (USA). Especially as a 2nd generation Syro-Malabar Cath. The Latin Church has existed in North America for well over 200 years. So what is the point of a heavily Latinized eastern church on the side? when the original Latin church is already here?

Now, if we are "eastern" why can't we just be eastern then?

It's even more odd when all sacraments of initiation are give to infants. And then they take maybe a 6 to 7 year break till their next communion? (none of this makes any logical sense. like it doesn't add up).

Pretty much what ends up happening is - it becomes neither Latin or eastern - it turns into it's own thing.

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Dear Alex,

I dislike this form of argumentation because it avoids the question and instead begs to the lowest denominator, and dismisses the concerns of individuals. Does X Eastern practice bring person Y closer to Christ, if not why not continue Rosary, Adoration, Stations, etc. At the end of the day, practicing in a Latin Church totally may or may not bring a child closer to Christ, practicing in an Eastern parish may or may not bring a child closer to Christ, practicing in an Orthodox parish may or may not bring a person closer to Christ, rejecting both Catholicism and Orthodoxy for Pentecostalism may or may not bring a person closer to Christ. None of these can be controlled 100%, we as parents can only do as much as we can. We expect our Churches to support, not hinder this. When the parish practice becomes the hinderance and the leadership provide no solution but to tell you nothing on the obvious contradictions in the theology and teaching vs. praxis, one can play along, play dumb, pretend it's all in sync, or just move on.

Leaders providing improper guidance, while dismissing concerns is not a solution, not in the long-term anyway.

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