Proper Communion Vessels

Hi all,

I know this has probably been answered a million times on here, but what are the guidelines to what can/can’t be used to serve the Body and Blood out of? (e.g. are glass dishes ok for communion)

Thanks :slight_smile:

Glass is not allowed. Gold is preferred, if it is not gold but some other precious metal the inside of the vessel (eg the part that touches the Blessed Sacrament) should be gold plated.

Don’t tell the folks at this church then!!

stjosephspenfield.org/index.php?module=article&view=93 :eek:

I find it curious that the Catholic Church insists that Communion vessels be made of precious metals or at least be gold plated on the interior. Why, you ask? Simply because it is very likely that at His last supper Jesus used a commonly availabee cup of wood, pottery or a base metal. The reason this is likely is because of the probable poverty of Jesus and the disciples. And it’s highly unlikely that the borrowed room they used was owned by a person of wealth. Therefore, it seems that the cup would be quite plain and simple. So, if it was good enough for Jesus to use whatever was available, what’s the big deal?

It’s also unlikely that Jesus had a purificator to wipe the chalice with, that the twelve had fasted before receiving the first Eucharist (that first Eucharist was within the context of a meal), or that the twelve were kneeling (they were more than likely reclining on pillows at the table).

Nevertheless, the Church over time develops customs of reverence for the Eucharist, one of which is the use of vessels made of precious materials.

Here is what Redemptionis Sacramentum notes about Sacred Vessels:

  1. Sacred Vessels
    [117.] Sacred vessels for containing the Body and Blood of the Lord must be made in strict conformity with the norms of tradition and of the liturgical books.205 The Bishops’ Conferences have the faculty to decide whether it is appropriate, once their decisions have been given the recognitio by the Apostolic See, for sacred vessels to be made of other solid materials as well. It is strictly required, however, that such materials be truly noble in the common estimation within a given region,206 so that honor will be given to the Lord by their use, and all risk of diminishing the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic species in the eyes of the faithful will be avoided. Reprobated, therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels, or others lacking in quality, or devoid of all artistic merit or which are mere containers, as also other vessels made from glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily. This norm is to be applied even as regards metals and other materials that easily rust or deteriorate.207

It is interesting to note that we don’t know for sure if Jesus used “common” vessels. What we do know is that for the cultic worship practiced by Ancient Israel, gold vessels were used, including chalices and other utensils. God spent significant chunks of time and words dictating to Moses just how He was to be worshipped. One of the implements of this cultic worship, which the Church, as the New Israel, appropriated for her authentic and true Sacrificial worship, was the use of the finest materials, like gold. The sacrificial worship of Ancient Israel foreshadowed and pre-figured the Sacrifice of the True Lamb of God, Jesus. Jesus, for His part, anticipated His Sacrifice on the cross, thus consecrating the species of bread and wine (which were also used in Temple sacrificial worship) into His true Body and Blood. The Church faithful follows the divine command of her Spouse to “do this in memory of Me”, not only on a weekly basis, but, on a daily basis as well in the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Because the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ at every Mass, only the finest vessels are worthy enough to hold His True presence.

First, you ain’t Jesus…

Second, the Holy Grail was probley NOT made of “wood, pottery or a base metal.” The vessel was likely carved from stone. While it probably wasn’t too valuable it did a good job of not profaning the Precious Blood.

Third you have absolutely no idea how the Upper Room was furnished.

Please don’t try to state your opinions as if they are documented facts…

I don’t believe gold is preferred. Any precious metal will do. I have long thought titanium would be a good material for a chalice but it would still have to be plated on the inside even though it is extremely corrosion resistant.

Actually, Jewish Kiddush cups are frequently made of silver to this day, and it was the Kiddush cup that was used at the Mystical Supper.

The idea of using altarware of silver and gold (or at least gold plated) is two-fold:

  1. Using the best and most precious materials available to hold the Eucharistic Body and Blood of Christ.

  2. To avoid giving a weird taste to the wine as other metals frequently do.

In any case, wood is porous, so it would not be appropriate for the chalice. So is unglazed ceramic.

Another advantage to the traditional materials: they can be made practically sterile by ordinary cleaning (though this was a concept unknown 2000 years ago, I admit).

Thank you for your kind words. For your information, my comments were speculative and not emphatic. The question I raised seemed, to me at least, to be interesting.
Also, you are correct. I don’t have any real idea of how that borrowed room was furnished. Do you?

You would be incorrect here. Most likely, the chalice used was silver or carved marble.

Remember that this was a Passover sedar meal being held in the house of a relatively rich man ( one that who afford a spare, second story, furnished room within Jerusalem itself.

Within the walls was prime real estate, poor people, or even middle class, did not keep houses within the walls that had spare, furnished rooms. Rich men did.

For something as important as a Sedar mean, special place settings were kept specifically for such purposes out of the very best materials that one could afford ( as is still customary today among Jews today).

So the Church follows the example of this rich man and gives to Christ the very best for use in His Sacrificial Supper.

It’s because of the extreme preciousness of what the sacred vessels contain: the very Body and Blood of our Divine Lord.

Why do you say it’s “highly unlikely”? Consider that one of Jesus’ disciples was the rich man Joseph of Arimathea. I’m not saying that he owned the residence where the Last Supper was held, but Jesus did have rich friends. Also, the man who owned that house (with a “guest room”) also had male servants: Jesus told his disciples to look for a man carrying a jar of water. (cf. Mark 14:13; Luke 22:10)

Without speculating on history I just want to point out that metal is preferred from a practical standpoint as well. It is not porous and it is seamless so there is no chance that any of the Precious Blood being absorbed into the cup or leaking out of it.

From the 2004 Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum:
"[117.] Sacred vessels for containing the Body and Blood of the Lord must be made in strict
conformity with the norms of tradition and of the liturgical books.[205]The Bishops’
Conferences have the faculty to decide whether it is appropriate, once their decisions have
been given the recognitio by the Apostolic See, for sacred vessels to be made of other solid
materials as well. It is strictly required, however, that such materials be truly noble in the
common estimation within a given region,[206]so that honour will be given to the Lord by
their use, and all risk of diminishing the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the
Eucharistic species in the eyes of the faithful will be avoided. Reprobated, therefore, is any
practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels, or others lacking in quality,
or devoid of all artistic merit or which are mere containers, as also other vessels made from
glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily. This norm is to be applied
even as regards metals and other materials that easily rust or deteriorate.[207]"
Footnotes:
[205] Cf. Missale Romanum, Institutio Generalis, nn. 327-333.
[206] Cf. ibidem, n. 332.
[207] Cf. ibidem, n. 332; Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the
Sacraments, Instruction, Inaestimabile donum, n. 16: AAS 72 (1980) p. 338.

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