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Unfermented Grape Juice?




The Sacred Congregation for Sacraments and Divine Worship, through its official publication <Notitiae>, has issued a number of clarifications regarding the reformed rites of the Church and their celebration. The interpretations and explanations which affect the <General Instruction of the Roman Missal> and which appeared in <Notitiae> between 1969 and 1981 are included below. The numbers at the beginning of each section refer to the respective sections of the <General Instruction>.


284. Card. F. Seper, Prefect of the SCDF addressed the following letter, May 2, 1974, Prot. No. 88/74, to Card. J. Krol, President of the Conference of Bishops of the United States:

For some time different Ordinaries have asked this Sacred Congregation for the permission to allow priests who are undergoing a treatment for alcoholism or who have undergone this treatment, to celebrate Mass with unfermented grape juice.

With this situation in mind, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith authorizes the Ordinaries of the United States of America to grant to those priests who have made this request the permission either to concelebrate with one or more priests a normal Mass but without receiving communion under the species of wine or, when this is not possible, to celebrate Mass using unfermented grape juice and to use water alone for the ritual ablutions after Communion. Also, one must avoid creating scandal for the faithful.

In the hope of meeting the concern shown by the bishops for those of their priests suffering from alcoholism and in asking you to inform the Ordinaries of the permission that is granted to them, I am sincerely yours.



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