25 October 2010

Chalice or Not - Part 2 - Intinction


This letter is a follow-on discussion to an earlier letter on whether or not it is absolutely essential that any other than the celebrating priest receives the chalice in order to obtain all the grace of the Sacrament. See the original letter here.   I was asked to address the issue of intinction and have also added Communion from the Reserved Sacrament.

In the earlier letter it was concluded based on theology, doctrine, and tradition that giving communion in both species is perfectly acceptable if done for the right reasons, but at the same time the faithful are not deprived of the spiritual grace of the Sacrament if they receive only in one kind.

One additional point to raise is Communion from the Reserved Sacrament. Only hosts are reserved, not wine. If wine absolutely must be received in order to receive the benefits of the Sacrament, then the practice stemming from antiquity of reserving the Sacrament for distribution outside mass would be deficient. Yet, Communion from the Reserved Sacrament is not deficient and has continually been supported by the Church. We even trust it to nourish the sick and dying.

Lastly, there is intinction. Intinction does have its fairly obvious practical benefits. In addition to the practical benefits, intinction has some nice symbolism. The Body and Blood are one, as discussed in the previous letter as one of the reasons why communion in one species is just as beneficial as communion in both. For this same very reason, though, communion by intinction is nice, as it can be thought of as symbolizing the joint nature of the Body and Blood. The Orthodox, for example, typically give the Sacrament on a spoon in the form of wine-soaked bread, i.e., the Body and Blood mixed together. It is for the practical benefits, as well as for the symbolic benefits that I prefer intinction.

I will reiterate the points that, based on theology, doctrine, and tradition, offering the chalice to the faithful is quite acceptable, as is intinction, as is offering only one species, provided the choice is made under valid intent. Ultimately everything we do in the Church must be governed and measured by validity of intent under Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the teaching authority of the Church.