When Will We Drink This Cup?

We are now well over two years into the COVID-19 pandemic and to a certain degree the crisis seems to be behind us.  While we have lost many people and society is still suffering from a lot of trauma in many areas. But in some areas things seem to be more or less back to normal.  Shops and stores are open again, as are many businesses. Thankfully in most areas churches have reopened.  Indeed, other than somewhat smaller in person congregations and increased virtual ones, many of us would consider our Sunday liturgy to be more or less back to where it was in 2019: there are no limits on attendance numbers, choirs and cantors are singing again, most people are unmasked, people are less anxious about hand sanitizers.

However, I hope PrayTell readers will forgive me to again sound the alarm that the Emperor has no clothes – the Eucharistic Cup is not being distributed to the Christian faithful! Other than seeing that clergy seem to occasionally receive from the same cup (as opposed to intinction or one cup each), I have not seen the Eucharistic Cup being distributed to the assembly since before March 2020.

There are very few things that Jesus told us to do when he instituted, but one of them most definitely was to drink from the cup.  Looking at my history on PrayTell I see that I have a similar post nine months ago to the day!  I still stand by what I said there and the links to further information are still valid. But I do feel that I need to keep the topic in the public eye. I realize that I am nagging readers about this issue.  But surely this is a major liturgical issue as important as any that is discussed here?

This week I did see two encouraging signs, there was an article on the lack of the chalice in America and the letters page of London’s Tablet has a number of letters on the subject (behind the paywall).  In one of these Ruth Wood wonders if the bishops, “are they simply taking the easier, and cheaper, option of saying nothing and hoping that the laity have too much else on their minds at present to notice?”

While the offering of the Eucharistic Cup was quite widespread in the United States. It was not as common in other countries and almost unheard of in others. Additionally, prior to COVID many US Catholics chose not to receive from the Eucharistic Cup.  Surely this needs to be a common concern of our readership and the safe reintroduction and promotion of the Eucharistic Cup should be a pastoral priority for all who love liturgy not to mention an important goal for the Catholic Church in the United States as she celebrates her National Eucharistic Revival?

57 comments

    1. Spot on Lee Bacchi. The Covid pandemic is NOT over.
      Religious scrupulosity should not supercede the common good.

    2. The issue with your comment is you have taken it upon yourself and a few others to decide when the cup should be offered. It should be offered right now and you as always will be free to not walk over and partake.

  1. I agree, Neil. Thank you for bringing this up.

    I have noticed that St John’s Abbey offers the cup. Not all partake, but it is offered. That seems to me to be of sign value and some do receive it.

    Also, my friends in the Assyrian Church have been receiving from the cup. With no ill effects to date. (They use a single chalice.)

    1. Thanks Rita

      Yes the sign value is immense.

      Part of the problem is that it will never be without risk. But that as part of our Faith we need to consider receiving from the Eucharistic Cup as being worth a (very small) risk. Liturgy is “messy” and it would be too easy to do away with the chalice, as happened for vast periods of time over our history, but it is a constitutive element of the Eucharist and is worth the risk and with the messiness!

      Ultimately we need to answer the question of whether a common cup is part of the “this” that we do in memory of Jesus.

      1. Well, it’s not like the Roman Catholic Church will ever embrace Utraquism, because History Happened, so offering the common cup will never mean that Catholics can be legitimately argued into being *obliged* (that is, under pain of sin) to receive from it. Anyone trying to do that is way out over their skies. Offer, and let the PIPs decide.

      2. Liam, while agree with you about the Church embracing Utraquism, the Church does under her binding/loosing authority have the ability to bind disciplinary issues under pain of sin, even mortal sin. I think of the Sunday obligation, a ecclesiastical instituted to serve the divine laws of both the Lord’s Day and Christ’s command to perpetuate the Eucharist. Obviously in terms of laws like this, the binding ability has limits (for example those who suffer from addiction to alcohol and gluten intolerance). But also there is prudence in not trying to have people who are rightly or wrongly germophobic to partake of a common cup.

