What do the Chevy Corvair and the Common Communion Chalice have in common? Both are unsafe at any speed and any Mass!
Ralph Nader, published in 1965, is a book accusing car manufacturers of resistance to the introduction of safety features, like seat belts, and their general reluctance to spend money on improving safety. It was a pioneering work, openly polemical but containing substantial references and material from industry insiders.
The subject for which the book is probably most widely known, the rear-engined Chevrolet Corvair, is covered in Chapter 1—"The Sporty Corvair-The One-Car Accident".
My Ralph Nader Comments: Just this morning, the news reported that many states in the USA are experiencing the H3N2 Flu epidemic and it is more serious than the H1N2 Flu of a few years ago. Georgia right now is a hot zone for it. Nationwide almost 15 children have died. There are no statistics yet on elderly people who have died of the flu and others with compromised immune systems and other health related issues.
When the H1N2 flu was merely threatening many communities, most bishops throughout the USA including then Bishop Kevin Boland of the Savannah Diocese mandated that the common chalice no longer be given to the laity while the epidemic was a possibility. He also mandated that the "sign of peace" cease at all Masses too and that hand sanitizer be available at the doors of the Church and in the sanctuary for EMHC's to use prior to distributing the Host.
This was the first time that the bishops of the USA acknowledged that the common chalice for the laity could spread a communicable disease such as the flu. Obviously if this is true it can also spread other viruses and diseases, the most worrisome the deadly meningitis virus that can be spread especially to college age kids after drinking after someone else on the same glass, can or chalice.
A couple of months ago when the flu was starting to hit our schools, I requested permission from our current Bishop Gregory Hartmayer to discontinue the use of the common chalice. He gave me permission.
I really wonder if the liturgical custom of having upwards to 30 people drinking from the common chalice is a custom that should continue in the Church now that it is known that it is unsanitary and can cause people with compromised immune systems to become ill from a virus left on the chalice and in the case of the flu or meningitis, it could cause death at any time of the year, not just flu season!
We all know that city and county health departments would not condone the Catholic practice of having a great number or any number of communicants drinking from a common chalice. If we were a restaurant, our food and drink license would be revoked for doing so!
I ask the lawyers out there. If in fact communicable diseases can be "caught" from drinking from a communal chalice during Mass, does this open dioceses up to lawsuits especially now that bishops have acknowledged publicly for the first time that the flu can be caught from drinking from the common chalice?
Oh, Lord…you are going to get Ignotus cranked up again...
Good Father - No one ever denied that the common cup has the POTENTIAL to be he vector for diseases. You make this up every time you post on this topic.
The LIKELIHOOD that an outbreak of some deadly, or even unpleasant, epidemic will result from the use of the common cup is minimal. It is so minimal that, under normal conditions, it need not be a worry.
You are as likely or more likely to get germs from your door knobs.
Thus it begins...
You shouldn't be so cavalier about the health threat of the common chalice even if one person dies, that person's life is sacred. Door knobs ate not a liturgical symbol and we don't lick or kiss these in a prescribed liturgical action.
Good father - It is you who are cavalier, allowing your own irrational and unscientific notions about germs to cloud your pastoral judgment.
One person could fall and die on the steps of your church, but I don't see you out beating the bushes looking for a donor to pay to have it turned into a ramp...
Using stairs is not a liturgical action of the entire congregation and if someone falls on our property even if they are at fault insurance covers the liability. Also sex abuse is covered but we do ALL that is humanly possible to prevent it. The virtus answer to an unhealthy and absolutely unnecessary liturgical action is to stop it in its tracks!
Receiving from the common cup, Good Father, is also not "a liturgical action of the entire congregation." That's a silly line of argument.
So is thinking that you must do "ALL that is humanly possible to prevent" harm to or (gasp) the death of a person attending your church. If you really thought that was necessary, you would rope off those very dangerous front steps and funnel everyone in through the side door.
Using those steps are "unhealthy" and "unnecessary," but I don'[t see you running to the bishop to ask his permission to close them off...
