The Confutatio Pontificia HTML version
Reply to the Second Part of the Confession.
Of Lay Communion under One Form. As in the Confessions of the princes and cities they
enumerate among the abuses that laymen commune only under one form, and as,
therefore, in their dominions both forms are administered to laymen, we must reply,
according to the custom of the Holy Church, that this is incorrectly enumerated among
the abuses, but that, according to the sanctions and statutes of the same Church it is rather
an abuse and disobedience to administer to laymen both forms. For under the one form of
bread the saints communed in the primitive Church, of whom Luke says: "They
continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread."
Acts 2:42. Here Luke mentions bread alone. Likewise Acts 20:7 says: "Upon the first day
of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread."
Yea, Christ, the institutor of this most holy sacrament, rising again from the dead,
administered the Eucharist only under one form to the disciples going to Emmaus, where
he took bread and blessed it, and brake and gave to them, and they recognized him in the
breaking of bread. Luke 24:30, 31: where indeed Augustine, Chrysostome, Theophylact
and Bede some of whom many ags ago and not long after the times of the apostles affirm
that it was the Eucharist. Christ also (John 6) very frequently mentions bread alone. St.
Ignatius, a disciple of St. John the Evangelist, in his Epistle to the Ephesians mentions the
bread alone in the communion of the Eucharist. Ambrose does likewise in his books
concerning the sacraments, speaking of the communion of Laymen. In the Council of
Rheims, laymen were forbidden from bearing the sacrament of the Body to the sick, and
no mention is there made of the form of wine.
Hence it is understood that the viaticum was given the sick under only one form. The
ancient penitential canons approve of this. For the Council of Agde put a guilty priest into
a monastery and granted him only lay communion. In the Council of Sardica, Hosius
prohibits certain indiscreet persons from receiving even lay communion, unless they
finally repent. There has always been a distinction in the Church between lay communion
under one form and priestly communion under both forms. This was beautifully predicted
in the Old Testament concerning the descendants of Eli: "It shall come to pass," says
God, 1 Kings 2; 1 Sam. 2:36, "that everyone that is left in thine house shall come and
crouch to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and shall say, Put me, I pray
thee, into one of the priests' office (Vulgate reads: "Ad unam partem sacerdotalem."),
"that I may eat a piece of bread."
Here Holy Scripture clearly shows that the posterity of Eli, when removed from the office
of the priesthood, will seek to be admitted to one sacerdotal part, to a piece of bread. So
our laymen also ought, therefore, to be content with one sacerdotal part, the one form.
For both the Roman pontiffs and cardinals and all bishops and priests, save in the mass
and in the extreme hour of life for a viaticum, as it is called in the Council of Nice, re
content with taking one form, which they would not do if they thought that both forms