Infant Communion the New Testament to the Reformation


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Joint Liturgical Studies 56

The communion of infants is different from the admission of children at, say, seven or eight. Both practices traditionally require baptism, and either may require confirmation/ chrysmation as well. But infant communion never requires a measure of ‘understanding’, whereas child communion does. As yet there is no comprehensive history of infant communion. Several learned attempts were made in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but there were major gaps in their treatment and much that today needs amending. Thanks to the work of J D C Fisher and D R Holeton, many of these gaps have now been filled. I have drawn significantly on their work, as well as on an article of my own in CQR in 1966, but I have also sought to fill in more of the gaps. For reasons of space, I have concluded my study with the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, but hopefully one day I can extend it to our own times.

Mark Dalby