      3. I also agree that offering the chalice is worth a small risk. I think that includes the risk of spillage. Though once the chalice is offered, I appreciate those who show a level of of concern for the consecrated elements that some might call punctilious.

        Since I attend a byzantine parish, I have been able to partake of both the Body and the Blood consistently since communal worship resumed and I have personally found that a great blessing. I miss the cup whenever I attend Latin parish.

      4. Devin

        Thanks for the reply. It would be difficult, to say the least, for the Church to oblige the faithful to receive from the common cup under pain of sin while trying to square that with settled dogma and doctrine re Utraquism. As well as the practical effect of exempting those whom you mention, but also those who may themselves be ill and thus whose partaking would increase risk to other members of the faithful.

        And that’s just for starters!

  2. Sadly, covid is hardly behind us. But, even it if were, why see returning to this problematic practice as so important? It is, as the author acknowledges, one which many Americans avoided anyway even before covid and which is rare in much of the Universal Church. Maybe they are telling us something?

  3. I am not certain that it is the effects of covid alone that’s holding parishes back in making the cup available. The local experience here (in the US upper midwest) is that attendance at liturgy is still falling short of what it was in 2019. That translates to less ministers available to help minister the cup, whether because of number, or reticence.

  4. Sadly, the Church’s complicity in shutting down during the pandemic prevented people not only from receiving from the common chalice, but also the Host, not to mention attending Mass in order to experience Christ in the Assembly, the Word and the clergy! We then taught you could attend Mass by live streaming it, even though, often it was a video tape and not live. And we said, you can make a spiritual Communion. All of this was trying to make lemonade out of lemons. But the world and people of the Church aren’t perfect and sometimes we assess risks to health and life as being too much and we make compromises. I will not ever again receive Holy Communion from a chalice that others, many others, have drunk from and there is more saliva in what I just drank than consecrated Wine. In good conscience we need to tell people about that and if the chalice is offered and they choose to receive from it, they do so at their own risk. Many people can’t receive either the Host or the consecrated wine for a number of physical or spiritual/moral reasons. A spiritual Communion is a good solution for them, but not perfect. I had a parishioner leave the church at Communion time as she couldn’t receive Holy Communion. She could have stayed and made a spiritual Communion. And even if you don’t receive Holy Communion and simply adore the Lord contained there under sacramental signs, that is pretty great when you think about it and it is better than not attending Mass at all. And the Lord’s presence in other liturgical actions should not be dismissed as well as being present in prayer for the sacramental presence of the One Sacrifice of Christ now glorified eternally by virtue of the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ the Risen Lord.

    1. Sorry – the strongest pro-life decision by the Church was to shut down and observe the science pertaining to COVID, period!!! Complicity – what a rude and inaccurate opinion – so partisan!! As Pope Francis stated – get the vaccine, shot of life. Your choice never to receive again – your loss!!! Suggest that the Church could begin to go back to the full and usual practice and let individuals decide. Other significant points are aptly laid out by Mr. Hommerding especially that all of eucharist is about *action* not *objects* and it is so much more than just the *host*

  5. Not to minimize the OP’s point or any comments made previously, but I think there is an aspect here that bears mentioning for the sake of fairness.

    In some parishes, the decrease in Mass attendance and, more to the point, the decrease in people willing to serve in ministries across the board is inhibiting the “return to normal”, including the option to receive the Precious Blood. At some of the larger nearby churches, it was common to have at least twice as many commissioned EMHCs distributing Holy Communion pre-COVID as opposed to now. At present, some barely have enough EMHCs to distribute the Precious Body efficiently based on the Mass schedule and the availability of deacons. Around here, many older parishioners who were most active in these ministries have withdrawn in the wake of COVID due to linked or unrelated health issues, moving out-of-town, assisting with child care for (great) grandkids, etc., so this has exacerbated the deficiency. While some younger volunteers have stepped forward, many young families stopped serving during COVID and have not returned to their ministries for any number of reasons. If a long-term volunteer / lay minister shortage develops, this will affect parishes in profound ways, as we surely do not have enough priests and religious to fill the resulting gaps.

