Transubstantiation and a perceived lack of faith

If we truly believe that the chalice is the blood of Christ, why are we now being denied this at mass because of swine flu?

Do we really have doubts about the presence and the power of the blood of Christ in the chalice?

You are not being denied anything. Whether the faithful receive under one Species or two doesn’t make a difference: it’s the same Eucharist. It is complete.

We do not have to receive both species in order to receive the entire body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ. We call the consecrated wine the “precious blood”, but that doesn’t mean we don’t receive Christ’s blood in the consecrated host. That means we never have to receive the precious blood at all.

Also, even though transubstantiation has happened and the elements have become the Body and Blood of Christ, the accidents (that is physical matter) or the bread and wine still remain. So, chemically, the wine is wine and germs can still linger on the rim of the cup or in any backwash (:eek:) in the cup. Certainly, studies have shown that the practices generally used (wiping the rim, turning the cup slightly between communicants, etc.) do help to prevent disease, but that doesn’t mean germs aren’t there.

The bishops were simply being prudent, given that receiving from the cup is not required. It is also likely that many people would have refrained from taking the cup even if it had been offered.

Prohibiting the distribution of the precious blood does not show any signs of disbelief in transubstationation, just a realization of the actuality of germs in the face of what seemed to be a dangerous disease.

It takes faith to believe in the Real Presence, while simultaneously recognizing the sacred species as vectors of contagion.

Certainly more faith than to believe the sacred species are not so capable.


Greetings and peace be with you malphono;

You are not being denied anything. Whether the faithful receive under one Species or two doesn’t make a difference: it’s the same Eucharist. It is complete.

I feel troubled by this, Until very recently we took both the host and the chalice, believing it to be the real body and blood of Christ. This is a great leap of faith to fully trust this to be so.

John:6 seems very clear that we should do both.

53Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.

Yes, and the Church teaches us that each element is the entire or whole person of Christ. The consecrated host is the body, blood, soul and divinity. The consecrated wine is the body, blood, soul and divinity. We do not have to receive both the receive all of Christ.

Many, many parishes do not distribute the consecrated wine and never have. In most places this is because the risk of an accident is much higher with the consecrated wine–that it would spill–and it is much harder to clean it properly.

In the Latin Church, communion under both species was practiced for many years, but was generally suppressed by Trent in reaction to Protestantism and its inherent heresies. While the optional practice was restored in the post-Vatican II era, it is just that: an option. The underlying truth is constant: reception of the Eucharist by the faithful is complete under either specie.

To deny that is pure Protestantism.

Are You an Utraquist? By Karl Keating

Greetings and peace be with you all;

Thank you for all your replies, and whilst I understand that the full presence is available in either the host or the wine, I still feel troubled.

If there was no swine flu, then I would still be taking the chalice today in my church, a recent letter from our Bishop said we should stop. Sadly this suggests that the swine flu is more powerful than the blood of Christ

If there was a sound theological reason to stop taking the chalice, I might understand. For me it is a great sadness that I am not able to continue, because it seems to suggest that the swine flu is more powerful than the blood of Christ.

Yet I firmly believe Jesus has the power to heal the sick and raise the dead through God our Father. I just trust that God would not let the swine flu, or any other disease overpower the body and blood of Christ.



(Pardon me if I get the exact wording incorrect on this one, hopefully you’ll understand what I mean)
Yes, it is the Blood of Christ, but it is still in the form of regular wine. I know that’s not the right way to say it, hopefully someone can translate my thoughts, pregnancy has caused me to forget nearly my entire vocabulary. :confused:

Transubstantiation is a tough one to explain in the first place. But even though it is in the form of wine, it’s still the Blood of Christ. But since it is in the form of wine, it’s still subject to human things like colds or the flu. If God chooses to make it invulnerable, then he can, but it shouldn’t be assumed that he has.

Do you know what I mean?

Is your faith so weak!?

That you must reduce the Real Presence to a matter of science?

