Since Vatican II, one of the novel developments has been the reception of the body and blood of our Lord under both species. In Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Council Fathers allowed for reception of communion under both species, but it is difficult to conclude from the text itself that the Fathers imagined our current practice where most of the laity receive from the chalice on a regular basis. In the future, I will look into more sources in the West and in the East, but for now I offer these remarks.

In our current practice, we are seeing the rise of a belief which seems to align with the older heresy of utraquism. Many people who favor communion under both species seem to hold the view that it is necessary and superior to only receiving under one species. As with most ideas, there is not a consistent doctrine, but rather a network of ideas that point to some underlying principles.

To address these ideas, I began by looking at the practice and compare it to the pre-Conciliar Church and the Eastern Churches, particular the Greek and Coptic Orthodox. What immediately emerges is that in all Apostolic Churches (even those who are not in communion with Rome) there is a distinction in the communion and participation of the “High Priest” or main celebrant, and those who are participating in a supporting role.

With the emergence of this new form of utraquism, this distinction has been totally confused. Implicit in this rejection is the rejection of hierarchy in general, and the unique role of ministerial priesthood in particular. It is not clear how much this is the case, but I would also add that the sense of the inner sanctuary of the Church being the holy of holies is also greatly diminished. Furthermore, I believe this compromises the separation of the sacred and the profane. Your thoughts?