Drinking from Gold Chalice and Viruses

I’ve always heard that you cannot get infected with anything by drinking from a gold chalice. On a few occasions, a chalice has been shared by all those receiving Communion and drinking the wine from the same Cup. Is it possible to get viruses from this practice? This is beginning to worry me because I’ve shared the same Cup during Mass, not knowing what sort of viruses some people are carrying.

Gold in and of itself (especially as a relatively inert metal) will not kill viruses. It would be theoretically possible to get a virus or bacteria through the Chalice. That being said, there are many who believe that the Precious Blood provides a shield to that. But it’s never been anything that has been tested as far as I know (and I don’t think that the Blood of Christ should be subjected to laboratory tests to determine that).

One thing gold does do for churches, however, is it can purify the air if it was used as paint and exists as nanoparticles in the windows. Here’s a good article to read about that:


Those who receive from the chalice are consuming the Precious Blood, not “drinking wine”.

If one has a contagious illness, it would be prudent to refrain from the cup in order to protect the health of others.

I don’t think there is really any Catholic priest or or lay person out there that can guarantee unequivocally beyond doubt that a faithful person who drinks the Blood of Christ from the common chalice (“cannot”) contract a virus. Most ecclesiastically approved mass wines used for Consecration do not have an alcohol volume higher than between 13% and 16%.
Most mass wines sit around the 12% alc/vol level which (“are not”) high enough to eradicate all biological germs from unintentional sputum residue traces from the faithful drinking from the common chalice. Gold plated chalices do not eradicate or purify germs.
Hypothetically; if someone who has contracted the deadly Bubonic plague and drinks from the common chalice at Mass, will the alcohol be strong enough to stop the germs in the chalice with the next person who drinks wine (“the Blood of Christ”) from the chalice?
I would rather not venture to guess.
As for myself I do not partake of the wine in the common chalice.
Why ? because I was brought up to believe that Jesus is fully and substantially present in Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the smallest minute particle of a consecrated host.

You’d be surprised at what has been studied.

Bacteria on the Common Communion Cup

Here is a [post=1824552]post[/post] offering a sampling of studies, drawing varied conclusions. :shrug:


If it makes you feel any better, you cannot get bubonic plague, or a bunch of other diseases, from sharing a cup, even an ordinary plastic cup of an ordinary drink. Bubonic plague is communicated by bloodsucking insects (fleas) taking blood from an infected person or rat, then carrying the disease to another person or rat. Which might be more than you wanted to know. The common cold is probably the disease most easily communicated by sharing a drink. I personally greatly appreciate the special gift of being able normally to communicate in both species, but I do refrain from sharing the chalice if I have a cold. I personally do not refrain from the chalice from fear of getting a cold, because the common cold is so easily communicated (different sense of communicate) in the air we breathe that to me it does not make sense to refrain from doing something I want to do to avoid it.

I love receiving Jesus under both species. I just hope that people who are sick know well enough not to receive, and I trust in the Lord that I will not suffer from the germs of others.

Gosh! After reading that you would think that I would be dead or seriously sick after all the times I drank the last Precious Blood AFTER everyone else. The wording does not seem like it was a Catholic Mass. They may have only used plain grape juice, which would have encouraged bacterial growth…

That is what I was thinking of…
I thought all of the consecrated wine had to be consumed at the end of each Communion by someone [don’t really know *by whom].

I was thinking, throughout the world…in all the Masses being said, and, this has been going on for centuries…I would think this would have become some serious topic of discussion by now, no?

I’m sure it wasn’t a Catholic Mass because you would never allow that type of swabbing of the chalice.

That doesn’t mean that they used grape juice and considering it was within 10-15 minutes after communion, before washing the chalice, the presence of bacteria on the cup would have much more to do with the mouths that touched it than what was in it. At least they didn’t find any cold sore viruses, leading me to believe that people are considerate of others and don’t receive from the cup if they know they are contagious.

A few years ago after a funeral in a small parish in New Brunswick Canada a young girl developed meningitis. Everyone who had received from the chalice at that funeral was advised to go get treated. No massive outbreak of meningitis followed.

February 21, 2001
Globe and Mail
Michael Valpy and Kevin Cox
A woman diagnosed with deadly meningitis after attending a New Brunswick village funeral has, according to this story, reignited debate in the Anglican Church over whether the common communion cup is unhygienic and spreads disease.

