Tuesday, October 25, 2011


From WikiAnswers:

Question: Can you get herpes drinking after someone?


There are two types of Herpes oral and genital. If someone has oral herpes and you drink directly after them then yes it is possible to contract the Herpes virus this way.

My Comments: Some people think my concern about sharing the common chalice at Mass is overblown because you can get more germs from touching things as this story below illustrates. However, most of us I presume were taught as children to wash our hands frequently and not place our hands or fingers near our mouth. Am I correct?

Now when it comes to the common chalice that 20 or so people have had to their mouth, not only would I not touch it; I certainly wouldn't bring my fingers to my mouth after doing so. How much more should we avoid bringing a chalice that many people have used to our mouths? Just wondering?

Gas pump handles top study of filthy surfaces
By Alina Selyukh in Washington | Reuters

(Reuters) - Just when you thought filling up your car could not hurt any more, researchers may have found another reason to avoid touching the gas pump: germs.

Gas pump handles turned out to be the filthiest surface that Americans encounter on the way to work, according to a study released on Tuesday by Kimberly-Clark Professional, a unit of personal hygiene giant Kimberly-Clark Corp.

A team of hygienists swabbed hundreds of surfaces around six U.S. cities to see what everyday objects are breeding grounds for the worst bacteria and viruses.

The top offenders, following gas pumps, were handles on public mailboxes, escalator rails and ATM buttons.

Closely following on the filthiest list were parking meters and kiosks, crosswalk buttons and buttons on vending machines in shopping malls.

"It comes down to the fact that nobody cleans the things that you're going to touch on a daily basis," said Dr. Kelly Arehart, program leader of Kimberly-Clark's Healthy Workplace Project.

Testers analyzed swabs of the surfaces for levels of adenosine triphosphate, which signals the presence of animal, vegetable, bacteria, yeast or mold cells, and the high levels found suggest they can be transmitting illness, researchers said.

Swabs were taken in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami and Philadelphia.

Arehart's colleague Brad Reynolds said germs from people's hands can transfer seven times before leaving the skin. People should wash their hands as soon as they get to work, he said.

(Reporting by Alina Selyukh in Washington; editing by Mohammad Zargham)


Bill Meyer said...

Jumping off from this a bit, to the topic of chalices in the hands of EMHCs, is it not improper, inappropriate, or whatever word is best suited for the communicant to take the chalice from the hands of the EMHC?

Frajm said...

What you describe is what the norm for EM's to do when giving the chalice to the laity, the lay person then takes the chalice and drinks from it.

Yet, we are not suppose to "self-communicate" nor is the EM suppose to take his/her chalice from the altar or the ciborium, it must be given to them by the priest or deacon.

Here again we see the Episcopal Church gets it right. The Chalice minister holds onto the chalice as the communicant takes a sip, usually kneeling I might add.

The same is true with the Host, in the Episcopal Church when the communicant receiving in the hand, he/she does not then pick up the host with the fingers of the other hand, no, he/she brings the palm of the hand to the mouth and "licks" the host off of the palm along with any particles.

Both of these customs have their origin in the early Church and should be recommended to the Latin Rite to reform our unreformed practice in this regard.

Bill Meyer said...

Interesting. I am among the very few in my parish not receiving in the hand. I am also not receiving under both kinds, as I am not comfortable with the EMHC notion at all. At my regular Mass, I am always in the line for the priest, so not an issue. At midnight Mass, it occurred to me, I will have a problem.

I am also troubled when I see an EMHC give a blessing. I remember reading an article from Dr. Ed Peters which made plain that an EMHC is not empowered to do this.

But then, I am an unreconstructed pre-Vatican II kind of guy. Mother's family was Catholic, and I was raised with it, if not in it.

Ave Verum said...

