20 October 2009

The Common Cup is Relatively Safe

As the fears surrounding H1N1 and the Flu Season again call into question the age-old Christian practice of using a common cup in the celebration of Holy Communion, I want to share a few words of wisdom from, of all places, the British secular government's health agency...

"Bacteriological experiments have shown that the occasional transmission of micro-organisms is unaffected by the alcoholic content of the wine, the constituent material of the cup or the practice of partially rotating it, but is appreciably reduced when a cloth is used to wipe the lip of the cup between communicants. Nevertheless, transmission does not necessarily imply inoculation or infection. Consideration of the epidemiology of micro-organisms that may be transmitted via saliva, particularly the herpes group of viruses, suggests that indirect transmission of infection is rare and in most instances a much greater opportunity exists for direct transmission by other means. There is substantial evidence that neither infection with hepatitis B virus nor HIV can be transmitted directly via saliva so that indirect transmission via inanimate objects is even less likely. ..Currently available data do not provide any support for suggesting that the practice of sharing a common communion cup should be abandoned because it might spread infection."

"The Hazard of Infection From the Shared Communion Cup"
Public Health Laboratory Service
Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre
London, U.K.

Rob+ adds: It is far more likley to get sick from allowing people to dip their own bread into the common cup than it is to drink from the common cup itself. If you are going to practice intinction, please ensure that communion ministers are trained in how to do so, and have very, very thuroughly washed their hands before distributing the Sacrament.


All original material (C) 2007-2010 by Father Robert Lyons.

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