Does water with ice cubes in it count as ordinary water, or is it different enough (because ice is not the same form as water) to count as breaking the eucharistic fast?

For clarification, this scenario is focused on the 1hr eucharistic fast before mass.

  • 1
    Currently the Eucharistic Fast is a mere 1 hour before you receive Communion, not before Mass begins -- so you really just have to start "fasting" about a half hour before Mass begins. Ice is just water in solid form so surely you can consume it within that 1 hour period, and if nothing else it should not be difficult to simply avoid consuming the ice while sipping the water.
    – Null
    Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 20:27

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure I agree with the other answer. Obviously, consult your priest if this is something that deeply concerns you.

I would say that if you're eating or swallowing the ice, maybe @Ken Graham has a point. But, if you're just drinking the water, then consider that within the context of Christus Dominus...

The only substance you can be drinking out of a glass of ice water is... pure, natural water. You can't drink ice, you can only eat it. If it happens to be floating in your glass and you eat it, that's maybe a problem though.

We can distinguish this from adding say, fruit to your drink; fruit contains other chemicals, flavours, sugars etc that mix with the natural water. Ice doesn't have this effect.

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    – agarza
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 13:48

Can a Catholic drink ice water before mass?

The short answer is no.

Canon Law allows one to be able to drink ordinary water and medicine only before receiving Holy Communion. Ice is not water neither in form or substance the same as water and as such is forbidden.

Exceptions to this rules are also included in Canon Law.

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.

One can also to go to The Apostolic Constitution of His Holiness Pope Pius XII, Christus Dominus to get a clearer answer:

The Apostolic Constitution “Christus Dominus,” issued today by the Sovereign Pontiff Pius XII happily reigning, grants several faculties and dispensations with respect to the observance of the law of the Eucharistic fast. It also confirms, in great measure and substantially, the rules of the Code of Canon Law for the priests and the faithful able to observe that law of the Eucharistic fast. Nevertheless, the favorable first order of this Constitution, according to which natural water (that is, without the addition of any element) no longer breaks the Eucharistic fast (Const., Rule I), is extended to these also. But, with regard to the other concessions, these can be used only by priests and by the faithful who find themselves in the conditions described in the Constitution, or by those who say evening Masses or receive Holy Communion at such Masses authorized by the Ordinaries within the limits of the new faculties granted to them.

Although ice and water may be of the same substance H2O, they are not in the sense that they are of a different form of matter, one being solid and the other is liquid. The forms are different. Pope Pius said only natural water is permitted, not ice.

Ice may be of the same techniquely the substance as water. They do not share the same form or state. Thus in this sense they are not the same substance.

  • 2
    "Ice is not water neither in form or substance the same as water..." Citation needed. Ice is water at a sufficiently low temperature that it is in solid form. The bold text ("without the addition of any element") would suggest to me an "element" that is not itself water (such as flavoring -- so flavored water is forbidden), but I don't see how ice water is.
    – Null
    Commented Jun 30, 2023 at 22:05
  • @Null Water is liquid and ice is solid. Thus the form and substance are different. That's science 101. Water is not ice. Pope Pius XII said natural water only, not water with ice or ice.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jul 1, 2023 at 0:29
  • 1
    @KenGraham How did you draw from the fact that ice and water are both made of H2O the conclusion that ice and water are different substances?
    – Fomalhaut
    Commented Jul 1, 2023 at 5:15
  • 1
    @KenGraham I just asked ChatGPT4 and it said that ice and water are in fact the same substances.
    – Fomalhaut
    Commented Jul 1, 2023 at 5:38
  • 1
    I believe this answer to be wrong. It can't be justified either by the natural use of language (ice and liquid water are both water, not different substances) or the technical use of language where substance has a particular meaning found in transubstantiation. With ice, the matter is the same and there is no substance to change. Form is immaterial here (unlike in baptism). Pius XII was concerned only with the adulteration of natural water, which freezing does not do. Commented Jul 2, 2023 at 10:09

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