Today in Catholic History – Quam Singulari

On 8 August 1910, Pope Pius X issued the decree Quam singulari stating that all children were obligated to receive their first communion and first confession by the time they obtained the age of reason. Pius asserted that this age was approximately the age of seven.

Pius X condemned the belief that only those who had a “full knowledge” of the faith should receive Communion as being contrary both to the history and teachings of the Catholic Church as expressed at the Lateran Council of 1215 and was harmful to the spiritual life of the child. For, denying Holy Communion and Confession to a child because the child did not have “full knowledge” of the faith risked forcing the child to live in a state in which the had child was subject to the temptation to sin without the ability to receive the grace that came from the Eucharist.

Quam Singulari did not condemn the traditional Eastern practice of the reception of Holy Communion by infants, indeed Pius X used the Eastern tradition to demonstrate how “full knowledge” of the faith should not be a condition for reception of the Eucharist. Rather, Quam Singulari is intended to set an age by which a child should receive their first communion not the age at which they should receive.

Quam singulari


One Comment

  1. Posted August 9, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Father, it was great to meet you at the CNMC and chat about east/west relations. This is an interesting post regarding the age of reception of communion with the reference to the eastern practice at infancy, and therefore, not the age that communion should be received but by maximum age. I went to a Byzantine (Ruthenian) Catholic Church in Jersey City, and was told that they became latinized over the years and were trying to get the age of communion back to infancy. It was a problem because a precedent was already set, and the grandmas wanted to see the girls in their white dresses, etc. Interesting.

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