About 80 people who drank from the same cup as the woman at a service in the tiny community of Bay du Vin have been told by public-health officials to visit their family doctors or community clinics. Many of them have been prescribed antibiotics. The woman, from Quebec, was diagnosed with meningitis shortly after the funeral.

David Assaff, medical officer of health for New Brunswick’s northern Miramichi region, was cited as saying the chances of contracting meningitis from the shared cup are extremely low but theoretically possible. The research supports Dr. Assaff. No case of communion-cup infection has ever been documented. But Anglicans – and to a lesser degree Lutherans and Roman Catholics – have been arguing about the issue ever since
bacteria-born diseases have been known about.

The story says there are two camps: those who sip and those who dip – the latter practice (known as intincture) being to dip the communion bread in the wine contained in the chalice rather than to sip the wine from the cup.

Sault Ste. Marie cardiologist David Gould, whose study for the Anglican Church on common cup hygiene was reported in the Anglican Journal late last year, was cited as declaring dipping to be more unhygienic than sipping. His reasoning was that fingers (which hold the bread being dipped) carry more bacteria than lips (whose point of contact with the cup is wiped clean by the person administering communion after every use). Dr. Gould’s conclusions, in fact, have set off another debate within the church about shaking hands during the liturgical greetings of peace in the worship service – a practice some Anglicans still do not like.

Well, it is the occasional topic of light discussion (at least around CAF). Karl Keating wrote about it in one of his e-Letters:

I recall an account written by a priest. He said that at his former parish, where Communion was under both kinds and where, at the end of Communion, he consumed what remained in the Communion cups, he persistently felt under the weather, as though he had a months-long, low-grade cold that would not quite manifest itself. Then he was transferred to a neighboring parish where Communion was given under the form of bread only. Within a short time his ailment went away. Other priests and many laymen have reported the same kind of thing.


My favorite way is by intinction…and it’s safer…

I know the problem is the logistics, since only priests can dip the body into the blood…though I have NO idea of what the reason for this is.

If others can give both the body and the blood separately, why not together?

I was thinking, throughout the world…in all the Masses being said, and, this has been going on for centuries…I would think this would have become some serious topic of discussion by now, no?

With the response to the peanut and pistachio, tomato and hot pepper issues of recent times you would think if this was a serious health threat it would be front page.

Even this states that it was an Anglican service which is just plain grape wine of who knows what alcohol content was or it could have been plain grape juice. In my other post I was not concerned of what might have been in the grape juice. But that the high sugar content of grape juice could provide a good medium for bacterial growth.

You do not give it together because Jesus did not do it! He blessed the bread and He gave it to the disciples …, when supper was ended He blessed the wine and He said this is my blood… He did not dip the bread into the wine. In our Diocese intinction is forbidden except for those religious priests whose order allows for it.

Then it is incorrectly forbidden:

“The norms of the Roman Missal admit the principle that in cases where Communion is administered under both kinds, “the Blood of the Lord may be received either by drinking from the chalice directly, or by intinction, or by means of a tube or a spoon”.%between% As regards the administering of Communion to lay members of Christ’s faithful, **the Bishops may exclude Communion with the tube or the spoon **where this is not the local custom, though the option of administering Communion by intinction always remains.” (Redemptionis Sacramentum 104)

There is also nothing in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal that says intinction is or can be forbidden in particular places.

In England and Wales, where I live, intinction is not recommended, but that is not the same as it being forbidden, because it cannot be forbidden.

And, by the way, just because Jesus did something in a particular way does not tie the Church to doing it in the same way. I’m sure the very first Mass was not quite like the Mass we both know! You have to allow room for legitimate liturgical development.

You are correct and my wording was not either appropriate or accurate to describe the situation in my Diocese.

When I was an Extraordinary Minister, I used to get sick whenever I drank the precious blood. I did not make the connection at first and blamed contact with friends who had preschoolers, etc. After communion at Mass; the other ministers would hand me what was left over to consume, as opposed to pouring it down the sacrarium. The last time this happened, I saw either a nose or a moustache hair floating in the cup.

I stopped receiving under that form of on that day.
Haven’t had a cold ever since.

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