No Manual Gestures

According to my liturgical manual "Let Us Give Thanks", the book used in the Anglican Church of Canada, it is acceptable for the Presider to not touch the elements at all during the Eucharistic Prayer. The simple recitation of the Prayer suffices alone to consecrate.

While this rubs against my Anglocatholic training, does this reflect a low church understanding of the Eucharist, and would a lot of Anglicans/Episcopalians accept this practice of not touching the bread or wine during the Eucharistic Prayer, especially during this time of Pandemic.
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Comments

  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    Does God really care whether or not the elements are touched? I'm sure he understands why we would not want the priest to touch them.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    Not an Anglican/Episcopalian, but I concur that God will understand--and in fact might have some cranky things to say to anybody who refused to love their neighbor in preference to carrying out ritual actions. I seem to recall Jesus having some words on that subject.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited May 23
    Well, quite.

    In any case, with all these 'virtual' services going on, only the priest him/herself is receiving the elements. Granted, once 'real' services get going again, some touching may be necessary in order to get the host from the priest to the communicant - any ideas as to how this is to be done?
  • Baptist TrainfanBaptist Trainfan Shipmate
    edited May 23
    A fleet of remote-control Episcopal drones?
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    Well, quite.

    In any case, with all these 'virtual' services going on, only the priest him/herself is receiving the elements. Granted, once 'real' services get going again, some touching may be necessary in order to get the host from the priest to the communicant - any ideas as to how this is to be done?

    Chopsticks.

    Seriously, we are already doing "real services" (being an extremely small church), and we consecrate the elements (Yes, we use wee cuppies right now) and place them in the center of the room, with some distance between the wee cuppies, wafers, etc. Then, one by one, we have people come up and take the elements, touching nothing else, while Mr Lamb says the blessing. It takes a pretty long time, even with only ten people. And of course the distancing undercuts the symbolism of the Lord's Supper. But then, symbolism is not the most important thing, and I'm sure Jesus totally understands.
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    It's an embodied, physical sacrament. Care will have to be taken, and we will have to accept that it won't happen every week, because soldiering on through illness will not be an option, but I still don't see how you get away from the centrality of its physicality, and of the interaction between celebrant and elements.

    So, no, I'm not a fan.
  • Fawkes CatFawkes Cat Shipmate
    Well, quite.

    In any case, with all these 'virtual' services going on, only the priest him/herself is receiving the elements. Granted, once 'real' services get going again, some touching may be necessary in order to get the host from the priest to the communicant - any ideas as to how this is to be done?

    Wine is self-evidently suitable for distribution by water pistol: if this has unfortunately military overtones then maybe an old washing-up liquid bottle or a plant sprayer might serve the need.

    Bread is trickier. Maybe cubes of bread (unleavened would be better as denser so heavier) and a slingshot? This would take some dexterity on the part of both priest and communicant, particularly in traditions where the host is placed in the communicant 's mouth rather than their hand.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited May 23
    Fawkes Cat wrote: »
    Bread is trickier. Maybe cubes of bread (unleavened would be better as denser so heavier) and a slingshot? This would take some dexterity on the part of both priest and communicant, particularly in traditions where the host is placed in the communicant 's mouth rather than their hand.
    Oh, no. Surely the best plan is wafers and a disc shooter aimed at open mouths.

    To go with administration via water/wine pistol and disc shooter, perhaps the Communion hymn could be Onward, Christian Soldiers.

  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    To be honest, while my pre-Covid19 preference was for the inclusive CD sized wafer, in much practice the presider only ever handled the so-called "priest's wafer" anyway prior to distribution. Theologically I found that abhorrent, but Covid19 has kind of overcome most of my theological sensitivities anyway.

    However I agree strongly with those above who have said that God would prefer no touchies ... I will, when eucharists recommence in our diocese, perform good no touchy consecration (but not "north end") and with plenty of hand waving and genuflections.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited May 23
    It's an embodied, physical sacrament. Care will have to be taken, and we will have to accept that it won't happen every week, because soldiering on through illness will not be an option, but I still don't see how you get away from the centrality of its physicality, and of the interaction between celebrant and elements.

    So, no, I'm not a fan.

    Who is?

    Though I'd question your "centrality... of the interaction between celebrant and elements." Where do you get that from? IMHO the centrality of interaction, if we must refer to it that way, is a) between Jesus and the elements, and b) between the recipients and the elements. The celebrant is not the center.
  • Water pistols, and disc shooters, aside ( :lol: ), I wonder if it would be OK for the priest to wear protective gloves to transfer the host from the ciborium to the communicant's hand?