I once saw an elderly woman try to genuflect and fall over and hit her head on the floor. Permanent injury? I don't know. Possible. Should we ban genuflection? Do ALL we can to prevent injury? Everybody touches the pews. There are surely germs and viruses EVERYWHERE. Has the priest who distributes communion touched ANYTHING since he last washed his hands. How well did he wash them after he used the facility before Mass? Both genuflection and drinking from the cup are voluntary actions. Touching the pews is not.
I think you may be an obsessive compulsive germophobe. Do you ever touch money? It can be the most dangerous stuff around....Why not go wash your hands right now?
What is the purpose of drinking from the Chalice? I've never felt deprived or concerned that I'm not participating in the full reception of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ while receiving under the one species. Liberals are so concerned about the time it takes to distribute Communion. Doesn't both species cause more time to elapse? Personally I've always found it to be very unpleasant and unsanitary to put my mouth on the same cup used by 50 people before me. That's why I've never done it.
I have received at an Eastern Rite Mass many times but I'm not repulsed by it. Maybe I find their ritual to be a legitimate reverential practice whereas I find the both species in the Roman Rite to be another liberal innovation done to satisfy a need to introduce irreverent change.
Father McDonald has my vote. I find he's usually right about these kind of things. BTW I think he does deserve to be addressed as "Good Father" in a respectful way.
Happy New Year
Disease isn't the only potential problem with permitting the laity to handle the Chalice. Historically, this has long been the privilege of the ordained. Why do we insist on running the risk of spilling even one drop of Christ's precious blood? It comes across like a postconiliar act of defiance.
Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh,
And you protest his position every time he posts on this topic:
Fr. A.J.M.--common chalice bad because high potential for disease outweighs spiritual befits.
Fr. M.J.K.--common chalice good because spiritual benefits outweigh low potential for disease.
We get it.
There are actually those who rationally study this issue:
For more than two decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated an official position to inquirers (e.g., lay public, physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals) about the risk of infectious disease transmission from a common communion cup. Although no documented transmission of any infectious disease has ever been traced to the use of a common communion cup, a great deal of controversy surrounds this issue; the CDC still continues to receive inquiries about this topic. In this letter, the CDC strives to achieve a balance of adherence to scientific principles and respect for religious beliefs.
Within the CDC, the consensus of the National Center for Infectious Diseases and the National Center for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and Tuberculosis is that a theoretic risk of transmitting infectious diseases by using a common communion cup exists, but that the risk is so small that it is undetectable. The CDC has not been called on to investigate any episodes or outbreaks of infectious diseases that have been allegedly linked to the use of a common communion cup. However, outbreaks or clusters of infection might be difficult to detect if: (1) a high prevalence of disease (e.g., infectious mononucleosis, influenza, herpes, strep throat, common cold) exists in the community, (2) diseases with oral routes of transmission have other modes of transmission (i.e., fecal-oral, hand-to-mouth/nose, airborne), (3) the length of the incubation period for the disease is such that other opportunities for exposure cannot be ruled out unequivocally, and (4) no incidence data exist for comparison purposes (i.e., the disease is not on the reportable disease list and therefore is not under public health surveillance).
Experimental studies have shown that bacteria and viruses can contaminate a common communion cup and survive despite the alcohol content of the wine. Therefore, an ill person or asymptomatic carrier drinking from the common cup could potentially expose other members of the congregation to pathogens present in saliva. Were any diseases transmitted by this practice, they most likely would be common viral illnesses, such as the common cold. However, a recent study of 681 persons found that people who receive Communion as often as daily are not at higher risk of infection compared with persons who do not receive communion or persons who do not attend Christian church services at all.
In summary, the risk for infectious disease transmission by a common communion cup is very low, and appropriate safeguards — that is, wiping the interior and exterior rim between communicants, use of care to rotate the cloth during use, and use of a clean cloth for each service — would further diminish this risk. In addition, churches may wish to consider advising their congregations that sharing the communion cup is discouraged if a person has an active respiratory infection (i.e., cold or flu) or moist or open sores on their lips (e.g., herpes).
