|One of the significant changes for
the faithful in the Code of Canon Law which was promulgated
in 1983 was the permission to receive Holy Communion more than once
per day. In the past the law set certain conditions, such as
participation in a funeral, marriage or ordination Mass. The new
canon, however, simply states,
What it is saying is that if one attends a Mass after
receiving Holy Communion previously that day, one may receive it
again. If it is not a Mass, but a Communion Service for example,
one may not receive again.
c.917 A person who has received the Most Holy Eucharist may receive it again (iterum) on the same day only during the celebration
of the Eucharist in which the person participates, with due regard for the prescription of can. 921, part 2.
However, since the Church encourages the full participation of
the laity in the Masses they attend, including Holy Communion (if
they are worthy), the question arose whether this canon might not
permit Holy Communion in any Mass, regardless of the number
of times one attended per day. After numerous bishops asked this
question of the Holy See, the Pontifical Commission for the
Authentic Interpretation of Legislative texts gave the following
authentic interpretation, approved by Pope John Paul II,
Doubt: Whether, according to canon 917, one who has already
received the Most Holy Eucharist may receive it again on the same
day only a second time, or as often as one participates
in the celebration of the Eucharist.
Response: Affirmative to the first; negative to the second. [AAS
76, (1984) 746]
In the accompanying commentary it was explained that the meaning
of again (iterum) was to allow a second time, but not a
third, fourth etc... The exception to this is the one given in the
law itself, canon 921, 2.
2. Even if they have received Communion in the same day, those
who are in danger of death are strongly urged to receive again.
- Thus, Communion given as Viaticum may be received at any
One final note, this law applies to Latin Rite Catholics. Iin the
Eastern Catholic Churches the practice of frequent daily Divine
Liturgy (Mass) is not found, and so the Code of Canons of the
Eastern Churches is silent on this matter.