16 May 2017

Communion in both kinds

Mgr Edwin also raises the question of those who avoid the Chalice. Again, he has a point. Reception of the Chalice is part of the Patrimony ... when proposals circulated in the 1630s for the reconciliation of the Provinces of Canterbury and York with the See of S Peter, my recollection is that 'the Chalice' was one of the 'concessions' offered.

But there is a problem here. Some people are rather fastidious nowadays. It is a shame ... but mores do change. Between 2001 and 2007, in one of my Devon churches, a growing number of women retained 'their' Host until the Minister with the Chalice came along to them, and then 'dunked' 'their' Host before receiving It. This had a number of practical disadvantages which I do not want to describe in detail.

I have little sympathy with such fastidious apprehensions. I suspect that such precautions do in fact make only a very tiny contribution ... if they make any at all ... to the risk of picking up infections from the Chalice. But the existence of the apprehensions is a fact.

I'm not sure that there are matters of rigid principle involved here. Little more than a decade ago, there was a national panic about a certain infection ... I recall that the Bishop of Oxford issued detailed and hilarious instructions about the running of the diocese ... when I die, Bishop X takes over; when he dies, Bishop Y ... with copious information about how to conduct mass funerals! At this time, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, having taken legal advice, ordered (not advised) that Communion only be in one kind.

And there are practical circumstances where a general reception of the Chalice is to be discouraged. I remember a big Do at Lancing at which a lot of people were stumbling around with loaded chalices, upstairs and downstairs and in and out of marquees ... happily, there was no disaster, but it was a practical nightmare. I think I remember a big Forward in Faith event in that Methodist place in central London (having heard what the policies of F in F were, the managers decided to charge us their rate for non-Christians rather than their 'Christian' rate!) at which there were similar problems. I think it would be very sensible for Communion to be in only one kind at large, messy eucharistic celebrations.

Beyond that, I am minded to leave matters to the judgement of individual communicants.

I refer throughout, of course, to Ordinariate Rite and Novus Ordo Masses, where such options are allowed. In the Extraordinary Form, the burden of deciding between options is not imposed on the laity. 


12 comments:

Titus said...

This is an opportunity for Romanitas in action: the pope used to receive the Precious Blood through a fistula; surely the most sensible way to administer the Chalice to a large body of lay faithful would be to craft vessels, perhaps with lids, fitted with suitable fistulae. It would be, if one may use the term, a sensible innovation for facilitating Communion under Both Kinds.

Hierodeacon said...

Two details of practice come to mind:

1. Among Anglicans (as I recall), it is not the practice for the minster to give the chalice away into both hands of the communicant, but that the minister holds onto the chalice securely, the communicant guiding it with one hand on the foot of the chalice. This corresponds to the way Orthodox priests communicate deacons at the altar. However, I've seen in Novus Ordo Masses lay communicants taking the chalice completely into their own hands. This strikes me as both irreverent and possibly dangerous. (In the Orthodox Church, by the way, no one beneath the rank of subdeacon may handle sacred vessels.)

2. Would not a cloth held out under the chalice (ideally held by two men on either side of the minister) be appropriate? (I'm thinking of the logistics of a Communion "station" rather than a Communion rail.)

E sapelion said...

I notice one or two people in our church using this do-it-yourself intinction procedure, but I have read that it is officially banned. (I do not have a reference to hand)
The General Instruction on the Roman Missal lays down a clear procedure :-
287. If Communion from the chalice is carried out by intinction, each communicant,holding a Communion-plate under the mouth, approaches the Priest who holds a vessel with the sacred particles, with a minister standing at his side and holding the chalice. The Priest takes a host, intincts it partly in the chalice and, showing it, says, The Body and Blood of Christ. The communicant replies, Amen, receives the Sacrament in the mouth from the Priest, and then withdraws.
I believe the objection, apart from practicality, is that the communicant is in effect administering to him/herself. I would not think that is any more true than to say that holding the chalice, after it has been offered and the formula and response given, is administering to myself.

frankh said...

E sapelion, Redemptionis Sacramentum (103) states:
"..the option of administering Communion by intinction always remains. If this modality is employed, however, hosts should be used which are neither too thin nor too small, and the communicant should receive the Sacrament from the Priest only on the tongue."

Thomas said...

"The communicant must not be permitted to intinct the host himself in the chalice, nor to receive the intincted host in the hand." (Instruction: Redemptionis Sacramentum - On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist, paragraph 104, Congregation for Divine Worship, 19 March 2004).

Matthew said...