    While I don’t mean to take the reductionist approach and say logistical concerns should dictate, there are practical considerations that have to be figured into the mix when deciding when and how to re-start the distribution of the Precious Blood. Some parishes have been very swift–maybe they were blessed with sufficient ministers and other resources to make this happen quickly. Others have not been as lucky and are still working on a plan to restore this option as soon as they can. That being the case, let’s be careful in our language, as we don’t know all the factors with which some parishes are contending.

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few parishes just didn’t do it without permission.
      And I have seen that a few rural dioceses have restored the cup. And I wouldn’t be surprised in those dioceses where the bishop said “go ahead!” that many parishes have opted out, for a variety of reasons (e.g. theology, logistics, fear, etc.).
      Anecdotally speaking, I agree with Paul: our rank of ministers has been decimated by the pandemic. Attendance is still at about 50% of our pre-pandemic attendance. I’d be hard-pressed to find 2 cup ministers (to compliment the priest) at some of our Masses!

  6. The risk for contracting a form of Covid that either hospitalizes or kills continues to diminish. Risk is a normal part of life and each of us must assess risks in the context of weighing benefits as well. It has been more than a year since the decision was made at my parish to allow people to fulfill the invitation of Christ by taking and drinking the cup of his blood. Most people still pass the cup by, but many of them always did. Among those who receive from it regularly there have been no reports by individuals who have had covid linking it to their reception of the blood of Christ. My educated guess is that about two hundred people (less than 10%) drink from the cup each week. I wonder how many priests have welcomed serious input from parishioners about restoring the Cup?

  7. In answer to a few of the comments. I am not trying to say that only reception under Both Kinds is valid. I do not deny the Church’s position on concomitance. Nor do I deny that millions of faithful Catholics fruitfully and holily receive under a Single Species. I also acknowledge that it is not always possible to administer the Eucharistic Cup. Sometimes it is impossible.

    However, I am challenging all Christians to take seriously the Dominical mandate to “take all of you and drink.” Surely we need to work towards this? If we don’t have enough Eucharistic Ministers, either we need to recruit more or, God forbid, spend a few minutes extra in Church distributing the Eucharistic Cup with the ministers we have.

    The Church bends over backwards to make sure that I, as an ordained priest, receive the Precious Blood. Even when I concelebrate, even in the height of COVID, I must receive under Both Kinds (and moreover from the altar itself and never from the tabernacle, even though most Catholics receive from the Reserved Sacrament in the Tabernacle 280 years after Benedict XVI’s Certiores effecti which entitles them to receive the Sacrament that has been confected at the Eucharist they are attending). If I were an alcoholic, the Church even foresees me using mustum to make sure that I have access to the Cup.

    What I am proposing is that we consider whether every Christian ought to have access to the Precious Blood, or is the Eucharistic Bread enough? Obviously Jesus is fully present in either Species, but is it better for us to receive under Both Kinds? Is it worth the effort or is it unimportant?

    If I may really throw the cat among the pigeons, iallow me to pose the question is increasing access to the Eucharistic Cup more or less a pastoral priority than, say, promoting an ecological awareness in the Christian assembly?

    1. Preaching about each might be equally effective ways to annoy a portion of the assembly in a way that will be communicated back to the preacher. (Which doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.)

      Thank you for clarifying the tenor of your concerns. In certain Catholic liturgical circles, a reductive approach to “take and drink” can get hurled in an arch proof-texting manner, probably the single most counterproductive way to promote reception from the common cup among Catholics.

