Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Partaking of the Chalice Is Not Required

May 6th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

From Fr. Kevin Murphy, pastor of St. Louis church in Pittsford (emphasis added):

“One other liturgical reminder?we all should be drinking from the cup at Mass?it should be the exception that keeps someone from sharing in the Lord?s invitation: Take and eat?take and drink?I am disappointed that more people pass by the cup ministers?I am not sure why this is so?is it the fear of germs?(not an issue according to the American Medical Society because of the alcohol in the wine and the practice of wiping the lip of the cup [I don’t buy that. Communion under both forms was suspended in most parishes because of Swine Flu concerns, so the possibility of germs spreading must exist])?or is it because we just were not raised with it?whatever the reason, I would encourage you to re-consider and to share fully in the Eucharist?this is a gift that the Lord offers us to nourish and strengthen us.”

There appears to be a couple of errors, or at least ambiguous statements in what Fr. Murphy wrote as posted above. First, there does not exist any sort of requirement that the lay faithful have to partake of both the sacred host and the chalice of the Lord’s blood. In fact, to even be able to offer both forms at Mass requires the approval of the diocesan bishop (R.S. #101), who is within his right to say that Communion is to be distributed in the form of bread alone. The priest pastor also may make this decision in his parish. Additionally, when there is a large number of people present for Mass, Communion under both kinds is discouraged by the Church (R.S. #102).

I understand what Fr. Murphy is trying to say when he makes the point that the Lord said to “Take and eat… take and drink.” However, the Church has taught throughout the centuries that when we receive our Lord in the sacred host (or precious blood), we receive the full Christ; body and blood, soul and divinity (CCC #1390). Drinking from the chalice, in addition to receiving the sacred host, does not mean that we get “more Jesus” or that our Communion is somehow incomplete if we don’t receive under both forms.

I hope this provides some clarity.

In image form:



8 Responses to “Partaking of the Chalice Is Not Required”

  1. Anonymous says:

    These parishes make tons of wine available for the consecration. Much is not consumed and then Jesus is dumped down the drain after mass. These people are clueless.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Just like Assumption. 8 chalices. Imagine how much of our Lord's blood is sent down the drainpipe.

  3. VCS says:

    What bothers me with this practice is that it creates the necessity for a large number of Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, especially with large numbers of people present. Typically there is a parade of people desending on the Sanctuary and moving about the Church with the precious blood of Jesus. Also, there is the need for several vessels, typically glass in this diocese and the possibility of spillage. At a large Mass, all this activity seems to me to take away from the sacredness of the Communion liturgy.

  4. Anonymous says:

    At St. Louis (and at Assumption) the left over precious blood is consumed, NOT dumped. This is the practice everywhere.

    Fr. Murphy is right that *if* the precious blood is offered at Mass, it is *preferable* to partake of it. The USCCB states that there is a "fuller sign value" in receiving communion under both kinds. It also calls reception under both kinds "especially fitting participation in his memorial of eternal life."

    Dr. K is right, it is not *required.* Then again, there are a lot of things in the Church that are not required but are preferable or encouraged. Daily Mass attendance is one example.

    I think the comments here are trying to make a issue where no issues exists.

    You can read the USCCB's comments here

  5. Gen says:

    The problem lies with people who think that if they do not receive both the host and the "cup" they do not receive the full Sacramental Jesus. Even in the host, we receive his body AND blood. The sooner people realize this, the sooner these non-issues should die.

  6. Nerina says:

    Exactly, Gen. I usually bypass the chalice because it impedes the flow of the Communion line. However, I am always careful to make a sign of reverence as I pass by. I second the observation that offering the precious blood contributes to the overuse of EMHCs.

  7. I've lost track of the number of times people have asked me whether they're receiving "all of Jesus" if they fail to sip from the cup.

    If you read paragraphs 100-107, there are all sorts of cautions and "opt-outs" for distributing under both kinds. It's hardly something one must do.

    And yes, it does strike me as a make-work plan for EMHCs.

  8. 100-107 of Redemptionis Sacramentum that is …

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