Fancy Crystal Chalice?

Have you ever seen a fancy crystal chalice used to celebrate the Mass? A pries at my parish uses a beautiful Waterford one at times. It’s absolutely gorgeous. As he noted, it wouldn’t break even if dropped on the altar mensa anyway. I’m not sure why their use would be prohibited? It’s never used to distribute communion to others. Only the priestly celebrant uses it.

The Holy Grail of Valencia – the vessel likely used at the Last Supper, is crafted of breakable agate stone itself.

1 Like

There are a bunch of old threads on this on CAF already. Here is one. There’s a bunch more.

Basically the Vatican has strongly said that chalices are to be made from precious metal, but allows for bishops to permit use of some other “special” materials as long as they are not “ordinary” and not absorbent. The USCCB has allowed bishops in the US to permit the use of crystal (not glass) chalices within their dioceses.

There is a general prohibition on glass chalices as being both breakable and “ordinary”. There is some indication that use of glass chalices prior to the Vatican’s directive was being done by people promoting the “communal meal” idea of Communion rather than stressing the body and blood of Christ.

Some people continue to object to crystal chalices even where permitted by USCCB/ the local bishop, on the basis that crystal is (to them) glass and the Vatican said to use precious metal, and also on the basis that crystal, while less breakable than glass, can still break. (I know this for a fact - if you tour the Waterford factory you will hear stories of breakage.) I would imagine your priest has permission from his bishop to use his Waterford chalice. . . .


If the celebrant has permission from his bishop, that’s the bottom line. I will just say that using expensive Waterford crystal for a chalice, or not using it, is not the hill I would choose to die on. It may be “breakable” — so is gold alloy or silver, if you take a sledgehammer to it — but I would not call it “ordinary”.

The most I would say, is that it looks a little “weird”, or rather, something that Catholics are not used to, kind of “Anglican-ish” — I can’t explain that, it’s just my gut reaction. One “upside” of it would be, I think, if deep red wine is used, it is more evocative of the Precious Blood, and more clearly visible.

Again, not the hill I would choose to die on. Much more important things to worry about.


I honestly can’t remember if I ever saw a chalice used that was crystal as opposed to regular gold or silver metal. That’s how much it registers on me.

I know they were using glass chalices at the parishes down the road from us last time I was there for Mass. Have also seen them used in several different parishes in Canada. Not Waterford crystal, mind you, just glass. Not really much different in look from my Chimay beer chalice except for the logo.

Yes, and I’m sure he does.

The chalice is by no means an “ordinary drinking glass”.

Thank you.

1 Like

If I had to guess, I would say that she was one of these “Mass as a meal” types, the kind of people who were beside themselves with joy and triumph when the various liturgical changes of the 1970s took place. I saw it happen. They wanted entirely to get rid of the idea of “Mass as a sacrifice” and replace it with a “low church” fellowship meal.

Things have settled back into a “new normal” here 40 years later, and one does not have to be nearly as squeamish about going to Mass in an unfamiliar parish, for instance, while traveling. I saw some truly disturbing things back then, when I left my very liturgically conservative home diocese.

Indeed. I have to agree that my own parish has improved greatly over the past 20+ years. In the case of the altar vessels, I did ask nearly 20 years ago when things were truly grave.

When you take a critical look at my parish, priests come and go and so do volunteers. The cancer rests with the paid coordinator level and they hang on. For decades! Talks about Susans on the parish council!

I pray daily that we’ll have a pastor (backed by his bishop) that will carefully and quietly clean house one day.

1 Like

I don’t understamd this.
If you feel so strongly about something that you write a letter of rebuttal against it, why remain anonymous?


I would guess that the poster has to, um, ‘live’ with these people. Some Catholic parishes make the Amish ‘shunning’ look positively welcoming if one of ‘their’ people questions something dear to the heart of ‘the ones in charge’.

Maybe he or she doesn’t want his/her children ostracized, targeted, etc. Or to have the local plumber mysteriously ‘too busy’ to come for an emergency or even routine service. Or to undergo ‘cuts direct’ when out with the family in public. Windows ‘egged’. Cars ‘keyed’. Etc. etc. Small towns (and even ‘larger parishes’) have long, long memories and carry big grudges.


I think it’s a bit of a stretch to say that it is “likely” that the Valencia chalice was the cup used at the Last Supper. Certainly authorities agree that it is from the correct time period and the correct part of the world, so it’s not implausible that it could have been in Jerusalem around the time of the life of Jesus. But there were a lot of drinking vessels produced around the eastern Mediterranean in the 1st century AD. What are the chances that this is the one? After the Last Supper, the cup used disappears from the historical record for at least 1,100 years (that is if the chalice attested in 1399 is even the same chalice attested in 1134).

Imagine that I have managed to obtain a sword that has been proven to have been produced in England, or possibly in France or Ireland, some time during the 9th century or early 10th century. Then I tell you that this very sword was wielded by Edward the Elder while suppressing a revolt at Chester in 924. Of course, I’d make up a provenance, I’d say that Edward’s son, Æthelstan, had taken it from Chester to Winchester and that at the time of the Norman Conquest it had been taken to the Isle of Man for safekeeping, and so on. Why would you believe me? It would just be a sword from northwestern Europe from around the 9th or 10th century.


I think I saw them years ago, but . . . I have a similar lack of registration.

Kind of like how many palm trees are in the backgrounds of the paintings . . . (in an RCC church. It would probably be significant in an Eastern icon . . .)

I’m the other way. When sitting in the pew as a non-EMHC, I always look at the chalice to see which priest (we have 3 full-time priests) will be celebrant. It’s not like I’m going to leave if I see a certain chalice. I just like to know. It’s probably some manifestation of my OCD. Plus, my wife and mother are always asking. If I am an EMHC or the Coordinating Minister (CM) that day, we kind of have to know in order to retrieve the correct chalice.

In addition to the points already mentioned, the Waterford “chalice” is actually a goblet. Those fortunate enough to have the means to pay for them use them at the dinner table. The crystal goblet does nothing to teach against the Protestant heresy that the Eucharist is only symbolic.

I believe he should not be using crystal. Crystal is a form of glass. In Redemptionis Sacramentum #117 the use of glass for chalices is reprobated. That means forbidden.


Actually, our pastor uses a Waterford chalice, and it is definitely a chalice, not one of their lines of goblets. It has a matching ciborium for the Hosts. It’s quite lovely, and definitely not an ordinary vessel.


Sounds to me like people are confused on this issue because when they do a web search on something like “Waterford chalice”, lines of goblets come up in the search (sometimes labeled “Goblet”). This is an issue with Google and it doesn’t reflect the fact that Waterford actually does make lines of actual chalices with matching ciboriums. People would not be using these at their dinner tables.

1 Like

I believe this is the Waterford Crystal Chalice?

Yes – it is more like this:

I got a chuckle out of the seller of that item having to actually explain what “IHS” means and that it’s not the initials of the past owner.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit