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  #1  
Old Apr 21, '17, 8:47 am
Maine52 Maine52 is offline
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Default Germs and The Communion Cup

My friend's 17-year-old son recently became an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. His parents (my friends) are concerned about germs on the chalice. They are worried that their teen will catch hepatitis or another serious infectious disease when he has to drink the leftover consecrated wine after many others have drunk from the same cup. (I don't know how it works at other parishes but at their parish the EMHC's must consume the remaining Precious Blood from the chalice they administered.) They are considering forbidding him from being an EMHC but know he is happy about filling this particular role in parish life. They are asking my advice and I am not sure how to respond. Thoughts?
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  #2  
Old Apr 21, '17, 9:00 am
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Default Re: Germs and The Communion Cup

Statistically, there has never been a reported case of disease communicated through a communion cup. There are lots of theories why, including that the alcohol content makes for an inhospitable environment, or simply that that there may be a supernatural part in this. I don't know why, I don't care why, I take no position why. I just know it has never been reported to have happened. That doesn't mean it can't, it just hasn't as far as we know.


I have been a deacon for almost 7 years. I was an EMHC for at least 5 years before that. I have consumed the remaining precious blood at virtually every Sunday Mass I have been to in the last at least 12 years. I have never gotten sick from it.

This from the CDC:

“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)."

https://4b2hrderdaoklyfu2n1ah3eku-wp...on-Cup-CDC.pdf
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  #3  
Old Apr 21, '17, 9:38 am
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pianistclare pianistclare is offline
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Default Re: Germs and The Communion Cup

What the Deacon said.
Personally, in my own opinion, it would be awful to think that the Blood of Christ or the sacred vessel that holds it, contains cooties.
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Old Apr 21, '17, 10:33 am
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Crusaderbear Crusaderbear is offline
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Default Re: Germs and The Communion Cup

I would wonder more about being under 21 and having to consume a larger amount of wine...I know there is usually very little left in the cup, but...

We have one older gentleman who always seems to empty everyones remaining wine. Not sure if it's deliberate, or he just happens to do it...
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Old Apr 21, '17, 10:37 am
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pianistclare pianistclare is offline
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Default Re: Germs and The Communion Cup

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Originally Posted by Crusaderbear View Post
I would wonder more about being under 21 and having to consume a larger amount of wine...I know there is usually very little left in the cup, but...

We have one older gentleman who always seems to empty everyones remaining wine. Not sure if it's deliberate, or he just happens to do it...

He has probably been asked to be the one to take the last sip.
Many people refuse. If there is always too much left over, then the Sacristan is putting out to much to be consecrated.
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  #6  
Old Apr 21, '17, 10:47 am
Maine52 Maine52 is offline
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Default Re: Germs and The Communion Cup

Quote:
Originally Posted by pianistclare View Post
What the Deacon said.
Personally, in my own opinion, it would be awful to think that the Blood of Christ or the sacred vessel that holds it, contains cooties.
Well, since you mentioned it...his mother said something along the lines of, "Well, I know it's the blood of Jesus but is it really a big deal if a little drop goes down the drain? Big powerful Catholic Church, don't they know how risky it is to share a common cup? We're all there worshipping together, we don't have to get each other's germs!"

I know she's concerned for her son, but I found this offensive.
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Old Apr 21, '17, 10:52 am
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pianistclare pianistclare is offline
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Default Re: Germs and The Communion Cup

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Originally Posted by Maine52 View Post
Well, since you mentioned it...his mother said something along the lines of, "Well, I know it's the blood of Jesus but is it really a big deal if a little drop goes down the drain? Big powerful Catholic Church, don't they know how risky it is to share a common cup? We're all there worshipping together, we don't have to get each other's germs!"

I know she's concerned for her son, but I found this offensive.

I guess she really doesn't think all things are possible through Christ.

You get many people like that. That's why people pass up the Precious Blood.
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Old Apr 21, '17, 11:05 am
PaulfromIowa PaulfromIowa is offline
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Default Re: Germs and The Communion Cup

Out of all of the things that the parents of a 17 year old SHOULD be worrying about, this is not one of them.
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Old Apr 21, '17, 11:12 am
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Default Re: Germs and The Communion Cup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine52 View Post
Well, since you mentioned it...his mother said something along the lines of, "Well, I know it's the blood of Jesus but is it really a big deal if a little drop goes down the drain? Big powerful Catholic Church, don't they know how risky it is to share a common cup? We're all there worshipping together, we don't have to get each other's germs!"

I know she's concerned for her son, but I found this offensive.
. . . and startlingly uninformed
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Old Apr 21, '17, 11:16 am
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Default Re: Germs and The Communion Cup

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. . . and startlingly uninformed
Absolutely. I've been an EMHC & Sacristan for over 30 years. Consumed left over Precious Blood over the years; never caught anything. And the thing about, even a drop down the drain. Just poor catechisis.
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Old Apr 21, '17, 12:20 pm
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Default Re: Germs and The Communion Cup

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Originally Posted by tawny View Post
Absolutely. I've been an EMHC & Sacristan for over 30 years. Consumed left over Precious Blood over the years; never caught anything. And the thing about, even a drop down the drain. Just poor catechisis.
I thought there was a special drain that went directly into the ground. Maybe that's what she meant?
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Old Apr 21, '17, 12:41 pm
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Default Re: Germs and The Communion Cup

[quote=pianistclare;14604135]What the Deacon said.
Personally, in my own opinion, it would be awful to think that the Blood of Christ or the sacred vessel that holds it, contains cooties.[/QUOTE]

In all of the times that I have received from the cup too, I never thought about that or worried about anything like that.

I looked forward to receiving from the cup with joy and happiness in my heart, knowing that I would be receiving the Lord.

It just never even occurred to me that it would be any kind of a possible health issue, because I also know that that is why a cloth is used too, to wipe the cup between uses.

I only thought about receiving the Lord, and being happy to do so.

I'm not commenting to make anyone else feel bad in any way, as these are just my own thoughts on this matter.
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  #13  
Old Apr 21, '17, 4:05 pm
Solomonson Solomonson is offline
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Default Re: Germs and The Communion Cup

I was recently the MC for an Easter Vigil Mass. Normally communion at this parish is under one species. At Christmas and Easter it's under both species which equates to 8 vessels to dispense the Blessed Sacrament.

The celebrant asked me to help him purify the vessels. We used both wine and water. All 8 were purified will each ones contents consolidated down to a single chalice of about 50% wine and water. We both consumed the mixture.

Afterwards I asked about the wine? That's very old school, something I have never experienced in person. He laughed and said "you'll be happy when you don't come down with a cold tomorrow." He used the wine as a practical germ-killer. I thought that we very interesting.

Last edited by Solomonson; Apr 21, '17 at 4:20 pm.
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  #14  
Old Apr 21, '17, 4:08 pm
Barb3 Barb3 is offline
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Default Re: Germs and The Communion Cup

I don't drink from the Communion cup because when I get a cold I get very sick -- but I do take the Eucharist in my hand and dip it in the Communion cup -- I trust that I'm receiving under both species which is what I want to do
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Old Apr 21, '17, 4:14 pm
Solomonson Solomonson is offline
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Default Re: Germs and The Communion Cup

Quote:
Originally Posted by kptrs View Post
I thought there was a special drain that went directly into the ground. Maybe that's what she meant?
Even with a sacrarium or piscina -- a sink not connected to a sewer or other septic system, but one that drains onto the dirt, grass, (which cannot be easily stepped on), flowerbed, etc., the liquid (wine or water or a mixture) of the first rinse must always be consumed by a human.

If something truly horrible happens -- should someone say vomit or expectorate into the sacred vessel, the contents must be added to a much larger vessel of water and allowed to soak so there is no visual reminder of the Blessed Sacrament (intact hosts, recognizable Precious Blood) and then poured down the sacrarium.
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