22 No-contact Communion Dispenser June 17, 2020 Editor c_How-To Eucharist From Prospect Hill Company:I just called the company to ensure this is real, and it is. I’m told it’s selling well. This dispenser addresses health concerns, but perhaps raises issues about the sign value of the sacrament. Your thoughts? Share on FacebookShare on Twitter
Cue commercial voice:
“But wait, there’s more! If you act now….”
This only serves to rob Eucharist of its incarnational character and helps tilt our sacramental life toward trendiness and irrelevancy. Better to fast now so that we may gratefully feast later.
I think this dispenser is wrong on so many levels. In normal circumstances I wouldn’t give it a second thought. But we’re in very abnormal circumstances where I suppose temporary, exceptional provisions are worth at least considering.
Part of me wonders if people having to make decisions about these things have become so addled that they’ve not given sufficient thought to how well what they propose to mitigate risks is actually likely to do so.
For example: I have the sense, for example, that the idea about distributing Holy Communion after Mass is designed to reduce the duration of (and concomitant exposure risk posed by) Mass but people who want to attend Mass under these circumstances would seem to be likely to want to receive Holy Communion and therefore it won’t materially reduce the length of their being indoors by the time of the post-Mass ritual is complete. Marginally, it would reduce the duration of exposure for people not receiving. I hope that people making decisions take the time to observe potential differences between actual vs predicted patterns. It’s new terrain, but it’s an opportunity to practice some other skills – seeing what actually manifests instead of what is “supposed” to manifest, for example.
I think that the caution is about breath–especially that impelled by speaking “the Body of Christ” and “Amen”–rather than touch.
It certainly looks as cheap as it is. Or cheaper. 🙁
Before this gizmo appeared on the market, I too dreamed about how to accomplish “contactless delivery” of Holy Communion. But not like this!
I was dreaming of a crystal dispenser… angels etched onto a glass surround… a gold-plated release lever… Whatever happened to worthy materials?
How sad! This dispenser reduces the sharing of the Eucharistic meal to giving out communion wafers like pez candy. Next they’ll come individually wrapped!
This idea denigrates the Eucharist as a snack with the singular purpose of strengthening and sustaining the individual consumer, rather than the consumer partaking in the one bread broken, shared, and then lived out for others.
Reminds me of a Pez candy dispenser from when I was a kid (1950s).
Maybe we should have a new petition for the Litany against such things.
Something along the lines of ‘From the tyranny of the Bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities: Good Lord Deliver Us!’ (from The Litany of the 1549 Book of Common Prayer)
This must surely be a case of ‘detestable enormities.’
Putting aside the disrespect this demonstrates for a moment, the cost of the replacement tubes is jaw-dropping.
This type of device has been around for a while – I distinctly remember using it many years ago while living in a smaller community. Not for the distribution of Holy Communion though – all those who entered the chapel and wanted to receive Holy Communion used it to place a host in the paten.
Well yes the dispenser is horrible. But if we care about good practices in terms of not spreading Covid, something ‘like this’ may appear in our Church. I think we need to think this through in advance and be ready. Are we going to find all temporary fixes unacceptable and or ridiculous?
We risk dividing our Churches and driving away people who carer about not spreading the disease if all attempts to find a safe way to administer the Bread and Wine are rejected. The reputation of the Church in society is at stake as well.
I think we need to ask ourselves what we’re willing to put up with for some number of months. And, if we’re going to accept things with humor and grace, or contribute to a possible uproar with no good ending.
Because we are talking about a matter fundamental to the Catholic Faith, I suggest that we not rely on speculation but go to the primary source for enlightenment. For those interested, I suggest that you go to the Vatican website for which I provide a link below. The primary document that covers the Liturgy of the Mass is Redemptionis Sacramentum — Latin for the Sacrament of Redemption.
I find the entire idea of reducing the distribution of Almighty God himself to the tawdry and commercialized use of what amounts to a candy dispenser absolutely abhorrent! Where is our reverence for the Majesty and grandeur for the Real Presence of our Creator and Redeemer?
Materials used for chalices, ciboria, patens, pyxes, etc. should be of “nobel” materials, not some cheap metal that has only a gold color, not even gold plating. Let me end by pasting a citation from Redemtionis Sacramentum: “3. 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.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,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.”…
Usually, sacred vessels are made of gold or silver or are at least gold plated. Finis
With the logic of The Cat in the Hat this shows us what is not acceptable and so draws us nearer to finding what is acceptable.
Remember when we used to complain about turning the reception of Eucharist into a fast food experience?
My local church goods store that advertised the same product also advertised “host tweezers” for $33.00, and even paper purificators for a pack of 125 at $36.
