LEAVE IT TO A NOVA SCOTIAN'S COMMON SENSE TO SAVE THE DAY BY GETTING RID OF THE COMMON CHALICE' CESSPOOL THAT IT IS
Drink from this? Hell no!
This is an NCR letter to the editor:
The issue in drinking from a shared Communion cup is cultural, not medical. We live in a North American culture which has long abhorred drinking or eating from shared utensils, be they cups, glasses, plates, spoons, whatever. When I was a boy in Missouri, there were tin cups hanging by a string from all the public water faucets and everybody used them. Today that is not done; it is not even legal.
If parents today found out that kids in the grade school were regularly drinking from the same cups or glasses, there would be a holy uproar and it would stop in a twinkling. Bottom line: it is intensely against the grain of our culture to drink from a shared cup and has been for a long time. (And, I might add, not without reason.)
We Catholics cannot change that. We should not even want to change that! I do not think that it is our role as Catholics to correct the public health conceptions of our culture, or any culture (unless they are dangerously harmful). Historically, we follow the way, formed by Jesus, who himself respected a high-profile public health perception of a specific (first century Jewish) culture: no pork for him.
The church is always an incarnate community: it lives in this place and in this time. I don't think we should be setting up a situation in which being seen as a good or real Catholic requires one to violate one of the major taboos of our own culture. The results are predictable: I have watched many parents over the years discourage their children from sharing the wine, because they are so uncomfortable with the particular way in which we Catholics insist it must be done. In fact, because of that discomfort, many folks in our parish no longer share in the wine. It need not be that way.
Instead, let us follow the lead of other Christian churches who have found multiple respectful and effective ways of sharing the wine without violating the taboo against drinking out of the same cup. Let us follow their example. A healthily incarnate and ecumenical Christian community can do no less.