What happened to the cup (chalice) anyway?


So, I’m returning to the Church after a lengthy absence, I’ve been attending mass regularly since about August. Since it’s been nine years roughly, I missed the part where they changed some of the words and all ("…and also with you" to “…and with your spirit”, etc). At the church I’m attending, I also noticed they do not offer the cup…er…chalice at Communion. I vaguely remember some places not offering it a decade ago, if I recall to avoid spreading colds, etc…but then I thought they still made it available, a lot of people just skipped it and that was apparently okay. Then I went another place this Fall when I was home for a few weeks, and they DID offer the cup, though again lots of people did not take it. So I was just curious…do a lot of churches simply not offer it at all, and that’s okay?


It is perfectly okay that the congregation is not offered the Blood of Christ. Only the priest is required to receive both the Body and the Blood of Christ under the separate species of bread and wine.

When we receive Christ under one species, whether the Body or the Blood, we receive the entire Christ - body, blood, soul and divinity. There is no need for us to receive both. Also, in offering the chalice. there is a greater risk of spillage, and it is difficult to determine how much is needed. Since we do not reserve the unconsumed Blood of Christ, any left over at a Mass must be consumed. The accidents of the wine could cause drunkenness, if there was a lot.


The chalice was not offered to laity for the last eight or nine centuries, until in the 1970s it began to be again, under very limited circumstances. [edited]


Here in the UK the offering of both forms to the congregation après Vatican II gradually became more common place, since the time of Pope Benedict XVI the offering is more and more of ‘only’ the consecrated host. I think the reverting to pre-Vatican II practice is based upon internal debates amongst the hierarchy regarding a number of issues both actual and potential - the joys of matters of faith, politics and even economics.


Maybe that’s just your diocese? Here in Liverpool it’s usual to be offered both.


Shucks, no, I was not aware of that. I guess I should probably just postpone my return to church, it looks like I do not have the required depth of knowledge of Catholic history to be an adequate Catholic. I see that I first have to go and read “The Complete Guide to All Detailed Information on the Catholic Church: An Exhaustive History (with Companion Volumes on Every Individual Saint)” to get up to speed. I am sure glad we have perfect Catholics on this here board to assure I have the requisite background information.

Oh, and I suppose I am okay with the chalice thing based on your response. While I feel stupid for not knowing that, I have no choice but to be okay with such a simple explanation. Not that I have to be okay with it, nor was I saying I wasn’t. But I should know more than enough so as not to have the need to ask questions.



Whereas communion under one species only is not against the rules, I would hesitate to call it “perfectly OK” never to offer communion under both species in general in places where the ordinary otherwise allows it. Depending on the presence or absence of the difficulties mentioned, pastors need to make decisions on when and how to offer communion to the faithful. Surely, there can be circumstances that make it very difficult, even impossible to offer the chalice to the faithful (e.g. the Papal Mass on Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro); however, the persons making those calls should not choose only what is more convenient or make sure only that nothing is against the rules.

You might want to look at this:


[edited] I guess the most important for you to know that the grace of the sacrament is perfectly effective if you receive communion with only one of the species (this would also be true if you only received from the cup/chalice and not from the consecrated bread… people with celiac disease usually do that, for example).

If you like receiving communion under both species (from the cup/chalice also) and you feel this is important for you, you might want to look for a church where it is offered. As I understand from your comment, there are such churches in your vicinity.

To answer the last question of your first post, there are many churches worldwide that do not offer communion under both kinds. I know of whole countries where it is absolutely unheard of. If a bishop of a diocese does not allow it, the priest celebrating the Mass does not have a choice.


Many parishes offer communion to the faithful under both species. In my parish we have commissioned Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist who offer the Precious Blood at communion. The faithful are permitted to receive under both species.


