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Ban the chalice -latest nonsense from the C of E

September 19, 2009

He_Gives_Himself_1_by_joitheartistI never thought I would live to see the day when I would hear the Archbishop of Canterbury say that the chalice should not be offered to the laity in the Mass. Of course I am old enough to have seen Anglo-Catholic parishes, at High Mass on Sundays, refuse to give Communion in either bread or wine to anybody at all, since the Sacrament could only be received when fasting. But only the most extreme Anglo-Papalist churches withheld the chalice from the people at every Mass.

I quite understand why it might be sensible to give only the Host to vast congregations, when trying to administer the chalice would be a nightmare, but that has hardly ever been a problem for Anglicans. But to propose this as a solution for the Swine Flu scare is weird.

First, almost nobody has been certified to have died of swine flu who would not have died anyway of something else. Secondly, the Vicar’s fingers are still passing the host to the hands or tongue of the communicant. (And don’t tell me that the strange new Disneyland rite of washing the priests hands in Lysol or some such liquid has anything to recommend it). And no doubt the congregation are still performing that echt-Anglican ceremony of shaking the Vicar’s hand at the door. So what is all the fuss about?

The day I see Anglican priests dropping dead from swine flu (or, for that matter, from AIDS), I will begin to be convinced that there might be some reason to restrict the chalice. After all, it is they who have to drink up what is left after many people have drunk from it.So far we seem to be a long-lived breed.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Sandford MacLean permalink
    September 20, 2009 1:11 am

    I agree completely with you, Father, but I would like to see the questionable practice of intinction, whereby the communicant takes the Host himself and plunges grubby fingers into the Precious Blood stopped once and for all. Yuck.

  2. Stephen permalink
    September 20, 2009 6:26 am

    I too strongly dislike intinction when it is a “self-service” situation. I just think that takes so much of the meaning out of the Sacred rite, since we thereby lose the idea of recieving Christ from Christ. My stance softens however, if it is the celebrant or other authorized minister of The Eucharist doing the intinction for the Communicant.

  3. Fr Dougal permalink
    September 20, 2009 8:43 am

    I agree that this is silliness – a hysterical over reaction to the “pandemic”. But many a Scottish credence table now has alcohol rub on it as an auxiliary to the lavabo. And the Pax is now done with a South Indian bow and no hand shaking in Morningside! What next? Surgical gloves fo the celebrant?

  4. John permalink
    September 20, 2009 6:38 pm

    Fr. Dougal–I agree..perhaps latex fast food gloves with a hairnet!

  5. David O'Rourke permalink
    September 22, 2009 4:37 pm

    In Toronto during the SARS epidemic the diocese forbade Communion in both kinds, among other things. The good thing about this was that the diocese had therefore to teach the doctrine of concommitance. I couldn’t help wondering what the low church clergy thought. The new rules took effect on Maundy Thursday and on good Friday one of the Anglo-Catholic parishes chose to administer the chalice on Good Friday with the Primate of Canada officiating. I understand that words were susequently exchanged with the dkiocese an by Easter they had conformed.

    Of course the chalice has long since been restored but priests in this diocese must refuse intinction. Laus Deo for that!

  6. September 23, 2009 5:22 am

    At SMBS last month communion was also in one kind only, on the advice of the Bishop of London. However, the notice to this effect had an apostrophe before “flu” so I knew I was still in the right place.

    • Sandford MacLean permalink
      September 23, 2009 11:19 am

      Yes, Father Coles sent out an email in July to that effect. Do you think this is the case in all parishes in the Diocese of London?

      • Little Black Sambo permalink
        October 25, 2009 2:08 pm

        No, I think you will find that other parishes usually omit the apostrophe.

  7. September 23, 2009 11:06 am

    My own parish has suspended Communion in both kinds, to my regret, but I agree with David’s silver lining. I am curious as to which parish that was.

    At my last parish, intinction is still (reluctantly) given as an option, but a special miniature chalice specially for the purpose is used.

  8. David O'Rourke permalink
    September 23, 2009 6:16 pm

    Geof, I really don’t want to name the parish but I can tell you it was NOT St. Thomas’s Huron St., which is my parish

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