    No touchies during consecration, and no wine at all (we gave up the chalice before lockdown anyway).
  • Given many churches already possess tongs for the transfer of wafers prior to consecration could such not be used for serving?
  • Hmm. Not sure if we've got such an implement, but ISWYM.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    edited May 23
    I can’t see what the problem is provided the priest properly cleanses his/her hands when preparing the table, before handling the elements, and doesn’t put hand to face until after the administration. It would of course the priest administering to self last rather than first.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    The priest is still breathing all over them, though.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    True, but that is unaffected by what the priest does or does not do in relation to manual gestures.

    The greater risk, I’d have thought would be the priest breathing over each communicant while administering the sacrament.
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    Water pistols, and disc shooters, aside ( :lol: ), I wonder if it would be OK for the priest to wear protective gloves to transfer the host from the ciborium to the communicant's hand?

    No touchies during consecration, and no wine at all (we gave up the chalice before lockdown anyway).

    I think the directions from the Italian bishops (RC, but followed AIUI by the Anglicans in that country) are that the priest sanitises his [sic, in most cases] hands and dons gloves before administering the host, into the communicant's hands without touching them. Someone will have to place the unconsecrated hosts into the ciborium in the first place; doubtless this will also be done wearing gloves. There is no reason why the priest should not touch and break the large host as usual if he is the only one to consume it. And of course the chalice will be consecrated but not shared.

    Like Zappa, I regret the theological/symbolical message that this might convey, but needs must in the circumstances.
  • Can any one else derive meaning from not being allowed communion because of virus? Not being allowed to gather because of virus?
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    What do you mean? Because I derive the meaning "this sucks."
  • My Bishop in my former Diocese prefers to preside this way, He would maintain his ad orans position throughout the Prayer, the only manual action he would do, is the hovering motion over the bread and wine for the epiclesis.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    I struggle to see how God would refuse to consecrate just because one part of a man-made ritual is slightly altered.
    Its not as though our liturgical books were parachuted down with a label reading "This way folks, and no other."
  • They weren't? Who knew?
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    To get back to the OP, and to the pre-Covid situation, there is a theological argument for the president not touching the elements at the words of institution. Namely that the whole prayer, and not certain 'magic words' effects the consecration. This was pushed quite strongly by influential Anglican liturgists around the time the new rites were introduced. It's nothing to do with evangelical vs catholic ways of understanding; most of these people would be from a sort of 'liberal-catholic' background.
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    According to my liturgical manual "Let Us Give Thanks", the book used in the Anglican Church of Canada, it is acceptable for the Presider to not touch the elements at all during the Eucharistic Prayer. The simple recitation of the Prayer suffices alone to consecrate.

    While this rubs against my Anglocatholic training, does this reflect a low church understanding of the Eucharist, and would a lot of Anglicans/Episcopalians accept this practice of not touching the bread or wine during the Eucharistic Prayer, especially during this time of Pandemic.
    The laity have to accept that they are at the mercy of the celebrant who happens to be presiding. It's my view, for what it's worth, that any theology that is dependent on the celebrant getting it exactly right according to the opinions of the most pernickety factionalists within one's particular ecclesiastical household leaves the laity in an impossible position. It would also, if you were in England, be contrary to the spirit, and possibly the letter, both of Article 26 and the theology from which it derives.

    I'm quite prepared to have someone try seriously to persuade me I'm wrong. However, if there's an intention to consecrate and the performance of what is intended to be and presented as, a Eucharist, then whether you yourself would prefer it be done some other way or not, it seems to me that that is a Eucharist. I don't see that this has any bearing on whether one is Anglocatholic, Evangelical, High-Church, Low-Church or any other sort of church.

    Obviously, I can no more claim to know this than anyone else. However, even if one usually prefers to touch the elements, as indeed the 1662 BCP says, but on which Common Worship is partially silent, if by reason of the pandemic, in stead you hold your hands above them at the appropriate moment, I'm sure you can be confident that they will still become consecrated. After all, it's the Lord's Supper, not yours. He is the one who consecrates the elements not the president, who in some ways - even if this language grates - is more like a sort of holy waiter.

    Although this example is the other way round, I think the principle is the same. When the Israelites were in the wilderness, God provided them with daily manna. When they got to the Holy Land and didn't need it any more, the manna stopped. I am sure God can work with what we do to protect one another from infection, and what we abstain from doing, even if we think he might expect us to do something different under more normal circumstances.

    But this is just what I think. You're quite entitled to tell me I'm talking nonsense provided you explain to me convincingly why.