Eastern Catholics seem to get it. Father, I am told and have read that intinction is allowed by GIRM (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 245). "As regards the administering of Communion to lay members of Christ's faithful, the Bishops may exclude Communion with the tube or the spoon where this is not the local custom, though 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" (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 285b and 287

But while we are on the subject of germs...what about the (now rather infamous) "Kiss of Peace", particularly during flu season? Again, the Eastern Church seems to get it right--only the priest and deacon exchange an embrace, and I've noticed they don't do so during an active infection...

TCR said...

After contracting a serious upper respiratory infection just days from receiving the chalice, I admit I am more comfortable with intinction or communion under one kind only. Now it is difficult to know if the infection was a direct result of the chalice or the dangers of traveling since I was in Europe at the time.

Due to a compromised immune system, I am vigilant in keeping my hands clean. Even the Sign of Peace makes me a bit nervous, although I believe it is important to show our bond as brothers and sisters in Christ.

My preference is for intinction or the EF Mass every Sunday!

pinanv525 said...

TCR, I have heard others say the same thing about the sign of peace being a confirmation of "our bond as brothers and sisters in Christ." Is not our being there together at Mass and receiving the Holy Eucharist together a sufficient indication of our bond in Christ? Must we turn every Mass into a Kiwanis meeting?

TCR said...

Yes, pinanv525, I agree with you. In fact, I do not feel the need to shake hands when a simple smile and "Peace," would do. It is very intrusive into the Agnus Dei when our attention should be directed to the altar and our Lord.

In fact, the lack thereof is one of the many reasons I prefer the EF Latin Mass. I suppose the former Baptist in me did not want to offend anyone!

Anonymous said...

St. Joseph Anonymous here:
Perhaps we need a few of these Monks to be EMHCs - especially the chalice:

These same Monks would make exchanging handshakes during the Sign of Peace with TCR and pinanv5525 even more interesting

Joseph Johnson said...

As regards the Episcopal method of "licking" the host up off of the palm of the hand and its early Church origins, there is a relatively new book by Bishop Athanasius Schneider entitled "Dominus Est" ("It is the Lord") which covers this subject and advocates Communion on the tongue.

If I understand what I have read about the book (I still need to order it myself and read it!) the Bishop states that, for practical reasons, the Church got away from this early form of "Communion in the hand" (the "licking" form) early on in favor of receiving on the tongue. Of course, most of us know that Communion on the tongue remained the exclusive norm until very recent times when the indult for in the hand began.

It reminds me of what a Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) priest once told me about why the Church got away from baptism of infants by immersion--because it can cause a baby to urinate in the baptismal pool (how nice!). To me, it seems the Church has forgotten (possibly deliberately--because of other agendas or priorities) the practical reasons (based on experience) why it had settled on doing things in a certain way for centuries until the post-Vatican II era.

Joseph Johnson said...

Go to Rorate Caeli for an article (just posted) about the alleged pseudo-history of Communion in the hand.

Anonymous said...


My late father-in-law was a medical doctor and mother-in-law was a nurse. They absolutely refused to receive the blood of Christ. I asked why and he explained it was not hygenic and could spread one of the hepatic viruses, also. He also alleged there was medical evidence to substantiate this. Then I ended up with a cold after receiving, and did not do so. I began to do so once again, but then I read your blog entry with the infamous backwash story. Lo and behold, that following Sunday the person in front of me coughed and choked back into the chalice. When I was given the chalice, I saw "stuff" in the chalice. I have only received the precious blood once since, and now I cannot stomach to do so. I think the only way I will is when I go to the local Byzantine Catholic Church.

Is there any reason, Father, as to why we could not do something like I saw in a Lutheran Church where they had 50 little cups, lined with gold, that were the size of shot glasses? When they went to receive (no, I did not), they were each handed a cup, drank it, and then it was returned. There was no sharing of the cups. This was so much more sanitary.

James Ignatius McAuley

Ave Verum said...

James, the "local Byzantine Catholic Church" does not offer the chalice--communion is by intinction in the Eastern Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

Ave Verum, while it may be a matter of semantics, the terminology used by a Byzantine Rite church often depends on what Church you are dealing with, Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Melkite, etc. Generally, they do not consider it to be intinction, that is a dipping of the body of Christ into the precious blood, in the way we Latins understand intinction.