Maybe we should adopt the Eastern practice of using a golden straw to drop Precious Blood in communicants' mouths.
You spoke...briefly...about one person's life being sacred. The main thrust of your argument, however, seems to be about money and possible legal action. But, of course, I'm sure Jesus checked His liability policy before he changed water into wine.
Ask yourself…why are modernists and libs like Ignotus, who are otherwise minimalists and either speak of the Real Presence tongue-in -cheek or simply deny it (Ignotus refused to answer when asked if he believed in it), so gung ho about the chalice? It is because it is another way to emphasize the laity by having all the EMHC's and lay participation. It has nothing to do with the Precious Blood…it becomes merely a tool for humanistic ends…sort of like the Church is for them.
Although communion on the tongue while kneeling is undoubtedly the “safest” manner of distribution, this is not the primary reason it should be universal. The reason is spiritual rather than physical.
And the reason some so vigorously insist on offering the common cup is not based on genuine doubt of the possibility of thereby spreading disease. It is based on ideology. What is reprehensible about their dissembling denial of the possibility of infection, is that their ideology in opposition to traditional spirituality trumps any consideration of possible danger to the physical health of their parishioners.
So the real point is missed in both houses—both by those who deny and by those who insist on the possibility of spreading contagion via the common cup. At issue is the health of souls rather than the health of bodies.
One word solves it all: Intinction...best of both worlds.
Anonymous, what are you talking about? I know Byzantine practice is to use a spoon, but I've never heard of using a 'golden straw'.
Having in one location seen or heard of the precious Blood being spilled (EMHC), the excess coughed all over everything (EMHC), or the excess poured down the Sacrarium after Mass (EMHC), I think there are ample reasons even aside from the flu (which I have currently) that the practice unnecessarily places our Lord at risk of profanation (GIRM 283). While none of these events were malicious, I can't make the case that the fuller sign of the Eucharistic Banquet trumps such profanation.
The problem I have with the congregational chalice is that it occasions the increased use of lay communion ministers. Since, (A.) laymen are to distribute Holy Communion only in cases of true necessity, and (B.) distribution of the chalice is not a necessity, then (C.) laymen should not distribute the chalice under ordinary circumstances.
JBS - You may get it, but AJM doesn't. Hence, we continue.
Bill - Thanks. Now, if you could find some data on people breaking their necks on slippery, marble stairs...
To raise an unpleasant point, it is my understanding that if the content of saliva comes to be greater than the content of "wine", then the Body and Blood of Christ ceases to be present in the chalice. The quantity of water added at the commingling could also be factored in.
Does this situation ever arise in practice?
I had a situation where the deacon who prepared the chalice for Mass placed too much water into a small amount of wine. I didn't realize it until it came time for me to consume the precious blood which was very watered down.
Was it valid matter for consecration and did this invalidate that Mass? I don't know. I think in these situations, the theological term "epikia" kicks in, meaning God provides what is lacking especially if one isn't certain.
As far a purifying chalices after Mass, many people fill the empty chalice that does have a residue of the Precious blood still in it with water to completely dilute the Precious Blood so that it looses the characteristic of wine and ceases to be consecrated thus allowing the ablutions to be poured into the sacraium rather than drunk.
It's "epikeia," not epikia.
The Church has always taught that the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ was present in the Host.
If that is so, what can be gained by giving the laity access to the Chalice? Another chance to profane Christ's blood by spilling it? Another chance to blur the roles of priest and laity? As Vince Lombardi once said, "Three things can happen when you throw a forward pass and two of them are bad."
I have heard people say that offering Communion under both species is a "great sign of faith." Maybe so, but it seems to me to be to be a great sign of faithlessness.
Do any of the pews have "padded" seating? Ever see any stains in that padding? What were/are those stains? The list could be virtually endless.
We are thankful for Him. There are those who would take away the real presence from the flock if given the opportunity: Health concerns. Food permit. Food inspectors. The good of everyone. It's the right thing to do. Common sense.