  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    Indeed ... even if you stay at the north end and vacuously wave hands - or desperately refrain from doing so - in a vaguely southerly direction, Jesus will drop in (er, epicletically speaking).
  • What do you mean? Because I derive the meaning "this sucks."

    Sacrifice.
    Remaining faithful even so.
    Stuff like that.
    I recite liturgy and sing parts when out with the dog at 6am. Grubbing around and trying to connect. I'm not very good at Christianity best of times. That's all I've got.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    I think that's all any of us have got, including me.
  • Closet DruidCloset Druid Shipmate Posts: 28
    According to my liturgical manual "Let Us Give Thanks", the book used in the Anglican Church of Canada, it is acceptable for the Presider to not touch the elements at all during the Eucharistic Prayer. The simple recitation of the Prayer suffices alone to consecrate.

    While this rubs against my Anglocatholic training, does this reflect a low church understanding of the Eucharist, and would a lot of Anglicans/Episcopalians accept this practice of not touching the bread or wine during the Eucharistic Prayer, especially during this time of Pandemic.

    Someone may correct me on this, but I seem to recall that in the late lamented Alternative Service book, manual actions were not required until after the conclusion of the Eucharistic Prayer, when the "President" would pick up the Host and say "The bread that we break is it not a sharing in the Body of Christ...." and there was a suitable response from the congregation.
    Certainly in the nearly snake belly low Anglican parish that I attended in those days the manual actions were performed at the consecration, the priest being thoroughly ingrained with the BCP rubrics.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    Obviously not quite as snake belly low as some *cough* ahem: Sydney *cough* places where the bloke[1] in an open neck shirt will clutch his hands around his crotch to ensure no elevation - yeah, okay, or other gestures - is seen to take place


    [1] all references are gender specific
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    It’s ‘interesting‘ behaviour. Before I became an Anglican, when I was a member of an evangelical Baptist church, there was no hesitation st all about raising the bread and then one of the Little cups of wine at the appropriate point in the recitation of the institution narrative. So it has always seemed odd to me that it’s such a problem for certain kinds of Anglican.
  • BroJames wrote: »
    It’s ‘interesting‘ behaviour. Before I became an Anglican, when I was a member of an evangelical Baptist church, there was no hesitation st all about raising the bread and then one of the Little cups of wine at the appropriate point in the recitation of the institution narrative. So it has always seemed odd to me that it’s such a problem for certain kinds of Anglican.

    There is a certain type of protestant who defines themselves primarily in opposition to Catholicism (whether Roman or otherwise). I've encountered the attitude among Anglicans and Presbyterians.
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    The BCP of 1662 very specifically orders the priest to lay his hand on the bread and the cup at the words of institution. Low-church and evangelical anglicans have always been the most meticulous observers of that rubric until recent years. Questioning that practice came in with the Liturgical Movement inspired services of the last 30 or 40 years. I don't think it has ever really caught on except with a few liturgical obsessives, few of whom would call themselves evangelical. Nowadays however many evangelical clergy seem to have had little formation in liturgy and a rather dismissive attitude to tradition. (I hope that doesn't sound too sniffy: other traditions have other and maybe worse faults.)
  • The Vicar at the very low Church Of My Yoof celebrated 1662 Communion most reverently, and pretty well in accordance with the rubrics (though I don't recall him ever using the Exhortations...).

    He certainly performed the manual actions prescribed.

    That particular Vicar (long since promoted to glory) was never particularly happy with Series 3 or ASB Rite A, and I can't remember what he did in those services, but I expect he continued with the manual actions he had been trained to do.
  • Closet DruidCloset Druid Shipmate Posts: 28
    angloid wrote: »
    Nowadays however many evangelical clergy seem to have had little formation in liturgy and a rather dismissive attitude to tradition. (I hope that doesn't sound too sniffy: other traditions have other and maybe worse faults.)

    I agree with you on that. There are some "evangelical" clergy in the CofE who would make Zappa's Sidney Anglican look very formal. I remember one such cleric who conducted an informal eucharist in the church lounge, producing a plastic bag of cubed bread from under his seat at the offertory and tipping the contents on to a plate. The local branch of the mafia Mothers Union made sure that never happened again.
  • PendragonPendragon Shipmate
    The BCP rubrics also ensure that the big host that the celebrant uses doesn't make it to the end of the words of institution in one piece, so they have to hold it to break it, unless toffee hammers are about to become essential items of ecclesiastical 'kit'.

