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Menstruation and receiving communion


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#21 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 05:08 PM

I believe that is because the Apostles told us to, from the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 15 ("...and from blood" verses 20 & 29).

#22 Marge Kostas

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 05:19 PM

And yet in Luke 8:40-49 the woman with the bleeding disorder touched the hem of Christ's garment. Shouldn't this tell us that women shouldn't be barred from communion during menses or times of bleeding? Christ did not shun her for this action, nor think her unclean.

#23 Owen

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 06:08 PM

I think the original prohibition was based on a false notion that the Holy Blood might, in some mysterious maner, leak out during menses, or if the recipient has a bleeding lesion of some sort. Thankfully, we now have a better education of how our bodies really work, and need not fear that we dishonor the Mystery when we receive Communion under the above-mentioned conditions.

#24 Paul Cowan

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 06:08 PM

I am a dude, so what do I know...Menses is not a bleeding disorder. When Christ stopped St. Veronica's (?) bleeding are you suggesting He induced menopause on her? The story says He stopped her flow of blood. My take on this was she was hemorraging inside and this cured her. But like I said, I'm a dude, what do I know?

#25 Nina

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 06:34 PM

You are right, Paul. Menses are not a bleeding disorder. These are not simply matters of simple nature. There is a lot of mystery in these. Plus I am a woman and confident enough not to be bothered by such prohibitions. Sometime obedience is in these areas too.

#26 Marge Kostas

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 07:39 PM

Bleeding disorder, or menses. I thought the issue was that the blood was considered 'unclean' - so I pointed out that an 'unclean' woman touched the hem of Christ's garment. And he didn't shun her. Could a man approach the chalice if he's cut himself shaving? Or could any of us if we had small scrapes or wounds? None of us are worthy - but communion in Catholic (& I believe Orthodox) tradition is for ALL believers - and I don't think God would separate us from the mystery due to a woman's monthly bleeding or other medical maladies.

#27 Father David Moser

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 07:44 PM

And yet in Luke 8:40-49 the woman with the bleeding disorder touched the hem of Christ's garment. Shouldn't this tell us that women shouldn't be barred from communion during menses or times of bleeding? Christ did not shun her for this action, nor think her unclean.


Actually the hem of the garment is considered to be unclean according to Jewish ritual law (kind of like a "buffer zone" between the uncleanness of whatever might be found on the ground and the clean person). It was for this reason that St Veronica, who knew that she was unclean, touched only the hem of our Lord's garment, so that she would not, by contact with her uncleanness render Him also unclean. (Of course we know that the God/man could never be unclean so this was not of a real concern to Him, but to St Veronica, it was of supreme importance.) When our Lord addressed her, she had been already healed and was no longer ritually unclean.

Fr David Moser

#28 Michael Astley

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 11:00 PM

Could a man approach the chalice if he's cut himself shaving? Or could any of us if we had small scrapes or wounds?


I cannot cite chapter and verse, but it seems to have found its way into my consciousness from somewhere that a man serving in the altar must leave if he cuts himself and is bledding, and remain so withdrawn until such time as the bleeding has ceased. Perhaps somebody else knows this for certain.

What, if anything, this adds to the discussion, I do not know, but I thought I would share.

In Christ,
Michael

#29 Paul Cowan

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 11:20 PM

This is what I was told for the server that cuts himself while cutting the prosphora.

#30 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 02:17 AM

If one is wounded after receiving Communion, any bloodied bandages are to be disposed of in the same manner as holy things.

#31 Ryan

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 02:20 AM

If one is wounded after receiving Communion, any bloodied bandages are to be disposed of in the same manner as holy things.


How long would one be expected to observe this?

#32 Marge Kostas

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 07:42 PM

Don't Priests take communion to people who are hospitalized? What if those who are in hospital have had 'surgeries' and are therefore 'unclean', with blood? I know we've ventured from the original post about menses and partaking communion, but this puzzles me....

#33 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 01:35 AM

It a person is bleeding, I suspect active medical procedures to stop the bleeding, or perhaps unction might be more appropriate at the time than communion, but I would never presume to second-guess a priest.

Merely bleeding is not ritually "unclean", menstruation is. If a person bleeds the day of communion (I am not cognizant of what appropriate time periods are, perhaps the clergy can provide edifying counsel), the bandages are to be treated the same as holy things, not that they are unclean, but cannot be disposed of like just any thing.

#34 Nina

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 01:49 AM

Don't Priests take communion to people who are hospitalized? What if those who are in hospital have had 'surgeries' and are therefore 'unclean', with blood? I know we've ventured from the original post about menses and partaking communion, but this puzzles me....


I had subchoreonic bleed when I was pregnant and was admitted in the hospital. Our son Nicholas was born prematurely and departed. My Spiritual Father came before Nicholas was born and we had the Mysteries of Confession, Holy Unction and Holy Communion. He told me that I can receive Holy Communion at that moment because of the severity of the case. The Church is Love because the Head is Christ. But in the case of menses it is better also for the woman to stay home and relax because more often than not menses are not just a nuisance for the woman.

