Distribution of the Holy Communion and the Common Chalice at St. Joseph Church, Macon, GA:
THE CASE IN PHOENIX: AN EDITORIAL THAT QUESTIONS THE VALIDITY OF WITHDRAWING THE COMMON CHALICE (CUP FOR DIEHARDS) FROM THE LAITY. PRESS HERE TO READ THE COMMENTARY FROM A COMMONWEAL BLOG!
While this may dismay some of my readers, overall I see the restriction of the common chalice for the reasons stated by the Diocese of Phoenix as overblown or exaggerated. I would agree with almost all of the points that the editorialist mentions in the above commentary. Every parish and institution (seminary) that I've been in since 1976 has allowed the common chalice and the only profanation has been accidental or due to poor catechesis and even poorer preparation of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. We must lay the blame on that at the feet of bishops and priests who have no real program for preparation and certification of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and see it not so much as a very important ministry, especially when EM's bring Holy Communion to the sick or home bound on a very frequent basis but as a way to get more people involved in the parish and therefore purely perfunctory. It should be a ministry involving a lenghty diocesan preparation and licensing done by the bishop, a kind of "sub-deacon" type training.
St. Joseph recently returned to the common chalice (six at each Sunday Mass, two at each daily Mass). We stopped because of the fear of contagion when H1N1 was an epidemic.
My personal opinion is that the Church should in no way indicate to anyone that there is no chance of compromising one's health by receiving from the common chalice.
My personal preference (and I'm not a bishop so I won't institute it until permission is offered to do so) is intinction. I would also like to see it at the EF Mass. This cuts down on the need for numerous Eucharistic Ministers and "swilling" and also saliva that becomes predominant in the chalice as the number of communicants increases to the point that the last amount may be more saliva than Precious Blood.
Our sacramental system is "sensual" and there is the sense of flavor and taste that the Consecrated Wine conveys to the one receiving, that our Risen Lord whom we receive completely in either form is sweet to the senses as He redeems us. The Church of the East has always given the laity the Precious Blood by use of a spoon that has the consecrated "leaven Bread" mixed with the Precious Blood of Christ. That's been going on for two thousand years in their tradition. It is a good tradition that the Church of the Latin Rite should adopt to help bring the Church of the East and West back into Full Communion.