    2. When you say “every Christian ought to have access to the Precious Blood”, do you mean year round? I think a schema a parish could follow would be to offer the Cup from Holy Thursday onwards until ending on Corpus Christi Sunday. The Cup would not be offered during the summer season when volunteers are scarce and ministries pared down. It also wouldn’t be offered for most flu (and Covid-19) Season from October-March.

  8. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy says, “The more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest’s communion, receive the Lord’s Body from the same sacrifice, is warmly recommended” (valde commendatur, 55). Careful planning helps us avoid regularly taking from the tabernacle hosts consecrated at a previous Mass.
    Eucharisticum mysterium (1967), interprets this conciliar article thus:

    31. The faithful share more fully in the celebration of the eucharist through sacramental communion. It is strongly recommended [valde commendatur] that they should receive it as a rule [de more] in the Mass itself and at that point in the celebration which is prescribed by the rite, that is, right after the communion of the priest celebrant.

    In order that the communion may stand out more clearly even through signs as a participation in the sacrifice actually being celebrated, steps should be taken [curandum est] that enable the faithful to receive hosts consecrated at the Mass.

    This becomes the maxime commendatur (“strongly recommended”) of Canon 917.

    1. And, if it’s a concern for someone, purifying just the lip of the cup does not purify the gripped stem, though people can be asked or directed to sanitize their hands before and after partaking (or using door handles et cet.). Churches and businesses that did a good job providing santizer at entrances have slacked off a lot in the last year or so.

      1. The monkeypox virus can be transmitted through saliva . I think that’s the concern in regards to sharing a common cup.

    2. Rather than deny the cup to all why not just have a general understanding that people with any sort of infections (colds, flu up to more serious ones) # should not take it. That is what had happened here up to now. Nobody knew why someone didnt take the cup …… and very few probably noticed.

      1. And also the immune-compromised. This is an issue that goes back decades but usually brushed away as marginal.

  9. An observation from a parish: We are all too ready to offer the Precious Blood at all liturgies, except for one problem: There are not sufficient eucharistic ministers! Yes, all the obvious Covid restrictions have been removed, but that hasn’t translated into people filling the pews nor ministers returning to their roles. We offered the cup on Holy Thursday, at the Easter Vigil and at a Mass for the Dedication of a New Altar, liturgies for which we could guarantee sufficient ministers, and there was clearly an eagerness among the people to receive from the cup. Our hope is to restore it, but first we need people to offer it.

  10. One option which seems worth more notice in this discussion to to distribute both the Bread and Cup by intinction–this does require receiving on the tongue, but greatly reduces any concerns about availability of Extraordinary Ministers or cross-contamination.

    1. I think intinction is a great idea. The minister who consumes the precious blood that remains will no longer have to drink what everyone else has left behind. This is very unsanitary.

  11. If the bishops are unwilling to reinstate use of the cup, perhaps a temporary edit of the Eucharistic prayer to remove any references to the chalice might be in order? What sense does it make to hear the words, “take this, all of you… “ and then be denied that very thing moments later?

    1. This tongue in check comment (I think) is precisely the problem. Catholic theology and practice absolutely sees the need of the Eucharistic Chalice. If a priest omits the chalice it is not a true Eucharistic celebration, and he incurs excommunication.

      The Church bends over backwards to make sure that we consecrate a cup of wine in every sacramental celebration of the Eucharist. This is what Jesus told us to do. Now we also need to reflect on whether this cup be for the priest alone or whether we make it mode widely available,

      1. I always understood that the concern over the priest making a “full communion” was linked to taking mass stipends. In other words, no stipend unless you participate fully in the sacrifice. (I don’t think this solves the OP’s problem – in fact it raises even more questions…)

  12. More valid points are being raised. I personally think that intinction is better than not receiving the Precious Cup at all. Although this is still not in full compliance with Jesus’ command to drink. THe wags say that Judas Iscariot is the only one who dips a morsel of bread into the chalice during the Last Supper!