#35 R. Greene

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 09:56 PM

I don't find any great pride in saying I just went along with something, even if I call it obedience. Nevertheless, I do not receive communion during menses simply out of honor. Yet what I see most frequently is the concern that somehow the mysteries are contaminated by a mensing woman, and we dare not do anything that would release these gifts. One could go so far as to argue that we ought not even sneeze or use the bathroom and fluids will be released. I don't happen to think God in his wisdom was that shortsighted either.
And while I can see the whole contamination of thought by feminism, I am hesitant to do anything to make my own girls feel less valued by God. That deeply bothers me personally, as I come from a protestant sector that is famous for dehumanizing females. so much so that our priest made a point to place my right beside dh in our marital blessing ceremony and make sure he understood we were equal. I think there is far too much focus on this issue but whatever men do is somehow swept under the rug. And sadly my poor daughter that is disabled will have to suffer this indignity early on, as her disease hastens the onset of puberty. She doesn't even have the propensity to understand why she can't receive the gifts, or the power to obey/disobey. Stuff like this bothers me deeply, but rather than act out of the wrong attitude I just sit back and don't participate. I have a feeling we will find out in the next aspect of life that we made quite a huge deal of something when God had no intention of slighting females. Its not like we get the week outside of the city gates that our Jewish predecessors got, would that I did.

#36 Fr Stephen Maxfield

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 11:00 PM

Dear contributors to this thread…

May I, as a parish priest, add a few thoughts for you to consider please?

Some years ago a lady came to church with a small child aged 2+. She did not venerate any icons or light any candles but stood at the back. Her child ran to the front and started beating vigorously on the icon screen while his mother remained unmoving at the back.
“ Why do you not restrain him” asked my wife.
“Because I am having my period and I therefore cannot come in front of the icons, light candles, take antidoron or kiss the priest’s hand”.
Well she did at least come to church and bring her child!

Others have used menstruation as an excuse.
Sorry father I could not come to church last week because I was having my period.
Next week
“Sorry father I was not certain that my period has finished so I could not come to church”.
Next week
“Sorry father I had a headache and so could not come to church”.
Next week
“Sorry father, but I think my period may be about to start”.
So she never came to church, nor did she bring her three children!!

Why do we have these rules?
Because in the Old Testament it was stressed that a sacrifice must be pure and as near as possible perfect, which meant that those offering the sacrifice must also be perfect. To ooze, whether it be blood, or puss or semen implied imperfection and therefore someone in such a condition could not offer a sacrifice.

So strictly speaking a priest who cuts himself during the proskomide, or is bleeding or has had a wet dream is not “perfect” enough to serve the Liturgy. I have only once ever heard of a priest announcing to his congregation that he could not now serve the Liturgy because he had cut himself, but I suppose that it has happened from time to time.

Perhaps we should recall that actually we are not, at the Liturgy, offering the sacrifice of Christ over and over again. What we are doing is joining ourselves to the sacrifice of Christ offered once for all upon the cross, for all men (and therefore all women as well) precisely because they are not perfect! When we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, we are not given the dead flesh and congealed blood but the living Body and Blood of the Risen Lord and we share in the Life of God because God has given His life for us to share. “Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you. Unless you eat my flesh and drink my Blood there is no life in you” John 6:53ff.

Curious, is it not, that the Lord did not rule out all menstruating women?

And… what of the woman with an issue of blood? Is it not precisely the point that she had an unnatural condition yet came to Christ and was healed? Menstruation is an entirely Natural condition. Human beings are made like that precisely so that they can fulfil the command of the Lord in Genesis “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28)

Edited by Herman Blaydoe, 28 August 2011 - 11:11 PM.
Extraneous formatting removed


#37 Ryan

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 07:13 PM

I am wondering if the Church has a prohibition on receiving if someone has a pimple. I remember youths with pimples being forbidden from the temple in the Old Testament.

#38 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 07:20 PM

I'll go out on a limb here and say NO there is no pimple prohibition associated with the Eucharist.

Herman the very post-pubescent Pooh

#39 Anna Stickles

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 02:45 AM

One of the most balanced presentations I have seen on this topic is by Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-604 A.D.), aka St. Gregory the Dialogist, in answer to questions by St. Augustine of Canterbury, recorded in St. Bede the Venerable's Ecclesiastical history.

I copied the quote into this post in an earlier discussion. He commends the piety of those who refrain and encourages those who wants to partake, and is an excellent presentation on the Patristic view of sin.

#40 Michael Albert

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 04:59 PM

Curious, is it not, that the Lord did not rule out all menstruating women?


I have seen this issue debated too many times to count. In the end, it is between the woman and her Spiritual Father.




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