“Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me”

Bishop Morlino of the Catholic Diocese of Madison, has instructed his clergy to limit the sharing of wine at communion with the laity. Here’s the article.

His decision comes after the Archbishop of Phoenix announced a similar change. Stories about that are here, with a riposte from Anthony Ruff here.

I’m hesitant to comment about development in other denominations because of “the mote in my own eye.” But as a pastor, and as a historian of the period in Christian history when the debate over reception of communion in both kinds burned hot, I find this sad. I won’t debate the legal merits of the decision or even the theological basis (of course Jesus Christ is fully present in both bread and wine). What bothers me is the implicit sacerdotalism and clericalism. To worry about spillage of wine or that some might receive it irreverently seems code language implying that only priests can approach the sacrament. The sharing of the chalice by lay people with lay people is an important symbol of the fact that we are all the Body of Christ and that we all are equally worthy (or unworthy) to approach the holy.

And then there are Jesus’ words:

In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (I Corinthians 11:25-26)

All baptized Christians are welcome to receive communion in both kinds at Eucharists at Grace and other Episcopal Churches and we encourage lay people to become chalice bearers.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.