    Then for the immuno-compromised, I think we might be better with the small individual chalices. Again we would have to come up with a solution for purification (as this is problematic from a Catholic point of view – you can’t just stick them in the dishwasher). But I would feel very bad if anyone was simply denied the opportunity of receiving the Precious Blood because of a health complaint.

    But everything goes back to my original point. This is an important issue. Yes it is messy, but we need to find a practical solutions to the various problems. Solving these should be an exercise of human creativity and most definitely is worth the effort.

    1. “Although this is still not in full compliance with Jesus’ command to drink.”

      With respect, Fr, that – worded that way – is a questionable assertion (I wouldn’t call it an argument) vis a vis the dogma, doctrine and practice of the Roman Catholic Church. And, because of that, I wonder how effectively it promotes offering and reception of the common cup, as its logical extension is that properly disposed faithful who do not partake of the common cup are also not in such full compliance, which at a minimum would be pastorally and doctrinally problematic.

      I don’t believe it’s your intention with that statement, but I draw your attention to that wording precisely because it’s so easy slip into in these discussions and I believe is too vulnerable to being an unfruitful dead-end.

      1. “Although this is still not in full compliance with Jesus’ command to drink.”
        And then Karl, the next logical extension is that all the Eastern Churches that only distribute Holy Communion via intinction are not following the Lord’s command to the letter either.

  13. For what it’s worth COVID is far from being in the rear-view mirror.

    The federal government is about to stop paying for testing and shots, handing that over to the private sector and insurance companies. Many health experts believe that this will reduce complicity with care measures and create a marked, possibly serious, uptick in transmission and infection.

    This isn’t an opinion directly on offering the cup, but, rather, pointing out that some of the reasoning being used is possibly flawed.

  14. Covid did not limit the use of the Blood of Christ in the Madison Diocese. I believe it was over ten years ago when the then Bishop of Madison, Robert Morlino, prohibited this means, except on a very few specific occasions.

  15. I deliberately delayed replying on this thread. But I would like to make a few observations (in 2 comment boxes).
    First of all, this is a blog post and an example of free-flowing public theology and not the refined theology of the academy. In other words, it allows a freer form of theology can adapt to the circumstances. It does not have the nuance and academic rigor of formal theology. It is not peer reviewed, nor does it have as many footnotes as an academic article. So I hope readers will forgive that lack of academic rigor.
    However, I would answer Karl that we need to look forward in our liturgical theology. We ought not to judge earlier moments of theology and pastoral practice under the harsh lens of today. It is not a question of saying that former ages and practices were wrong. They were not. They were what the Church was inspired to do for Christians of that day by the Holy Spirit. Yet the same Holy Spirit is inspiring and pushing the Church today to be more faithful to the Words of Christ. Yes, by receiving solely under the Species of Bread, Christians can correctly be said to fulfil Christ’s command to “drink.” This is also true many tomes by ocular communion where they “drink” by looking or even today by looking at an image on a computer screen. Our dogma need not change or be “corrected” in this regard.
    Yet at the same time, we ought to reflect whether Christ’s command to “drink” might be best fulfilled today by “drinking” from the Eucharistic Cup. I would go so far, pace John K., to say that drinking could be more meaningful than receiving Communion on a spoon or an intincted Host.
    Every age has to strive to be more faithful to Christ. This is done on many levels. But my specialty is liturgical theology and not social teaching or another theological discipline. Therefore my concerns are different to others and there will be others who encourage other important aspects of theology, spirituality and pastoral practice to balance what I am saying.

    1. Father

      I very much appreciate that helpful, fuller context for that statement. Thank you for providing it.

  16. Part 2
    Yet I consider the reception of the Eucharist from the Cup to be important. I believe that if a properly formed assembly is encouraged to receive from the Eucharistic Cup this has the potential to help them more. Surely the inspiration of the twentieth century liturgical movement and the post-conciliar liturgical movement is that validity is not enough. If we participate in a more meaningful, sign-filled manner, then we can better avail of the infinite graces that are available to us in the Eucharist. I believe that at this venture, when Communion from the Eucharistic Cup is in danger of becoming more restricted, that we ought to examine whether this is something that should instead be promoted and not allowed to fall into disuse.

