Is Intinction Allowed?

FernandesReverence for the Most Holy Eucharist is a hot topic for Catholics in the know. Shouldn’t people at least bow before receiving Holy Communion? What happened to the altar rail? What about Catholics who are on their second “marriage”? Are they allowed to receive Jesus? Fr. Earl Fernandes, Dean of the Athenaeum, recently answered one such question for a reader of The Catholic Telegraph.

Dear Father, Recently, I have observed a parishioner receiving the Eucharist by dipping the Sacred Host into the Precious Blood and then consuming it. I have always been under the impression that this is not permissible. Can someone receive Communion this way?

Dear Reader, Thank you for your question. You are describing something called intinction. Intinction is one means by which people may receive Holy Communion under both species. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (Third Edition, 2002) makes mention of intinction (n. 287):

If Communion from the chalice is carried out by intinction, each communicant, holding a communion-plate under the chin, approaches the priest, who holds a vessel with the sacred particles, a minister standing at his side and holding the chalice. The priest takes a host, dips it partly into the chalice and, showing it, says, Corpus et Sanguis Christi (The Body and Blood of Christ). The communicant responds, Amen, receives the Sacrament in the mouth from the priest, and then withdraws.

Intinction is quite common in the Christian East, but it is rare in these parts. I have seen Communion distributed by the priest through intinction and use of a spoon in the Eastern churches. Some years ago when I was in Armenia, the Armenian Apostolic Church and Armenian Catholic Church both distributed Communion via intinction. I offered Mass in the Roman Rite, but since everyone was accustomed to receiving via intinction, a religious stood beside me holding the chalice with the Precious Blood into which I dipped the Host and then gave Communion on the tongue to the faithful. If a deacon is present, since he is a proper, ordinary minister of the chalice, it would seem appropriate for him to hold the chalice as the priest intincts.

Continue Reading Is Intinction Allowed?

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