Sunday, December 06, 2009

More on swine flu - "Intinction"

Studies have suggested that in the context of pandemic flu the practice of intinction [dipping the bread in the wine] may involve a greater risk than the common cup. It runs the risk that droplets, the means of transmission of Swine ’Flu, on the ends of fingers could come into contact with the wine. Likewise, any practice where a common cup containing bread or wafers is passed between communicants runs the same risk. This practice should not be followed.

The Legal Advisory Commission has advised that ‘The practice of intinction may be regarded as lawful where a communicant or the congregation as a whole is fearful of contracting or communicating a contagious disease through drinking from the cup.’ (Legal Opinions Concerning the Church of England [8th edition: 2007], pp. 345-348). However, if the consecrated wine is administered to communicants they cannot be required to receive it by intinction.

The use of individual communion cups is not lawful in the Church of England and would, in any event, also involve hygiene risks in the context of pandemic flu.