His will be done.
Offering the Chalice to the laity at every Mass is very much an Anglo-American phenomenon. It is not the norm in continental Europe. In England it was fairly rare until the 1980s, when hordes of EMHC appeared on the scene (coincidence? I think not).
I read today that the Scottish nurse who has returned from Sierra Leone with Ebola contracted the virus from hugging people at a Xmas Day church service. Which brings us to the so-called 'sign of peace'. It's unliturgical in the way that it's usually practised; it distracts from one of the most significant parts of the Mass, namely the Fraction - as the priest breaks the Host the congregation are still glad-handing each other, waving and blowing kisses (ugh!); it's impossible to avoid without appearing rude. I don't mind nodding to my neighbour with a brief 'Pax Domini sit semper tecum' (the correct formula according to GIRM 154 to which the answer is 'Amen' - holding an open missal usually discourages unwelcome physical contact). But invariably the person in front of me turns round and extends his or her paw. I shake it with a brisk 'Good Morning!' rather than give offence.
Since the whole thing's optional anyway, why not drop it altogether? Prosit Neujahr!
Here is my comment as a lawyer. First, my caveat, as an attorney I can make no comment on the law of the sovereign state of Georgia as I am not admitted to the Georgia bar. Second, my primary focus as an attorney is in real estate and wills. Having said that, I do not believe that the Church, parish, pastor or EMHC would incur any liability as this would be a traditional practice exempt under the Federal First Amendment - traditional in that Protestant sects have been serving communion rom the cup since the founding of the nation, and before. I do not think a claim for damages for this would go very far.
The thing to note is Father Kavenaugh's position, from a Byzantine Catholic perspective, is correct, that is, as Father JBS puts it "common chalice good because spiritual benefits outweigh low potential for disease." We Byzantines fearlessly commune from the common spoon. I serve the altar and have observed that he majority of communicants have the sacred species dropped in on their tongue and nothing touches. HOWEVER, I have also seen some of the elderly clamp down on the spoon with their mouths. Ugghh. One Ukrainian Catholic priest combats this by serving communion in such a way as to flick it into your mouth, not place on the tongue, thus preventing the communicant from clamping down on the spoon.
Both legally and morally the responsible thing to do
do as Mr. Hobbs prudently suggested: "churches may wish to consider advising their congregations that sharing the communion cup is discouraged if a person has an active respiratory infection (i.e., cold or flu) or moist or open sores on their lips (e.g., herpes)." Folks should be reminded as an act of charity to refrain from the cup under such circumstances and that it could be construed as a violation of the Fourth Commandment to receive from the cup in such circumstances. The physically blighted communicant could offer up as a sacrifice the inability to receive the precious blood under such circumstances.
Now, in my days as a Latin I did see phlegm in the sacred cup. BLech! A suggestion would be to create a large miniature chalice set, like I see some protestants have and serve it that way, with a deacon or priest.
Now, my late father in law was a medical doctor. He would never receive in the chalice and when my wife asked him why, he said one word: "germs." He was not irrational or unscientific and could cite medical journals by article and page to support his position not to receive the precious blood. The reality for contagion is higher than most realize - he noted that the CDC work did not take into account "Backwash" from mucous membranes in the mouth, but rather was focused on lip contact. He was a doctor for over 50 years, God rest his soul.
Finally, I do think tincture would be the best approach, it would be the safest for the Latin rite.
A Holy, Healthy, and Happy new year to Father Allen, Father Michael and Father JBS.
John - It is not possible to contract ebola from hugging another person.
From the CDC: When an infection occurs in humans, the virus can be spread to others through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with
•blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
•objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
•infected fruit bats or primates (apes and monkeys)
If the sign of peace distracts from the fraction, then the priest is rushing things. There is no overlap in my church, nor in most of the places where I have celebrated or concelebrated mass. (Not weight/bulk, BTW
****Ding, Ding, Ding**** Give Father a cigar, he has hit the nail on the head with this statement: "The problem I have with the congregational chalice is that it occasions the increased use of lay communion ministers. Since, (A.) laymen are to distribute Holy Communion only in cases of true necessity, and (B.) distribution of the chalice is not a necessity, then (C.) laymen should not distribute the chalice under ordinary circumstances."