    Our local, now closing, theological college was the lower end of the CofE, and we (Mr Dragon and I) did always comment that based on the graduates we saw liturgy classes were rather lacking in the curriculum: how anyone can do it week after week and still seem like they're celebrating for the first time is somewhat beyond me.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    Pendragon wrote: »
    unless toffee hammers are about to become essential items of ecclesiastical 'kit'.

    Dulcimalleus, please, dulcimalleus. Plated with gold or silver, and preferably held in a vimpa by anyone not in Orders. You forget where you are!
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited May 26
    Ha! Cheapskate churches...

    The True Dulcimalleus™ is made of solid gold, or perhaps silver, if that is the best that can conveniently be gotten.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    Titanium is such a bugger to get hold of these days
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    Any objections to using one's own bread and wine ?
  • PendragonPendragon Shipmate
    My education in the BCP Eucharist was in a different decade and a different country. It is not what we do at St Quacks. (Mostly modern Roman rite)

    It wouldn't surprise me if there was a vimpa hiding in the back of the cupboard, as long as the Fathers of that vintage were that spikey whilst remaining good members of the CofE.

    When we had bishops visit in the autumn there was always a spare priest to hold their crozier, so I don't think the issue arose then.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth 8th Day Host, Mystery Worship Editor
    They didn't bring out the vimpa to hold the crozier with? Quick, fetch Miss Amanda her smelling salts!
  • Pendragon wrote: »
    My education in the BCP Eucharist was in a different decade and a different country.

    ....and besides, the wench is dead?
  • PDRPDR Shipmate
    I was trained on the ECUSA BCP and Anglican Missal, so getting me not to do manual acts requires someone to find the override key, and there is some doubt whether I actually have one. During Covidiocy* I have been putting the small wafers in a ciborium and not handling them except to administer communion. I have carried on doing the manual actions as usual with priest's host, but the ciborium's lid only comes off for the actual consecration.

    * - best description I can come up with for the governmental response.
  • CyprianCyprian Shipmate
    If it contributes anything, in the Orthodox Tradition, the Roman and Sarum eucharistic rites are the only ones I've experienced in which the priest touches the Holy Gifts at all during the anaphora, and that's when he holds the Bread during the dominical words. In the Byzantine Liturgies, in the neo-Gallican Liturgy, as well as what I can recall of the East Syriac and Armenian Liturgies, the Holy Gifts are not touched during the anaphora.

    In some of those rites there is an elevation by the deacon, but it is the vessels that are handled, and not the Gifts themselves.

    I have never come across the idea that the priest has to touch the Gifts for them to be consecrated. Where does this come from?
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    In St Matthew's gospel we read that Jesus took a piece of bread, broke it and gave it to his disciples and that he took a cup and handed it to them.
  • CyprianCyprian Shipmate
    Forthview wrote: »
    In St Matthew's gospel we read that Jesus took a piece of bread, broke it and gave it to his disciples and that he took a cup and handed it to them.

    None of that is in dispute, and in all traditions I think the priest touches the Gifts at some point during the eucharistic rite, particularly at the fraction and at communion.

    However, the OP was asking about the absence of such contact specifically during the anaphora, and seemed to suggest that this might have some bearing on whether consecration takes place. It is this that I have never encountered anywhere before and I was curious.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    What exactly do you mean by the anaphora. ? I take it to mean that part of the eucharist between the consecration and the Communion.
    Is your question really more to do with when exactly the consecration takes place ?

    Generally the Roman rite would say that the consecration takes place when the priest pronounces the word 'This is my body This is my blood.
    We know however that that is only from our human point of view,the epiclesis and the final elevation at the words per ipsum et cum ipso et in ipso (through him and with him and in him) are in a sense all part of the consecration

    I think that some Anglicans would say that the consecration is not complete until the end of what the Roman rite calls the Canon of the Mass

    Is it not the case that Orthodox do not officially say that the consecration takes place exactly at the saying of the Dominical Words ?
  • Ex_OrganistEx_Organist Shipmate
    Forthview wrote: »

    Is it not the case that Orthodox do not officially say that the consecration takes place exactly at the saying of the Dominical Words ?

    The Orthodox "party line" is that we do not know when the transformation takes place. We know that it is completed by the end of the eucharistic prayer, when the congregation respond with "Amen".
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    It’s not easy to say that’s the Anglican view. It’s certainly a significant view within the Anglican communion.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited July 10
    Forthview wrote: »
    What exactly do you mean by the anaphora. ?
    The anaphora is what in Western liturgies is generally called the Eucharistic Prayer, the Canon of the Mass or the Great Thanksgiving.
    It’s the prayer that begins with the liturgical greeting and sursum corda, and ends with the doxology and “Amen.”

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