Catholic Church: Limits on receiving Communion

I commented elsewhere on this blog that, at times three years ago, I was going to Mass and consquently receiving Communion 3 to 4 times per day. It was part of my journey to having a spiritual relationship with Jesus. The Dean of the local Cathedral saw me at the three Sunday morning Masses and the Sunday evening Mass, and at the weekday Masses. If there was a problem surely he would have told me. Does the Roman Catholic Church have a limit on how many times someone can recieve Communion in one day? I was always told that you couldn’t receive Communion more than once per day. The Code of Canon Law indicates a restriction of twice per day, with exceptions for illness.

Can. 917 A person who has already received the Most Holy Eucharist can receive it a second time on the same day only within the eucharistic celebration in which the person participates,
Can. 919 §1. A person who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before holy communion from any food and drink, except for only water and medicine.
Can. 920 §1. After being initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, each of the faithful is obliged to receive holy communion at least once a year.
§2. This precept must be fulfilled during the Easter season unless it is fulfilled for a just cause at another time during the year.

Did I have a problem going to Mass and Communion so many times? No. Did I consider it a sin? No. Did I observe the fasting rules? After the second Sunday morning Mass I went to have the free coffee, cake and biscuits (because I was homeless and hungry), so no I didn’t always not eat before Mass. And that wasn’t a sin either. Communion is still important for me at my current church.

For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Romans 3:28 (NIV)

On a side note … Jesus came to fullfill the Law. Not impose a new Law. Maybe one of the Cathoics who read this blog could explain why there is a Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law, and why would Jesus have wanted anyone to follow such Law. Everyone who is saved knows what sin is. It is written on their heart.

This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
Hebrews 8:10-13 (NIV)

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11 Replies to “Catholic Church: Limits on receiving Communion”

  1. I always understood the rule to be that you could only take mass once per day except in the case of a nuptual or requiem mass. NB: I am not a Catholic.

  2. There is a large difference between the Jewish Law and the Code of Canon Law, Gez.

    Further, you may wish to read some of the NPP on Paul and Law.

  3. In regards to the questions about why there is Canon Law in the Catholic Church, the following is a quote from Pope Paul VI’s Essential Role of Canon Law in the Life of the Church: “For this reason (Canon) law is not merely a crucial element in the essential structure of the community, but it also protects and safeguards the dignity of the Christian inasmuch as he is constituted in the likeness of Christ and a son of God” and “Its function is to sustain, defend and protect the common drive towards an ever more complete fulfillment of the Christian life.” In some ways, it responds to the reality that members of the Church, lay and ordained, continue to sin even after being incorporated into the Body of Christ, thus the need to “protect” their rights as members of the Church.

  4. Timothy :
    In regards to the questions about why there is Canon Law in the Catholic Church, the following is a quote from Pope Paul VI’s Essential Role of Canon Law in the Life of the Church: “For this reason

    For what reason? The crucial part is missing, what was the reason?

  5. Glen,

    Below is what came immediately before:

    “If we further consider man as a Christian, as a member of the People of God in the life of the Church, we see that the function of law is not foreign to the mystery of salvation, nor does it stop short on the threshold. For whatever concerns the human person finds its place in the divine plan of salvation. Consequently, the economy of salvation embraces—together with the human person and precisely because of it—the whole heritage of law, for this latter is bound up inextricably with justice and with the human person.”

    For more of the document:

  6. Whatever the reason, this is also a difference in a Catholic approach that recognizes tradition as an authority. Canons are not a modern invention, but rather there were canons at the Council of Nicea, Council of Chalcedon and other eccumenical councils. It would seem to follow, for us as Catholics at least, that anyone who takes the Nicene Creed seriously would not necessarily have a problem with canons.

    1. Some Protestants maybe. But “How very protestant” is a bit like “how very Caucasian.” But as a rule once a year is fairly un-protestant. Spurgeon (Baptist), Jonathan Edwards (Congregational), John Calvin (Presbyterian), John Wesley (Methodist), etc. recommended that it be done weekly.

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