  17. Edward Foley gave a masterful presentation to FDLC in 2002 on the different between the fruits of the Mass and the fruits of Communion. This was in the context of a tendency at the time to use services of Word and Communion as a substitute for Mass.

    Without wanting to dilute his words in any way, the substance of his argument is that when Communion from the cup is lacking, we also lack — in the context of our being called to mission to the world — the rich symbolism of the self-sacrifical imagery inherent in drinking Christ’s blood, and so the graces we receive are not the same.

    The entire paper will be found at
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/nu4ysqke3jsefjl/Foley%20on%20Eucharist%20and%20Communion.pdf?dl=0
    It is well worth reading.

  18. ” …the rich symbolism of the self-sacrifical imagery inherent in drinking Christ’s blood, and so the graces we receive are not the same.”

    Really? I can’t conceive of how Christ withholds His grace from the immunocompromised, or from all of us who did not wish to become vectors of disease during this Covid crisis–or still don’t.

    My understanding is that the Church holds receiving under one form is complete. It’s not a half measure. I’m not reluctantly blessed, or forgiven half my sins, or scorned in favor of those who took the Cup. In short, the graces we receive ARE the same, if we only share in the bread. Am I missing something?

      1. Yes. I’m unconvinced. He implies that Covid turned the Eucharist into a “Happy meal” ? That’s a bit dismissive, don’t you think? In any case, I didn’t hear that from the hierarchy.

  19. This is from the article:

    “So why do I expend so much energy
    trying to grapple with issues of sacrifice
    when it is generationally and culturally
    difficult for so many students? I do so
    because without a sacrificial frame, I fear
    that Sunday Mass for many is reduced to
    some vaguely social-religious occasion or
    a kind of liturgical happy meal”

    The author goes on to state that drinking from the cup is essential to participating in the sacrificial aspect of Christ’s passion. With the advent of Covid, all were unable to drink from the cup for some years, or thereabouts. Hence, we all participated in a reduced Eucharist, according to this reasoning. “The graces we receive are not the same” as before. Those graces are “inherent in drinking Christ’s blood”. As I said, I find this argument unconvincing. Which is not the same thing as saying that I dismiss sharing in the Cup as being a meaningless gesture.

  20. I think the Cup presents an opportunity for grace. A believer always has the possibility of declining, and it involves no sin. At worst, a person who makes a careful reflection on the opportunity and on their possible “no, thanks” may well experience some form of grace. Likewise people who stay away from Mass for a serious reason and fill that time with prayer, reflection, charity, or such.

    Obviously, a person who skips Mass to play golf, sleep in, or watch tv has likely made a poor choice. Likewise a person who skips the cup because they feel superior to those who receive under both forms, or because they get a ten-second head-start for the parking lot. Good and bad motivations abound, and unless I know a believer personally, I’m obliged to think the best of their motives.

    This is why I care more about how the liturgy is presented by its “professionals” and less the behavior of particular individuals. When people don’t come to Mass or come but don’t receive the Cup, and if that is a concern to me, I look first to what I can do to make the liturgical experience improved. The more I think about my own role at liturgy and strive to better what I offer, the less I get worked up about what other people do. The worst thing I could do is pick up my toys and walk off in a huff.

