flying-disk-gun-hq9645-300x300I have blogged previously on the impact of swine flu on liturgy and the usefulness of the illustrated wafer-firing apparatus. Since then, however, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, amongst many others have added suggestions. In their case it was to suggest suspending administering the chalice to the congregation, or, if seeking to offer communion in both kinds, to follow a practice they say is common in Africa that “the presiding minister… personally intincts all wafers before placing them in the hands of communicants.”

In discussions, I have heard of communities “pre-intincting” – they dip the wafer in the wine prior to celebrating the Eucharist and so consecrate wine-dipped wafers (in this situation I am not sure if a chalice of wine is also being consecrated). But now I have been pointed to a blog where the Church of England curate, the Rev. James Ogley, (he prefers to call himself an “elder”) writes about how his parish of Bursledon, in the Diocese of Winchester followed the advice of the Archbishops but “did not even have a chalice on the table” whatsoever.

The Church of England makes reference to the Sacrament Act of 1547 which has that the “moste blessed sacrament be hereafter commenlie delivered and ministred unto the people, within this Churche of Englande and Irelande and other the Kings Dominions, under bothe the Kyndes, that is to saie of breade and wyne, excepte necessitie otherwise require“. In other words, receiving under one kind is permitted in exceptional circumstances. This is also envisaged in Common Worship’s Celebration of Holy Communion at Home or in Hospital with the Sick and Housebound: “Communion should normally be received in both kinds separately, but where necessary may be received in one kind, whether of bread or, where the communicant cannot receive solid food, wine.”

In all of 2,000 years of Christian history I cannot recall, even during lengthy periods of the norm of receiving in one kind only, or of many people present not receiving at all, of only consecrating one kind. I would be interested in knowing any historical precedence for this, or if this is happening elsewhere, or of Church of England canons relating to this apparently revisionist celebrating of the Eucharist. (And puhhleez can we do better than “it doesn’t matter because Church of England orders are invalid anyway…”)

Bishop Alan Wilson (CofE) has said it well

The genius of Anglicanism, its missional crown jewels within the whole Kingdom of God, has been its ability to run essentially (but not exclusively) primitive Evangelical software on essentially (but not exclusively) primitive Catholic hardware.

Within Catholicism one could hardly find a more sensitive issue than to fool about with the Holy Eucharist and its celebration.

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