How sad… :frowning:


Is there any evidence that flu, in general, is passed readily through the common cup? Do priests in places where the congregation partakes of both become ill more often? The Orthodox and the Anglicans both do, and I haven’t noticed that they are an ill lot, anecdotally. I wonder if anyone has ever done a survey of this? I know studies have been done of the germ-carrying properties of the common cup, and they aren’t good, as long as the cup is silver and wiped properly.

On the other hand, passing the peace through handshaking spreads a lot of germs.

Well, the priests wouldn’t get sick more since they 1) drink first, and 2) have seperate chalices (most do, anyway).

But it’s a matter of common sense. If people are sharing a cup, it’s more likely to spread germs. Thankfully, alot of people will stay away from the cup if they have a cold, so it’s mitigated somewhat.

No, the priests have to finish whatever is left over after everyone else has partaken. Usually there is a good slurp-sized portion, sometimes rather more. They do not use a separate chalice in the Anglican tradition (though there may be more than one, the priest’s is also used for the congregation.) I believe that is also true for the Orthodox - though they use that little spoon of course.

As I said, studies of the common cup suggest that it is not a good vehicle for germs - silver kills them. There are other places in church that are more germy - other people’s hands, door nobs, toilet stalls, statues that people touch or kiss…

in what manner does the presence or absence of a flu or other virus in a community affect the reality of the sacrament? There is at no time a requirement for anyone other than the priest to receive from the chalice, and in many places and times the faithful are seldom if ever offered the chalice. If one believes that this in some way diminishes their full reception of the sacrament and its graces, they require further complete catechesis in the nature of the Eucharist and the sacramental presence of Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity complete and entire under either or both species. There is absolutely no dictate that the faithful be offered the chalice at all, that is local decision by bishop and priest.

Ah. I see what you mean… our parish usually finishes it all, so I never see our priest do that.

And that’s fine, studies might say it’s not a good vehicle for the reasons you listed, but that doesn’t mean it’s impervious to germs. That was sort of my point. Just because it’s the Blood of Christ doesn’t mean it’s immune from its environment, and that doesn’t make it any less of a Sacrament.

Karl Keating provides anecdotal evidence from a priest. Karl Keating’s E-Letter of January 16, 2007

As for studies, [post=1824552]they are all over the map[/post].

Silver kills germs? Werewolves maybe… :shrug:


I’m not an authority on germs and illnesses but I feel that some Catholics believe that they must receive both the host and the wine or they are being gypped somehow. From what I remember from my Catholic instructions many years ago, the Catholic church always offered both the wine and the host although they taught that Christ is truly present in both. It was not necessary to receive both.

When Martin Luther broke away from the Catholic church he taught that you must receive the wine to receive the Blood of Christ and you must receive the Host to receive the Body of Christ.

Then the Catholic Church stopped offering the wine and the people only received the Sacred Host. Protestants still believe you need to receive both, but then Protestants don’t really believe that it is the True Presence, it is only a memorial and they are receiving a “communal meal”.

I hope this makes sense to some.


Not quite - he said they should receive it. Lutherans consider receiving in one kind only to be perfectly fine from the point of view of the Sacrament, but they think that since Christ gave both kinds to us, they should both be offered to all. That is why they were given, that is how they should be used. Some Lutherans do receive in one kind only, if there is a special reason to. This general principle is also why Lutherans, though they believe it is important to give the Eucharist due reverence and treat it respectfully, do not participate in adoration of the Eucharist (outside of what happens at the Eucharist itself). That was not the purpose for which it was given, in their view, God meant for us to eat it.

Lutherans do not believe that the Eucharist is just a memorial - some Protestant groups do, but they are not one of them. Luther was a fairly conservative guy in many ways, though he had a strong practical streak.

Greetings and peace be with you Jenny, life is a struggle, always striving to do what is right, and we find so many answers.

studies might say it’s not a good vehicle for the reasons you listed, but that doesn’t mean it’s impervious to germs. That was sort of my point. Just because it’s the Blood of Christ doesn’t mean it’s immune from its environment, and that doesn’t make it any less of a Sacrament

Disease, life and death are in the hands of God, and I just put my trust in God when I take the chalice.

There has always been disease and regardless of what studies might suggest, I leave the outcome to God.

In the spirit of praying for faith in a loving and kind God


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