To Drink or Not to Drink. (You May Be Right)

U.S. Catholic, July 2002 | Go to article overview

To Drink or Not to Drink. (You May Be Right)


May's The Examined Life ("Communion waiver") by Robert McClory is absolutely wrong regarding health risks in sharing a communal cup. Period. I have practiced medicine for 14 years, all of which have been with the attempt to prevent the spread of infectious disease.

The fact of the matter is, sharing common cups and utensils and not washing hands are the fastest way to spread infection in a community. That fact is not new, yet many prefer to ignore it.

I am not telling people to decline a communal cup. That is a personal decision. I am saying that the significant risk of spreading infection by sharing a cup of wine at Mass is no different from sharing one at a public restaurant and is not lessened by the fact that the rim of the cup was "wiped" with a cloth.

Until we use individual containers for the "Blood of Christ," as some other churches do, I will choose to decline the common cup.

Thomas E. Kingsley, M.D.
Greensboro, N.C.

I feel compelled to reply to McClory's article. He is choosing to ignore a segment of Catholics who would love to partake from the cup but cannot. I am referring to those of us who abused alcohol in our past and must now be abstinent for the rest of our lives.

To illustrate my point, two weeks ago at Sunday Mass my wife and I were asked to bring the gifts to the altar. Not thinking, I picked up the large cruet of wine. While waiting to walk to the altar, the aroma rose to my sense of smell, and my alcoholic mind started to tell me how great that "jug" would taste.

My Alcoholics Anonymous training told me I had better do something very quick. …

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