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Ask Fr. Franics: Is it true that the Host contains the body and the blood of Christ?

The following is an excerpt from askfrfrancis.org. Fr. Francis Ching, CC answers tough questions about the Catholic faith.

Question: 

Is it true that the Host already contains the body and the blood of Christ? If so, during Holy Communion at Mass, why do we have to receive both the body and blood? Can we just receive the body and suffice?

Fr. Francis' answer:

When the host and the chalice are consecrated at Mass, each part of the host, and each drop of the chalice, is transformed into the totality of the glorified Christ, that is, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Traditionally, when we refer to the consecrated host as “Body of Christ” and the consecrated chalice as “Blood of Christ”, that was merely for ease of reference, but not technically accurate in reality.

"The consecrated host is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, and the chalice is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. Receiving one or the other is receiving the whole Christ. Indeed, technically, there is no need to receive both."

In fact, because of the greater danger to spillage and abuse, for many centuries, the Church has withheld the chalice from the faithful, reasoning that it is sufficient to receive the host alone, for it is the whole Christ.

The chalice was re-introduced into the Eucharistic liturgy at Vatican II, not because the host is insufficient, but rather has a way to enrich the symbolism and the overabundance of God’s grace. By allowing the faithful to have access to both the host and the chalice at certain special times of the year, they are invited into appreciating more the fullness of what they are receiving, by allowing more of the visible symbol to arouse in us the reality and fullness of Christ’s Real Presence.

It was the intention of Vatican II that Communion under both species to be given for only certain special occasions, like Holy Thursday, Corpus Christi, First Communion, etc., but some places have gone ahead to introduce a new practice of providing Communion under both species all the time. This has created new catechetical and pastoral challenges...

Read the full answer here!

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