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Pawel Horosiewicz / Alamy Stock Photo
Pawel Horosiewicz / Alamy Stock Photo
World News

Catholic priests allowed to offer Holy Communion from the chalice for the first time since 2020

by Kelly Valencia

From Maundy Thursday, Catholic clergy in England and Wales will be allowed to use the chalice for services of Holy Communion again in their congregations.

Its use was stopped in March 2020 as a preventive measure against the spread of Coronavirus.

But, during an online meeting, bishops unanimously voted to resume administering Holy Communion using the shared cup this Easter as "we should be over the cusp of the seasonal viral infections at this point in the year, and so this acts as a mitigation."

The decision is not obligatory but permissive, meaning church leaders can decide on the type of communion they offer.

"No one is obliged to receive communion under both kinds apart from a celebrating priest. The Church's theology on this is clear - that the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Lord is contained in either or both species," a spokesperson from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales told Premier.

The Catholic Church teaches that both bread and wine are essential elements of the Eucharist, representing the body and blood of Christ, respectively. However, communion under both kinds is not mandatory, and many Catholic churches continue to offer only the host during Mass. The decision to offer both elements is typically left up to the discretion of the local bishop or priest.

In a letter to priests seen by The Tablet, Auxiliary Bishop John Sherrington of the Archdiocese of Westminster Maundy Service offers an opportunity for "catechesis of the faithful regarding the significance of the reception of Holy Communion under either or both species."

"Important teachings, such as the totality of the body, blood, soul, and divinity of the Lord received in either or both species, the personal disposition of those receiving Holy Communion, and the reverence offered to the Blessed Sacrament, should be included," the letter continued.

The Diocese of Nottingham is already distributing leaflets explaining the changes and the significance of taking Holy Communion from the chalice.

"The Church teaches that the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ is present in both the Sacred Host and Precious Blood, and so there is no obligation to receive Holy Communion from the Chalice. However, the Eucharist is a sign of our unity in our diversity as the body of Christ, and so the Church teaches that Holy Communion 'has a fuller sign when it takes place under both kinds, for in this form, the sign of the Eucharistic banquet is more clearly evident and clearer expression is given to the divine will by which the new and eternal Covenant is ratified in the Blood of the Lord."

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