What makes a host tweezer a “host tweezer”? …and don’t get me started on the paper purificators!
As Paul Turner said recently, “People are making creative solutions to share sacraments during the pandemic, but not every idea is a good idea. A Catholic Religious Goods Store should know better.”
(Oh the ‘host tweezers’ (I feel uncomfortable calling it that! Does anyone else?) are gold plated. Whew.)
However well-meaning the perceived solution in these difficult circumstances of Covid-19, such a distribution device is also a clear indicator of what an ecclesiology of Eucharist and no Church looks like. Somehow, we have to figure out how to give and receive the ministry of Holy Communion safely. Beyond alcohol sanitising gel, masks, even visors, and the Sacred Host received in the hand as a precaution, what else we can do? I know of a parish in Germany where individuals are encouraged to bring their own altar bread in an envelope for consecration, holding it aloft for the words of institution (which incites other theological questions in any case at any number of levels and which only leads the discussion back to where we started).
I would like to hear more about the German parish where households are encouraged to bring their own bread for consecration, holding it aloft for the words of institution. In the early Church members of the congregation brought bread and wine as a part of their offering and the priests or deacons selected from this bread and wine bread and wine for the Eucharist. Only later on would special bread and wine be used for the sacrament as eucharistic piety evolved. I am doing research on emerging communion practices in Protestant and Catholic churches. The No Contact Communion Dispenser reminds me of a PEZ candy dispenser and appears to work on the same principle. As with a lot of church supplies it is decidedly overpriced and frankly would rob the communion rite of its solemnity. What is gaining popularity in churches that use individual communion cups are what are marketed as “communion cups.” They come with the wafer sealed onto the top of the sealed grape juice. Most of them look like the tubs of cream that restaurants give you with your coffee. Concordia Supply, however, sells “TrueVine Prefilled Communion Chalice Cups” which are shaped like tiny chalices and contain a standard or gluten-free wafer and wine or grape juice. One Baptist church with which I am acquainted puts a “communion cup” under each seat for the communion time of the service. I don’t know which is worst–that or the church which puts a basket of them on a table at the back of the sanctuary with a card on a stand inviting worshipers who want to observe the Lord’s Supper to take one home with them. Methodist and Lutheran churches with which I am acquainted and which use individual communion cups have an assistant minister offer the kneeling communicants a circular tray from which they can take an individual cup of wine or grape juice. Before the individual cups of wine or grape juice are distributed, an assistant minister goes down the row of kneeling communicants with a circular tray of wafers from which each communicant takes a wafer
This idea its acceptanc, rejection depends so much on the perception of communion or euharist: real presence, real absence, and all the other periferol ideas. The truth is that I can go through countless religious acts, the crux of the matter is if I have accepted Christ into my life, the other option is that of the scribes and pharisees who were more concerned about rituals and traditions than to recognise the Messiah when He had arrived. I believe that it is symbolic, sacred and that Christs blood was shed as a once for all putting paid to insufficient, recurring sacrifices. Communion reminds us of that and the resulting body of believers who God is pleased to use as hands and feet, firmly connected to the head, Christ Himself, without intermediary.
I did have a think re communion and how to make it possible and yet help people while taking communion not to be destracted from the essence of communion worrying if things are safe etc.
I wrote off to a company that makes the little milk tubs you get in coffee shops, about having some, not filled with milk but wine/grape juice etc. (in quite a few churches before corona, the little individual communion glasses are often used, so this is a variation on the theme), have an upright dispenser where, if you take a ‘communion tab’ another one falls into place. The same for the bread. I feel I’d rather have communion which might not be perfect and experience God’s presence than not have it at all. I have been in meetings where impromptu it was felt that the Holy Spirit would like us to celebrate communion. But, no communion wine, nor juice anywhere, only a bottle of coke. It was indeed a very memorable,Holy moment
And now this has been circulating among my liturgy and music colleagues for consideration of use during liturgy:
I just cant help but think of those beaked masks doctors wore during the plague!
Reading the adverse comments above…I am so disappointed in the lack of faith exhibited in those who would require physical handling of each wafer by a priest or pastor. The Lords Supper is not effective because some special person handled the elements. It is only by faith that we receive the blessing. In fact the wafers, without such a dispenser, are handled by those preparing the elements for the service. Most churches enlist volunteer members for this. Sometimes it is one couple, others it may be a number of deacons or elders. One doesn’t know who handled the elements and how, and how many hands they passed through how many times. This is what concerns me. Again, I emphasize that the blessing of the communion is not because of who handles the elements, but by the faith of the person receiving them.