Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
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For many grave reasons. This custom inculcates in a practical way that Christ is completely present under either kind. It excludes the heretical doctrine that it is absolutely necessary for Communion to partake of the chalice. It removes the danger of irreverence to the Precious Blood by upsetting or spilling it. It spares the recipients the danger of infection by their drinking from the same chalice. It enables a Priest to celebrate Mass and distribute Communion without keeping the congregation an undue length of time, a reason which has particular force in the Catholic Church where hundreds go to Communion at early Masses. It secures uniformity of practice throughout the Church, for whilst flour is easily obtained for the purposes of bread, and easily kept, wine cannot be secured in sufficient quantity in many countries, above all in foreign missions.
The fact that the Catholic Church does so is sufficient proof that she is justified in doing so. However, let us view the theology of the matter. Jesus gave Himself under both kinds, yet He was completely present in either kind. He who receives either kind receives the whole Christ. In any case, Christ being risen dies no more. It is not possible now to separate Christ's body and blood in actual fact. Wherever Christ is, there He is whole and entire. He is wholly under the appearances of bread and wholly under the appearances of wine. In receiving the Blessed Sacrament under the form of bread the communicant receives the Blood of Christ also. In receiving under the form of wine alone he would receive the Body also. There is no possibility of receiving the Body of Christ without the Blood of Christ
The practice is not anti-Christian. Reception under one kind only is quite sufficient for Holy Communion. Our Lord said simply, "If any man eat of this bread he shall live forever, for the bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of the world." Jn. VI., 52. In the early Church Communion was at times given to little children by giving them a few drops of the consecrated wine only. The martyrs would often take into the arena with them the Blessed Sacrament under the form of bread only, wrapped in linen, to give themselves Communion before death. The practice is quite in accordance with the doctrine of St. Paul, "Whosoever shall eat or drink unworthily shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord." 1 Cor. XL, 27.
It is not in the Authorized Version, but you will find it in the Revised Version. Protestant scholars admit that the substitution of and for or in the Authorized Version was an inexcusable translation of the Greek for polemical purposes.
The Priest does not always receive under both kinds. If for some reason he cannot celebrate Mass, yet desires to receive Holy Communion, he receives under the form of bread only, just as any other communicant. If he celebrates Mass, he must consecrate both kinds for the sake of the Sacrifice, the separate consecrations being necessary for the representation of Christ's death by the shedding of His blood on the Cross. Having consecrated under both kinds the Priest must consume both kinds. But even in doing so, he receives no more than the laity, for both Priest and lay communicant receive the complete Christ, and more than the complete Christ cannot be received. But your objection proceeds from a complete misunderstanding of the nature of the Eucharist. The idea of the officiating Priest having a "drink of wine" which is denied to the laity does great injury to the reverence due to the Presence of Christ, and is utterly absurd. About an egg-cup full of wine is used in the celebration of Mass, and in any case if a Priest did merely want a drink of wine there is no need for him to vest himself elaborately and spend half an hour saying Mass in order to have it.
A Priest commits a grave sin of sacrilege if he celebrates Mass whilst he himself is in a state of mortal sin. But that would not render the consecration invalid. The words of consecration have their effect quite apart from the state of the celebrant's soul. He consecrates in virtue of his priesthood, not in virtue of his being in a state of grace or of sin. It is his loss if he be not in God's grace, but the communicant suffers no loss in receiving Communion from his hands. It is the priesthood of Christ in him that consecrates, and that is not less efficacious because a Priest sins personally.
Any baptized child could receive Holy Communion with profit. The early Christians frequently gave Communion even to infants. However, the Church for wise reasons requires in her present discipline that children should have attained sufficient reason to be able, after due instruction, to know that the Blessed Sacrament differs from ordinary food, and that by receiving it they are receiving Christ.
As a rule, yes. The law of the Church to receive Holy Communion once a year obliges all Catholics who have come to the use of reason, and this law begins to oblige from about the age of seven. The average child of seven certainly has enough sense to realize that the reception of the Holy Eucharist is a religious act. It can know who Our Lord is, and the fact that He is present in the Blessed Sacrament. Such a child is quite capable of approaching with sincere faith and devotion.