If you want to go "sailing to Byzantium" like I have in the past, like the lovely poem by Yeats, I recommend that you read Celebration, on the Divine Liturgy by the late Melkite Archbishop, Joseph Raya. It is a wonderful book, and I believe it is his last book, the crown of his work.

James Ignatius McAuley

TCR said...

I realize we have moved on, but I had to respond to St. Joseph Anonymous' humorous retort. I did say "a bit nervous," hopefully not on the scale of a Monk---aka Adrian Monk, who I happen to enjoy!

I see nothing wrong in shaking hands or hugs outside of Mass, nor in a short greeting during Mass. It just seems jarring and awkward when the passing of Peace extends into the singing of the Agnus Dei. A quick change of gears from happy clappy fellowship to the beautiful, sublime prayer throws me off. That's all.

For the record, I would be honored to shake your hand sans bacterial wipes.

Ave Verum said...

Yes, James, I have read "Celebration" (wonderful) and most of Raya's works. Thanks for the heads-up. My personal favorite, however, is "The Eucharist" by Alexander Schmemann.
And, yes, you are talking about semantics, I think. The Melkites (at least the ones I know, which includes a priest and two permanent deacons) definitely consider their mode of distributing communion as intinction.
Enjoy your sailing and may God bless your journey!

Ave Verum said...

James, addendum:
I should have added that the Melkites do not always intinct (is that an acceptable verb), but when Holy Communion is offered under both species, they do. On a typical Sunday, only the Body of Christ under the appearance of bread is offered.

Anonymous said...

Ave Verum,

Isn't that book by Raya wonderful? I do not know if you have ever gone to the website Byzantine Catholic, but is it amazing reading their comments. Ruthenians, Ukrainians, Russians, Greeks, etc. I learn something every time. I have been to a Ruthenian church, which I go to at least once a year, but it is now staffed by a Ukrainian priest (he is actually Puerto Rican, but that is another story, so it is different again. There is also a very good book by Robert Taft, S.J., Through Their Own Eyes : Liturgy As The Byzantines Saw It. I recommend this book to you, as Taft criticizes attempts to Byzantinize the Latin liturgy.

James Ignatius McAuley

Anonymous said...

Re Joseph Johnson's citation of Rorate Caeli: I found the following two paragraphs of an ancient text, supposedly by St Cyril of Jerusalem, called the Mystagogical Catecheses especially damning, since the first paragraph is the foundation for receiving in the hand and most people would accept it without a second glance. The article points out that the second paragraph, which shows the rite to be a bizarre document that contradicts scripture, is something that modern liturgists have conveniently omitted:

"When thou goest to receive communion go not with thy wrists extended, nor with thy fingers separated, but placing thy left hand as a throne for thy right, which is to receive so great a King, and in the hollow of the palm receive the body of Christ, saying, Amen.

"Then. carefully sanctifying the eyes by touching them with the holy Body, partake of it,(…) "Then, after you have partaken of the Body of Christ, come forward only for the cup of the Blood. Do not stretch out your hands but bow low as if making an act of obeisance and a profound act of veneration. Say 'Amen'. and sanctify yourself by partaking of Christ's Blood also. While the moisture is still on your lips, touch them with your hands and sanctify your eyes, your forehead, and all your other sensory organs…Do not cut yourselves off from Communion; nor deprive yourselves of these sacred and spiritual mysteries, not even if you are defiled by sins)."

THIS is the foundation for communion in the hand??!!

William Meyer said...

"When thou goest to receive communion go not with thy wrists extended, nor with thy fingers separated, but placing thy left hand as a throne for thy right, which is to receive so great a King, and in the hollow of the palm receive the body of Christ, saying, Amen.

Moreover, I note that in every case I have observed, our local EMHCs who receive in the hand use the right hand as a throne for the left, thus receiving in the left.