The rest of the discussion about what illness is caused by what action falls under the heading of "Momma told you to use good sense".
Indeed so, Templar. Good sense is something that libs woefully lack. Ignotus has told us that he is an expert on everything from women, to music, to liturgics (all laughable after reading his posts for a few years). I wonder where he got his MD or his degree in microbiology…maybe Wal Mart.
We did mouth swabs on each other in a hospital infection control class once. Every one of us harbored several kinds of potentially disease causing bacteria, including staph aureus, a couple of kinds of strep associated with periodontal disease, pneumonococcal strep, and one poor bastard even had e-coli (if you are going to pick your teeth, do it before you scratch your butt). It is common sense that many diseases are spread by droplet and that many can live on surfaces for hours. Herpes and mono are both spread by droplet, herpes quite easily. Alcohol is not an efficient anti-septic (ask any surgeon). Also, the mouth contains more than saliva….there is mucus, food particles, and various allergens and other goodies.
This anecdotal BS about, "Oh, people who drink from the common cup don't get sick any more than other people," says nothing. It has no relation to the possibility of contracting germs from the cup.
So, Ignotus and others, enjoy your bacteriological soup...
Pin/Gene - According to one study, bacteria outnumber the human cells in our bodies 10 to 1.
I don't have a degree in medicine, and my BA in Biology came from Belmont Abbey College. But you don't need degrees in microbiology or epidemiology to understand that there is little likelihood of an epidemic being caused by the common cup.
As for E. coli, it is not some "poor bastard" who has it - it is found in humans and most animals. And it is not at all unusual to find E. coli in the mouth. In the vast majority of cases, this causes no problem.
Most strains of E. coli are harmless, and the pathogenic ones only cause problems when they get outside the intestinal tract.
Not only do I enjoy my bacterial soup - my microbiome - I realize that it is that microbiome that keeps me alive. Long live bacteria!
I know all that, Ignotus. We are not talking about an epidemic, we are talking about a given individual contracting a disease from the common cup. Once again, by stating the case in the extreme, you seek to negate my comments. Oh, by the way, the mouth is outside the intestinal tract…except, perhaps, in your case...
'Dr Martin Deahl, who travelled to west Africa with the 39-year-old nurse, said it was likely that she had contracted the virus during a community activity. "it cannot be spread by airborne contact, so as long as there was no touching, there should not have been a problem ... I went to church myself on Christmas morning and I have no doubt that Pauline contracted the virus doing something similar." '
Those treating Ebola wear full PPE so no physical contact is made. You mention sweat, so shaking hands, let alone hugging, is hazardous. Not that I expect to catch anything from shaking hands, although not long ago I had to decline the handshake from a woman who had spent the previous 45 minutes coughing into the same hand. She was of Asiatic appearance, so God knows what disease she might have been harbouring; I certainly didn't want it.
It's not a question of the celebrant rushing the Fraction, it's a question of the congregation dragging out the sign of peace to absurd lengths. Intoning the Agnus Dei sometimes curtails the nonsense, but not always.
I am aware that context is the most reliable guide to meaning, but in English mass/Mass is an important distinction and there seems to be a compelling case for capitalization. Most people follow this convention, but you do not, and despite repeated requests will not say why. In Spanish and French 'misa' and 'messe' have only one meaning and in any case the romance languages don't capitalize as much as English does. I find it particularly odd that a Catholic priest would use a lower-case initial for the Holy Sacrifice; not quite as odd as writing 'christmas' for instance, but sufficiently singular to be remarkable.
John Nolan, this "priest" would not even answer the direct question about his belief in the Real Presence. Do you really think he gives a damn about respect for the Mass?
