Rules to receive the Eucharist

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    I remember when I first became a Catholic one had to fast from midnite on and no liquids(expect water),then they changed it to 4 hours before,now it’s 1 hour.Do any of you “old timers” remember fasting after midnite?


    I’m not an “old timer” by any means, being a new convert.

    However, if it means anything to you, I once had a conversation with a retired person who told me about the previous policy of fasting from midnight until after Mass.

    He then said in a joking manner that the policy gave people an incentive to attend an early Sunday morning Mass instead of a later one.



    There was an old song about how Catholics had to get up earlier in the morning than Protestants in order to get to Mass.

    Until the reign of Pope Pius XII Mass could not be offered after Noon, even the vigil Mass on Holy Saturday was started a few minutes before Noon, ending the fasting for Lent at Noon on Holy Saturday. As I posted elswhere, when old practices like the Midnight Eucharistic Fast where abrogated, the Popes who shortened the fasts, (Pius XII and Paul VI) encouraged all who could to keep the old customs.

    Even when the Midnight Eucharistic Fast was in force, there was a general indult, (permission) for anyone who was sick, (Chronic or acute illnesses) and for Firemen, Police, (during their shift) Active duty Servicemen ingaged in a War and others who needed to eat in order to keep their strenght, or to avoid becoming more debilitated to eat before Communion.

    Funny how someone who is on a crash diet will skip breakfast, but can’t wait an hour before communion to keep the fast.



    I’m not an old timer either, and this is the first time I’ve heard that the fast used to be longer than an hour. Personally, I’m glad there is still a mandatory fast, so that people can practice a form of self-restraint at least once a week. I was wondering if anyone knows whether anything other than water can be drank within the hour fast.

    In Christ,




    The Church being the Body of Christ and founded by our Lord does not ever require us to do anything that would harm our health, therefore medications or food that may be required to maintain health are permitted. It is for that reason that someone who is ill, or in danger of death may be administered communion or in the case of someone who is dying but still able to swallow, and alert enough to know what they are doing in the reception of communion to have the sacrament administered even if they have just eaten.

    Even in the days of the midnight fast, (Which most Eastern Rite Catholics and Eastern Orthodox still hold to) some people who where prone to scruples, would worry about swallowing a little water and toothpaste if they brushed their teeth before communion. A non-intentional swallowing of toothpaste was not considered enough to bar one from the reception of the Blessed Sacrament. Convincing someone with scruples of that was another issue.

    As each case if individual, if someone is not sure, they should take the issue up with his or her confessor or spiritual director, (if in fact they are two different priests)

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