Every year I get to lead students through general sacramental theology and the theology of the sacraments of initiation. Every year I reread an intriguing comment in The Christian Faith about Session XXI of the Council of Trent:
3) Communion under one kind only causes no substantial spiritual loss (cf. nn. [ND] 1539, [ND] 1548[; DS 1729, DS 1743]). The Council, however, deliberately left undecided the question whether or not communion under both kinds gives grace more abundantly; the reason is that different schools held different opinions on this point.
Thanks to Brian Duffy’s post on September 21, 2011 and his reference to William Kemp Lowther Clarke’s Liturgy and Worship: A Companion to the Prayer Books of the Anglican Communion, 1959, which references William Edward Scudamore’s Notitia Eucharistica: A Commentary, Explanatory, Doctrinal, and Historical, on the Order for the Administration of the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion according to the Use of the Church of England, 1876, I have delved into the debates at the 21st session of the Council of Trent.
The pertinent passage in Scudamore is this one [LONG] paragraph [original italics are indicated by asterisks]:
It is, in truth, acknowledged by many eminent authorities, that the Sacrament, as thus administered to the laity [under the sign of bread], loses not only a part of its significance, but a part of its grace also. Thus, in the Commentary on the Sentences ascribed to Alexander of Hales, it is allowed that “reception under both kinds, which mode of reception the Lord delivered, is of greater efficacy and completeness.” He says also that it is of “greater merit by reason of the more complete reception,” as well as because it increases devotion and confirms faith. So Albertus Magnus teaches that “the benefit of the faithful and the unity of the mystical body are not perfectly effected and signified but by the double sign.” This results from the familiar principle that “the Sacraments effect that which they symbolize,” or, in other words, that they are the means whereby the particular grace which they signify is imparted. Eating and drinking are both necessary to the complete refreshment of the body; therefore the Cup as well as the Bread is necessary to that complete refreshment of the soul, of which eating and drinking are the ordained symbol. It was no answer to say that whole Christ is received under either species; for it is evident, as Innocent III expresses it, that “although the Blood is *taken* with the Body under the species of bread, and the Body *taken* with the Blood under the species of wine; yet neither is the blood *drunk* under the species of bread, nor the body *eaten* under the species of Wine.” The command is not that we should merely take the Body and Blood, but that we should eat the Body and drink the Blood. Again, we have shown in a former note that Peter Lombard and other eminent men distinguished between the effect of the Bread and of the Cup, connecting the latter in some especial manner with the grace conveyed to the soul, and the former with the preservation of the body: — “Why is Christ taken under two kinds, when whole Christ is under either? That He might be shown to have taken the whole of human nature, that He might redeem the whole. For bread is referred to the flesh, wine to the soul. . . . If He were taken in one kind only, the meaning would be that it (that which we receive) availed to the preservation of one only, i.e. of the soul, or of the body, not of both together.” The Council of Trent pronounced an anathema against those who should assert that the Church “had erred in communicating the laity, and even Clergymen not celebrating, under the species of bread only;” but in its defence of the practice it did not venture to go beyond the proposition, that “they who receive one kind only are defrauded of no grace *necessary to salvation.*” Probably no one maintained the contrary; but there were many at the Council who believed that they were deprived of *some* of the grace of this holy Sacrament. Francis Blanco, Archbishop of Compostella, who, when Bishop of Orenze, had been present himself, declares that this was “the *unanimous* opinion of the Fathers” there assembled, and that for that reason the Council “did not say absolutely ‘of no grace,’ but ‘of no grace *necessary to salvation.*’” The statements of Pallavicino and Sarpi do not establish the unanimity of the Council on this point, but they show that the opinion was well represented. One of the Divines present actually argued for the denial of the Cup to the Laity, on the ground that “as the Priest has a higher dignity, and a double share of authority, it is befitting that he should receive double grace.” Ruard Tapper, who was present, has left his sentiments in writing:— “The sacramental drinking of the Blood of Christ cannot be without benefit, if it be taken worthily and duly. And forasmuch as the species of wine is a sacrament, but all sacraments, according to the common rule, confer grace *ex opere operato,* the drinking of the Blood has its proper spiritual effect by allaying spiritual thirst or increasing or confirming the grace received in the Communion of the Body. . . . Although whole Christ be under either species, He nevertheless works according to their signification, and under one uses His Body as an instrument, under the other His Blood. . . . And since the Sacraments confer the grace which they signify, when the signification is more complete and perfect it must follow that the effect is fuller.” We will conclude this notice with an extract from Vasquez, who wrote after the Council of Trent:— “The opinion of those who say that greater fruit of grace is acquired from both species of this Sacrament than from one only, has always appeared to me the more probable. . . . We grant that, according to this our opinion, the Laity, to whom one species is denied, are defrauded of some grace indeed, yet not of any necessary to salvation; and that the Council did not mean to deny this.”
Because we are dealing with fine Anglican thinking on this matter, I checked all seventeen of Scudamore’s references; and they are as he cites them.
So, if I were amending the line cited above from The Christian Faith, “Communion under one kind only causes no substantial spiritual loss,” I would write “Communion under one kind only causes no loss of the grace necessary of salvation.”
And if I were spinning Scudamore’s first sentence in an RC direction, I would write, “It is, in truth, acknowledged by many eminent authorities, that the Sacrament, as thus administered to the laity, loses a part of its significance, and may lose a part of its grace also, not of the grace of salvation, but of the grace of sanctification.”