Germs from Intinction

I have heard a few priests say that it is more likely to encounter something communicable from using intinction (presumably from fingers entering the chalice). I’ve heard these same priests say there is science to back this up, but I haven’t been able to find any.

Any help? And what about using the same purification over and over again?
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Comments

  • My iPhone thought I meant purification and not purificator. Isn’t it unsanitary to use the same purificator over and over again?
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    edited November 2018
    Here’s some information from Manchester Diocese about intinction and the chalice. (The ‘acceptable’ level of gluten contamination is 20 parts per million.)

    And here is some comprehensive and apparently expert advice from the Anglican Church in Canada.
  • BroJames wrote: »
    Here’s some information from Manchester Diocese about intinction and the chalice. (The ‘acceptable’ level of gluten contamination is 20 parts per million.)

    And here is some comprehensive and apparently expert advice from the Anglican Church in Canada.

    Thanks. These are very helpful.
  • OblatusOblatus Shipmate
    edited November 2018
    My iPhone thought I meant purification and not purificator. Isn’t it unsanitary to use the same purificator over and over again?

    Seems sanitary enough if a different part of the purificator is used for each wiping of the chalice rim. One can flip it over and unfold it to get access to unused parts. But after using it at one Mass, yes, it should be washed before using it again.
  • Huh… it gives me pause, but perhaps not enough to make me change my practice. For many years I have consumed what remains in the chalice after distribution, used the purificator that the deacon or other assistant used for wiping the cup to then wipe my lips, and not ever thought of the risk of infection. Nor have I ever thought that a cold or such came from doing so. I am more concerned about exchanging the peace, especially in cold and flu season. I do, at the lavabo use a squirt of hand sanitizer, and if I have a cold, use hand sanitizer again, in a manner that most can see, before distributing the bread. Beyond that…… not much concern I think.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    BabyWombat wrote: »
    ... I do, at the lavabo use a squirt of hand sanitizer, and if I have a cold, use hand sanitizer again, in a manner that most can see, before distributing the bread. Beyond that…… not much concern I think.
    Has it occurred to you that if you also have a ceremonial lavabo with water, a towel, a flourish and possibly some acolytes, that becomes a liturgical nonsense? If you think about it, it must be that the one with the sanitiser that is the 'real' one. Also it's that one that any 'secret' prayer should accompany.
  • I am now ruminating on the possible designs for a properly Puginesque hand sanitizer, although perhaps there are shipmates who would prefer a baroque sanitizer, with an image of the Sacred Heart.....
  • My daughter is a specialist nurse in infection control. I have asked her what the risk of infection is …. answer: there's a massive risk. Some infections - both viral and bacterial - won't be removed by alcohol infused sanitisers, they need soap and water. Her advice is: don't drink from a chalice (have small cups) just take the bread given to you.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Here’s a couple of partially overlapping sourcesfrom journals etc. I was not previously aware of.
  • I do have to ask ... are there any confirmed (sorry!) cases of anyone Picking Something Up via Communion or the Peace? After all, millions of people have done these for centuries, often when ideas of health were far poorer than today, and I don't see a higher death-rate among Christians than in the general population. I would have thought you were far more likely to get ill by jumping on a bus, grabbing the handrails and breathing other peoples' air etc.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    I've never encountered the word 'chalicule' to mean a wee cuppie before.
  • I'd have thought the greater risk was if someone was allergic to something in the wafer (if it was regularly being dunked in the wine).

    I'm sure that getting an infection from a shared cup is a risk, but I doubt most of the time it is "massive".
  • I do have to ask ... are there any confirmed (sorry!) cases of anyone Picking Something Up via Communion or the Peace? After all, millions of people have done these for centuries, often when ideas of health were far poorer than today, and I don't see a higher death-rate among Christians than in the general population. I would have thought you were far more likely to get ill by jumping on a bus, grabbing the handrails and breathing other peoples' air etc.

    You'd never really know would you ….. one person might clean all the bacteria off as they drink that another has left. Handrails is another point --- if the altar rails aren't cleaned each time someone touches them, it's another source of infection.

    IT all goes to show that small cups and baptist bread is the safest way!
  • mr cheesy wrote: »
    I'm sure that getting an infection from a shared cup is a risk, but I doubt most of the time it is "massive".
    No, the well qualified Miss Mark (the middle one) says it's the cup that is the greater risk of the two (no soap and water between swillers).

    Mind you the biggest risk of all is people putting their hands on the altar rail with germs attached. In any kind of tummy infection there are tens of millions of bacteria or viral forms: ingesting no more than 20 will make you ill.

  • mr cheesymr cheesy Shipmate
    edited November 2018
    In any kind of tummy infection there are tens of millions of bacteria or viral forms: ingesting no more than 20 will make you ill.

    Well sure, but there are trillions of microbes everywhere we go and on everything we touch.

    The risk is that someone has flu (or some infection) and spreads those specific germs around.

  • I do have to ask ... are there any confirmed (sorry!) cases of anyone Picking Something Up via Communion or the Peace? After all, millions of people have done these for centuries, often when ideas of health were far poorer than today, and I don't see a higher death-rate among Christians than in the general population. I would have thought you were far more likely to get ill by jumping on a bus, grabbing the handrails and breathing other peoples' air etc.

    I think we'd only really know if it was something highly infectious and which was traced back to a specific church service.

    In normal situations there are plenty of ways we could pick up flu so being able to trace it back is generally impossible.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    Any surface that people touch presents a risk of infection - door handles, seat backs, notice sheets, other people’s hands, offertory plates/bags, plates of bread, trays of little cups, chalices etc. For most people with normal levels of immunity, most of the time the risks (per individual) are small and acceptable.

    When something particularly harmful is doing the rounds it can all look rather different. Even then, focussing solely on the common cup is like shutting your front door to keep bonfire smoke out, but leaving all the windows open.
  • BroJames wrote: »
    Focussing solely on the common cup is like shutting your front door to keep bonfire smoke out, but leaving all the windows open.
    Well, that tends to be my feeling - hence my query upthread.

  • When we expected flu epidemics a few years ago, the CofE recommended that the shared chalice was suspended and that communion was received in one kind only. We went to immense trouble using an eyedropper to intinct all the wafers in advance for the services.

    There was also discussion about suspending the Peace at the same time, but that particular practice was very challenging to introduce and I suspect the powers that be realised if they withdrew it temporarily it would probably never return.
  • After reading this thread, last Sunday I was very conscious of the potential effect of shaking so many hands before Communion, but I decided to take the risk.
    I also risked intincture, as usual, as my crooked teeth cause the skin just inside in my mouth to be broken. I never allow my fingers to touch the wine, but I take the point about the wafer potentially contaminating the wine.
    It is all a matter of risk, isn’t it really? Am I taking more risks by going to church, or by working with vulnerable people, or simply by travelling or a bus, or going to the supermarket?
    I guess if we have a flu epidemic, I might reassess the risks, but at the moment I just carry on as usual.
    As someone said up thread, priests don’t seem to have more illness than others, nor do Christians in general. There are other factors more relevant than the Communion elements eg general hygiene, overall health, diet etc to take into consideration.
    But I do agree that practice of more hygienic methods could be adopted in churches.
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