I understand that among the Dutch Old Catholics Communion is routinely administered by intinction, both chalice and ciborium somehow being carried by the priest between the various digits of his left hand -- I think if he is not to be overburdened the chalice must be quite small, but for this purpose it need contain only a minimal quantity of the precious Liquid. The priest administers the sacrament to each communicant by taking a host and dipping it in the chalice before transferring it to the person's tongue; the same practice obtains both when moving along altar rails and when administering at fixed stations. There is no need for a communion plate or houselling cloth if during the whole process the host remains held over the ciborium (difficult to explain in words, but easy enough to put into practice). I think this could be the answer to big occasions such as those described by Fr H in his Lancing days: each administrant to be equipped with a ciborium and small chalice, and no-one allowed to receive other than directly into the mouth. (Although the BCP is quite clear that both kinds are to be put 'into the hands' of the communicant, and there is a substantial segment of the CofE where even when kneeling at altar rails communicants are expected to take hold of the chalice with both hands, and the minister will expect to let go of it completely. In a very low-church parish I once found myself receiving from one of two chalices administered by the same clergyman, each one being put into the hands of alternate communicants and received back while the other one was drinking from it.)

VRS said...

1. People can spill. I have had it happen when distributing.
2. It is expensive, especially for larger parishes, to supply wine to fill enough chalices.
3. There is a risk of infection.
4. Some older folk especially have a difficult time only "taking" from the chalice...
5. In many parishes, distribution under both forms adds many EMHC's which complicate the entire process of distribution.
6. Alcoholics.
7. Mustaches. My goodness.
8. It can be a lot to purify.
9. Confusion about whether one has received "the whole Eucharist" if one has only received under one form.
10. Lipstick. My goodness.

#1 alone should be enough........

Matthew said...

While the other was drinking from the other, is what I meant to say.

frater raphael said...

My experience after living on the mainland for over 20 years, mainly in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy, is that I have never experienced this mainia of Anglophonic Catholics for communion under both kinds. Indeed, I have only seen it on certain days like Corpus Christi or sometimes Maunday Thursday, and then the overwhelming majority do not approach the Chalice.
Personaly, I think it is to do with living in a protestant (or at least ex-) country and now since Vat.II doing the whole "keeping up with the Jones' thing. Or should I say - " anything you can do, we can do better!"

Again, dear fellow Anglos. You are not the mainstream Catholic Church, even when one adds all the English-speaking countries together, you are a small minority in the Catholic World - please do not always assume that your cultural "norms" are the necessary and correct ways of the whole Church (or world).

Tony V said...

I wonder how communion under one kind became the norm in the west. Could an (unconscious?) recognition of the health risks have played a role?

Unknown said...

The proximity to one another of your recent headings regarding reception under both kinds and reception in the hand is propitious. I've said before, and will say again, that the best solution to both problems is for all who are able to receive to receive by intincture on the tongue from the sacred hands of an ordinary minister of the Sacrament. Whether the faithful receive kneeling (preferably) or not, this one practice removes the sacrileges which occur and are made possible by affording people concealing and absconding with the Blessed Sacrament by some malicious prestidigitation, and simultaneously removes the need for "extraordinary" ministers with their awful, glad-handing compassing of the altars, faux lavabo hand sanitization, and serviette maniples. The reception by intincture practically enjoins the need for patens to prevent dripping of the Precious Blood. Finally, it nullifies the perfidious clericalism that crows that the laity are oppressed if they don't do everything the ordained ministers do just as the ordained ministers do it; they are receiving under both species, but not necessarily with lips-to-chalice as he does. It stifles the complaining of those who would subjugate Eternal God made manifest to a mistaken sense of hygiene and removes any perception of anyone validating their implied superiority of earthly health over heavenly communion.

People will complain that there are the people who are not able to receive under both species because of one malady or another, or one malady and another. The Eastern Catholics must have some experience with this. I'm sure arangements can be made for anyone who isn't a celiac-sprue afflicted alcoholic.

Come to think of it, maybe these are the very people the Calvinists are thinking of when they describe the less savoury aspects of Double Predestination.

Unknown said...

The proximity to one another of your recent headings regarding reception under both kinds and reception in the hand is propitious. I've said before, and will say again, that the best solution to both problems is for all who are able to receive to receive by intincture on the tongue from the sacred hands of an ordinary minister of the Sacrament. Whether the faithful receive kneeling (preferably) or not, this one practice removes the sacrileges which occur and are made possible by affording people concealing and absconding with the Blessed Sacrament by some malicious prestidigitation, and simultaneously removes the need for "extraordinary" ministers with their awful, glad-handing compassing of the altars, faux lavabo hand sanitization, and serviette maniples. The reception by intincture practically enjoins the need for patens to prevent dripping of the Precious Blood. Finally, it nullifies the perfidious clericalism that crows that the laity are oppressed if they don't do everything the ordained ministers do just as the ordained ministers do it; they are receiving under both species, but not necessarily with lips-to-chalice as he does. It stifles the complaining of those who would subjugate Eternal God made manifest to a mistaken sense of hygiene and removes any perception of anyone validating their implied superiority of earthly health over heavenly communion.

People will complain that there are the people who are not able to receive under both species because of one malady or another, or one malady and another. The Eastern Catholics must have some experience with this. I'm sure arangements can be made for anyone who isn't a celiac-sprue afflicted alcoholic.

Come to think of it, maybe these are the very people the Calvinists are thinking of when they describe the less savoury aspects of Double Predestination.