Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or to add to the answers below.
Increasingly, communicants are retaining the consecrated wafer (or morsel of bread) and dipping it into the chalice when it arrives. Presumably they feel that the common cup is unhygienic, but surely this is worse: holding the wafer for a time in their sticky hand — recently involved with the Peace — then, as often as not, allowing their fingertips to come into contact with the consecrated wine. Would a celebrant be justified in requiring, not requesting, those who wish to avoid the common cup to receive in one kind, and have the authority to do so; or must we put up with it?
The practice of communicants’ dipping their consecrated wafer in the consecrated wine was becoming more common in my former parishes as I was retiring nearly two years ago. I did not, unfortunately, grasp at the time that this intinction was gaining popularity. If I had realised, I would have discussed it with the PCC and at least discouraged the habit. Now enjoying an active retirement ministry, I am aware that the practice continues.
It has always seemed to me that dipping carries the risk of contamination. Although I have never noticed anyone’s fingertips actually touching the wine, I do agree with the questioner that hands shaken in the Peace may harbour other people’s germs, which can also lurk in fingernails.
I have never thought it good that the chalice should be a free-for-all dunking receptacle. York Minster, and maybe other cathedrals and larger places of worship, strictly forbid the practice, so that those who for any reason fear the common cup must accept communion in one kind only.
Having a wife who is coeliac, I am conscious, too, that dipping the wafer carries a small risk of adding gluten to the consecrated wine. My wife sits at the front of church and so always communicates while the wine is “pure”. She would not risk taking it after others have been dipping their wafers. More discussion is needed.
(Canon) Rodney Nicholson
East Riding of Yorkshire
Here in Llandaff diocese, communicants wishing to intinct their wafers are now obliged to pass them to the chalice-bearer. The latter will then carefully dip them, avoiding any unhygienic contact with the wine.
I use intinction if I have a cold. The Blessed Sacrament is a means of healing, and this normally eclipses any health risk. A president should not ban the practice; for any anxieties can simply be met by not taking the chalice to the dippers until all the lippers have sipped.
Frank McManus (Reader Emeritus)
In Common Worship why is it that the words spoken over the bread and the wine in the Eucharistic Prayer are taken solely from St Matthew’s Gospel and not from Mark, Luke, or John? [Answers, 2 September]
The answer given does not answer my query. The Matthaean addition, “for the forgiveness of sins”, raises questions on atonement; more importantly, it obscures Jesus’s intention in all New Testament accounts of superseding the Old Covenant of Law, sealed by the blood of animal sacrifice, by the New Covenant, symbolically sealed by his own blood, a covenant of Love — that you love one another as I have loved you.
(The Revd) John Davies
A. H. has written again to ask: “Why is it that there are no words spoken over the bread and wine and taken from either Mark or Luke?” Editor
Are there any responses to follow a scripture reading which are alternatives to “This is the word of the Lord,” for the many occasions when it patently isn’t?
R. H. V.
Glyn Paflin (Diary, 26 August) mentions Hymns A. & M. 595. This is Archbishop J. R. Darbyshire’s hymn “For the Fallen”, with its line about “a tryst of love with them that sleep”, safer than the once popular 594 (not mentioned), now seen as “too doubtful”. When and where did the Archbishop live and work? How else is he remembered?
F. R. McM.
Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.