Thursday, April 30, 2009

Receiving Communion during a flu epidemic

Communion revised after swine-flu outbreak - Chicago Tribune


You might be a little hasty in dismissing the health risk of sharing a common cup at Holy Communion.

Speaking of the situation from a purely medical point of view, suppose the wine is 12% alcohol, as You say. Are You infallibly certain that all flu viruses will be killed immediately upon contact with the wine?

Even if so, what effect does the wine inside the chalice have upon saliva on the outside of the chalice and the cloth used to wipe the chalice? Who would claim that the ceremonial wiping of the outside of the chalice reliably sterilizes the cup? Who would consent to undergo surgery with scalpels that had been used repeatedly, but had been merely "wiped dry" after each use?

Distributing Communion under the form of wine is purely optional, and the Church is dogmatically certain that the "entire Christ" -Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity- is received whether Communion is distributed under one or both forms.

Faithful Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the the Blessed Sacrament of Communion. But we don't need to believe -nor does the Church teach- that hygiene and common sense should be disregarded during an epidemic.

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