John - I find it particularly odd that a non-philistine such as yourself would assume that a woman of "Asiatic appearance" should, as opposed to a woman of other ethnic appearance, be harbouring "God knows what" diseases.
I hope you never end up in the hospital with an Indian nurse, a Filipino cardiologist, or a Japanese surgeon.
Hell, I hope I never end up in a hospital with an Indian nurse, a Filipino cardiologist, a Japanese surgeon, or Ignotus as a Priest!
Gene - And I hope you do!
Your technique for avoiding having to answer the question is to pick on a fairly unimportant detail and proceed to criticize it. What has my experience at the Oxford Oratory in common with your refusal to capitalize 'Mass'? Nothing whatsoever, except that it allows you to repeat back the phrase 'I find it particularly odd that ...'.
Actually, it is reasonable to infer that someone who coughs incessantly for three quarters of an hour has something seriously the matter with her; that it is possible she may have recently visited the Indian subcontinent; and that some tropical diseases are contagious. So ethnicity is not entirely irrelevant. In any case my objection to the 'holy handshake' is not primarily hygienic, as you are well aware.
India…boy, "sub" is no idle prefix when applied to that continent.
John, I have already stated why capitalizing mass should not be an issue. If, in the context of discussing litutgy, the meaning of the word "mass" is not 100% clear, the capitalization isn't going to help.
No, Gene, this is not a sign of disbelief. No, it is not an indication that I reject the Church's teaching.
I find it particularly odd... that you make such a fuss over this. No mention is made of the words I do capitalize. Mountains are being made of molehills I would suggest.
I think that I also don't capitalize "you" or "your" when using those words to refer to God. Many do so, but I follow the lead of the Roman missal here.
And lots of questions go unanswered in these parts, so singling me out for such is more than a little disingenuous. Too many people, when they don't get the answer they want, howl, "Oh, you didn't answer the question!" when what they should say is, "That's not the answer I wanted or expected."
Ignotus, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (and note the capitalization of Missal, following the accepted conventions of English usage, as in Lawn Tennis Association or Regent Street) capitalizes Mass throughout. You don't even follow the Roman Missal with respect to its title!
Kavanaugh…wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.
The master of not answering questions was undoubtedly James Harold Wilson, UK Prime Minister 1964-1970 and 1974-1976, and the first PM to appear at ease on television. When asked a question he didn't want to answer, Wilson would proceed to light his trademark pipe and after a few puffs would come back with 'I'm glad you asked me that' before answering an entirely different question, assuming that both interviewer and audience would by then have forgotten the original one. Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990) would simply reiterate the answer she had given to the previous question, with the overemphasis and pained expression of an old-fashioned schoolmarm confronted with a particularly dense pupil. She would preface her answers with 'Let me explain.'
There are only two people on this blog who won't answer a direct question. One of these is Anonymous-the-Pillock who hasn't the brains even to be a decent troll, and the other is - no prizes for guessing.
John, Yes, I remember some of Thatcher's responses. Liked her, though, from an American's perspective.
The response, "I'm glad you asked that question" always prepared me for the coming deluge of double speak. LOL!
John - I don't worry too much about "conventions" that are of little or no real value.
The "accepted conventions of English usage" are, like many aspects of the mass, not of divine origin and, therefore, subject to change.
I highly favor the use of the Oxford comma, but I don't know where you stand on this question. I have become reconciled with the fact that, in most style books, the OC is not recommended. I will use it until the day I die, but I don't make judgments about the character of others based on their non-use of this most useful of punctuation marks.
The Roman missal is not, I would suggest, the best source for instructions on capitalization. As LA requires, the capitalization found in the Latin texts must be maintained in the English (and other) translations, which makes little or no sense, especially if one is concerned, as you are, with the "accepted conventions of English usage."
Why do you mention that you follow the lead of the Roman Missal in your 1/3/15 5:26 PM comment and then disavow the Missal as an authority in your last comment?
Anonymous - I cited the Roman missal regarding the non-capitalization of you and your when referencing God. I also note that the Roman missal is inconsistent with "accepted conventions of English usage."
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