Thursday, August 28, 2008

Common Cup & Infection

From time to time, people have asked me about our use of the common cup and if it transmits colds, etc.

Here are two articles on this...

From the ELCA:

Holy Communion and Infection Risks: an Age-Old Concern by Anne LaGrange Loving (1999)

From the Anglican Church of Canada:

Eucharistic practice and the risk of infection By David H. Gould (2001)


To summarize:

"It must be stressed that the present use of the common cup is normal for Anglican churches, follows the practice of the universal church from its beginnings until well into the middle ages, and poses no real hazard to health in normal circumstances."

"No episode of disease attributable to the common cup has ever been reported. Thus for the average communicant it would seem that the risk of drinking from the common cup is probably less than the risk of air-borne infection in using a common building."

"A microbiologist shows, through scientific studies, that receiving Holy Communion does not increase one's illness rate when compared to the general population which does not take communion."

My suggestion:

If you have the flu, a cold, or a cold sore, then don’t drink from the cup. I would suggest washing your hands before communion (or using the hand sanitizer in back) and just receiving the wafer alone or intincting your wafer in the wine.

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