Communion under both kinds


The present practise of the Roman Rite is to give Holy Communion only under the species of bread. Only priests sacrificing receive under both kinds. The Council of Trent declared there was no Divine precept for others, neither are they deprived of any necessary graces, since the Body and Blood of Christ, whole and entire, is receiveq in each species. For weighty and just reasons the Church gave the force of law to the custom of Communion under the species of bread only. The Utraquist controversy (sub utraque specie, under both species) was definitely settled by this council. The necessity of communion under both kinds was first asserted in the 14th century in Bohemia, as a phase of the Hussite heresy and was considered in the councils of Constance (1415) and Basel (1431). Later revived by the Reformers, the Council of Trent left this decision to the pope. Pius IV authorized the giving of the chalice to the laity in Austria and Bohemia, but the practise did not flourish. Communion under both kinds has always been and is still practised with exceptions in the Eastern Church. That no Divine command exists is evident from Sacred Scripture. In the Gospel of Saint John (6) the same effects are promised to Communion under one or both kinds. It is a free question whether greater graces are received in Communion under both kinds, but the inconveniences of the practise outweigh the loss of these graces. Irreverence to the sacrament through danger of spilling, corruption, or the impossibility of procuring sufficient pure wine, may be instanced. The question is a matter of discipline and does not affect the substance of the sacrament. Exceptions to Communion under both kinds existed from the beginning and gradually for the reasons cited and others equally good, Communion under the species of bread alone becarye customary.

MLA Citation

  • “Communion under both kinds”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 20 December 2010. Web. 17 January 2019. <>