Fasting before Holy Communion

Fasting before Holy Communion
Question from on 07-30-2007:
Dear Father,

Please could you clarify the use of flavored water for one hour before Holy Communion and whether or not one would be considered breaking their fast if they drank it? I was taught that water, and only water, was permitted for the one hour before Holy Communion but this was years ago before any other types of water were even marketed.

I frequently see people with sports water such as propel or fruit flavored, sugar free and calorie free water drinking it right before entering church for Holy Mass. Sometimes I see persons drinking coffee and/or other beverages, also chewing gum and/or mints/candy. I realize a cough drop may be required in an emergency if one has a vicious cough and can not get it under control and I have been told that is acceptable but not to be habit forming if at all possible. I do not wish to judge any other person's use of beverages or their use of gum, etc., and then their reception of Holy Communion but I did not think there had been any changes or further delineations to this rule and I simply wish to find out what the church teaches on this subject. Further, I would like to ask if a person would willingly and knowingly take anything other than plain water or a necessary cough drop would it be a matter for confession?

Thank you and God Bless, Marilyn
Answer by Fr. Jay Toborowsky on 08-01-2007:
I think the answer can be found on the ingredients label of the water. If it says anything besides water (eg - artificial flavoring, coloring, honey, ginsing, etc.), then to me it's not simply "water". Now, water and a cough drop can both do the same trick when it comes to a nasty cough, and also in the case of someone who takes medicine that requires food they would not be bound by the Communion fast. But you're correct that people largely ignore the rules for reception of Holy Communion nowadays. I mean, if they ignore the rules about being in a state of grace, do you think fasting will stop them?

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