Honestly, as the PPs have said, there’s no problem. Some parishes choose not to offer the Sacred Blood to their parishioners. I can think of a number of different reasons for this:

-drunkenness (due to the accidents of wine - this would be more for the EMHCs/Father as they cleanse the sacred vessels)
-cost (less wine to purchase)
-health issues (some bishops mandate that parishes in their dioceses are not to offer the Sacred Blood at Holy Communion during cold/flu season)
-lack of availability of more than one chalice, particularly in a rural parish


Yes, it’s really a discretionary thing for the parish to do. Another reason can be that it is also logistically much tougher to distribute communion in the form of the Precious Blood if you’re at a parish where mass attendance is 1000+ versus a few hundred.




:eek:My goodness, how much wine is being consecrated in these instances?


Welcome back! G-d be with you on your journey back.

I guess the first thing to know is that it’s not universal, and can even be different from parish to parish. There are a few reasons that I can identify, though of course there’s always deeper reasons that can’t be easily identified (finances might not be there to support purchasing large amount of wine, etc.)

Recently, the group in the Holy See in charge of the Liturgy (Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments) did not renew the indult (a temporary allowance to do something, if you will) for the U.S. which allowed the laity to clean the chalice. So now, priests and deacons are the ones who do that. Some of them don’t want to have to clean dozens of chalices, or don’t want to leave them alone between communion and after Mass when they can be cleaned.

Another reason, as you identified, is not risking someone who thinks they’re not sick from spreading their cold.

As others have identified, you receive the entire Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ when you consume even just the ‘bread’ (which is no longer bread, of course).

Hope that helps! Again, good luck on your journey home.


It can be as little as half a bottle of wine, when very few consume the Blood, unless you have a sacrarium or some earth nearby.


You might be surprised. I heard of an EMHC who drank the Sacred Blood remaining in the chalice and was not safe to drive home afterward because there was so much extra.

Sometimes it depends on the Mass - they try to figure out roughly how much they will need based on an educated guess from previous Mass numbers (for the Sacred Host, you can use previously consecrated Hosts from the tabernacle, or have the faithful place unconsecrated altar breads in the ciborium as they enter the church - one for each person receiving Holy Communion; we cannot save previously consecrated Sacred Blood). If they end up with fewer people receiving the Sacred Blood at Mass, there will be more left over.


Not only is it okay, but it should be preferred as the way the Precious Blood is distributed in the chalice is nothing like the way it used to ever be.

To generalise, communion is received under both kinds, using intinction, in the Eastern Churches. In the Latin West, the method used in the earliest centuries is unknown,[2] but from the 7th century the Roman Ordines prescribe that some of the Precious Blood be poured into a separate chalice of unconsecrated wine; the Faithful then received using a fistula (tube);[3] later, the fistula continued to be used with the undiluted Precious Blood. In northern Europe the spread of the fistula seems to have replaced intinction.[4] Reception of the Chalice by the Faithful began to disappear in the West in the 12th century; the fistula continued to be used on special occasions, and in certain religious communities, up to the 14th century, and even later: for example by a monarch as his coronation, and in some places by the Deacon and Subdeacon at Solemn Mass,[5] and by the Pope in Papal Masses up to the time of the Second Vatican Council.

So going as far back as we can remember, having the people receive from the chalice like sipping from a cup is unknown until the practice started a few decades ago.

Besides, there are the practical aspects of having the laity touch the sacred vessels, risks of spillage, and consecrating far more than is needed.



Correct. Even the Eastern Churches that retained Communion under both species practice intinction.

No one, outside of those in Holy Orders, is generally permitted to touch the sacred vessels.


but this as a reason strikes me as a bit of a reach unless the celebrant and all the EMHCs weigh in at 98 pounds :smiley:



My answer to your original question is that your church seems to be doing things perfectly OK with just distributing the hosts. Some churches offer just one species, some offer both, and either way is just fine.

Priests are not required to make both the Body of Christ and the Blood of Christ available to everyone at mass. It’s perfectly OK in any (Latin Rite) Catholic Church to just offer the ‘bread’ and not the ‘wine.’ Receiving just the consecrated host is full Communion, receiving just from cup is full Communion, receiving both is full Communion . . . no matter how it’s done you’re still receiving the fullness of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

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