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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Swine Flu & The Eucharist

FT.com / UK - Swine flu triggers change to Church ritual

I continue to hear many "authoritative" stories or legends with quotes, stats or studies by supposed epidemiologists or The AMA about the safety of the practice of using the common cup for the Eucharist (Look here). Nonetheless, some churches are changing their Eucharistic practices because of the swine flu. In the Church of England they are again referring to the 1547 Sacrament Act. Read it. It's fascinating.

The safety of the common cup argument goes something like this: There are several important elements to administering the common cup that increases it's hygiene:
  • A wide brimmed chalice: Every time one communicant sips from the cup, the cup is wiped and turned one "space" thus a wide brimmed chalice will allow several people to partake before someone again sips from the same spot.
  • Port or Sherry (I forget - whichever has the highest alcohol content): The high alcohol content is a germ killer (and for the enjoyment of the priest --- joke, joke, just kidding!).
  • A chalice bearer (someone to serve/administer the cup): Not everyone handles the chalice -- in theory just the priest and chalice bearer -- keeping germs to a minimum.
  • A purificator: This is the white cloth used by the chalice bearer to wipe both sides of the rim of the chalice after every person partakes. The chalice is wiped and turned after every communicant partakes.
And there are some that believe the Eucharist is a holy meal which God mystically protects from creating illness or harm.

Is your church doing anything to protect from the Swine Flu?

Comments on "Swine Flu & The Eucharist"


Anonymous germangirl said ... (5:18 PM, July 29, 2009) : 

I guess you just have to take bigger sipps to sanatize the germs you'd get from using the common cup... how high is the alcohol content of the communion wine??? lol... and of course watch out for the curley tail, if you are growing one I guess you caught the bug during communion... oink oink...


Blogger theultrarev said ... (6:46 PM, July 29, 2009) : 

Port and Sherry can have alcohol contents of upwards of 20% or better. Ask Jeff if he remembers what kind of wine Trinity used to use.


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