    1. Well put.

      I also care more about the movie than a photo in that regard: the experience of liturgical worship over time more than an individual instance of it. It’s pretty rare for me to have a nearly intolerable experience of an individual instance, but I choose carefully; nevertheless, there is the occasional jarring surprise.*

      * E.g., https://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2022/06/27/13th-sunday-in-ordinary-time-1st-sunday-post-roe/#comment-8416929

  21. The answer to the long delayed post-pandemic offering of the cup is not very complicated and simply relies on the fact, not the assumption, that the Covid issue is not closed and is not behind us. Epidemiologically, it is at a low risk but that risk is not zero, and that is the whole point. The non-zero risk is perceived and even magnified by the Catholic faithful. Over against that risk perception, there is a clear understanding on their part that the reception of the Eucharist in the form of the Host is totally valid, as given by the teaching of the Church over many centuries including the Council of Trent 500 years ago. After all, I grew up. In the 1940s, the 1950s and into the 1960s never having seen the cup. It is also useful to reflect on why before the pandemic the majority of the Communicants did not receive from the cup. One response: “I just don’t like receiving from a common cup”.

    So, while there is no question of the need for ongoing and continual growth in our liturgical. Celebrations including the depth and beauty of receiving under both species of which I can testify personally, as the most complete and most fulfilling, I must offer the following observation.

    If I were the pastor of a large Parish and if I were to even hint that I was going to offer the Cup, my Inbox would be ablaze within 3 minutes! I would have to be prepared for an internal parish battle of an extent that would be unpredictable. And largely undesirable. So I would be clearly disinclined to open the box and rather continue to rely on the ambiguous nature of the Church’s teaching on the validity of receiving under a single species. And then I would go and have a nice quiet lunch.

    1. If receiving from the common cup was an obligation, the existence of Covid would have stirred up great controversy in debates about mandatory vaccines and other public health issues. But since it was not and is not a matter of obligation, there is nothing–other than personal preference–to prevent parish priests from taking counsel with the faithful to set in motion the restoration of the cup to those who have made a risk benefit assessment and desire to do so. People always knew they should refrain from sharing the cup if they had a cold or some similar illness. In more than 50 years of public ministry as a deacon and priest, I recall no outbreak of illness thought to be attributed to the sharing of the cup. There were parishioners–few in number, thank God–who died of covid but not because they had shared the cup of Christ’s blood.

  22. “…those who have made a risk benefit assessment and desire to (drink from the cup).”

    Again, I’m unconvinced that those who drink from the Cup receive greater benefit from the Eucharist than those who share only in the bread. Surely we all receive the same grace. That said, I can readily understand that for many, receiving from the Cup brings about a deeper sense of piety, or meaning, or obedience, than taking only from the bread. And so it holds great importance.

    I may be surprised when I begin to receive from the Cup once more. It may have grown in importance for me, through its absence. Still, I work with elderly people. Covid is enough of a risk that I don’t want to inadvertently become a carrier.

    I’m amused by the reference to “risk benefit analysis” in regards to the Eucharist. Only in the U.S.! I doubt that we can calculate the incalculable.

    1. Again, I’m unconvinced that those who drink from the Cup receive greater benefit from the Eucharist than those who share only in the bread. Surely we all receive the same grace.

      Foley’s point is precisely this: Yes, it’s the same Jesus you receive. No, it’s not the same grace you receive (translating fruits = grace). Failing to distinguish between these is at the root of the issue.

      Another way of thinking of it would be to say that it’s not that those receiving from the chalice receive greater benefit, but different benefit. It’s an axiom that signification depends on form. Change the form and you change the signification.

  23. I entirely agree with the thrust of Foley’s article, in the sense that we need to dwell on the suffering and sacrifice of Christ and the necessity of taking up the Cross. This is the hard part of what we do in our faith and in the meal. But I wonder if taking the cup at Mass really accomplishes that in and of itself? And if not taking it means we miss out on accepting this? This is part of my quibble. As to the distinction that you and Foley make between taking the full body of Christ under the bread alone, but not the full grace…this is a bit over my head. Maybe you can elaborate or others can comment.
    Praying the stations of the Cross is one excellent way of focusing on Christ’s suffering and sacrifice. There are others. It isn’t something that can happen automatically. as Foley (and Bartleby) says, we’d rather not go there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.