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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. Is a cough drop considered as a candy? Can a person eat a cough drop during Mass prior to receiving Holy Communion?

A. 1. On the subject of fasting prior to receiving Holy Communion, the Code of Canon Law states:

Can. 919 1. "A person who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before holy communion from any food and drink, except for only water and medicine."

2. "A priest who celebrates the Most Holy Eucharist two or three times on the same day can take something before the second or third celebration even if there is less than one hour between them."

3. "The elderly, the infirm, and those who care for them can receive the Most Holy Eucharist even if they have eaten something within the preceding hour."

The teaching of the Church is that you must abstain for at least one hour from any food and drink prior to receiving Holy Communion. When speaking of a drink, it is a reference to water, not coffee or soft drinks.

What about cough drops, are they considered as food? A cough drop is a small, typically medicated tablet intended to be dissolved slowly in the mouth to temporarily stop coughs and lubricate and soothe irritated tissues of the throat (usually due to a sore throat), possibly from the common cold or influenza.

The key words above are "medicated table." As such, a cough drop is considered medicine which is permitted under the Code of Canon Law.

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