Discover more from New High Church Letters
Best health practices for Holy Communion are traditional practices.
Interesting note on Communion practice. In the wake of COVID-19, The Church of England has discouraged or outright banned intinction (in the case of Diocese of London: no one is to intinct), since it is actually more 'risky' than a common cup. 'Traditional' practice seems best practice and continued use of the common cup is upheld. Strangely, the Catholic Church in Singapore has halted the mass and encouraged the faithful to stream it from home.
As to the Anglican Church:
https://www.leeds.anglican.org/news/coronavirus-advice-issued-parishes-church-england (Intinction discouraged; do not shake hands at the Peace)
https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-parishes (Intinction discouraged, even by celebrants)
Anglican Church of Japan: "The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (Anglican Church in Japan) has now mandated that the priest will intinct the host and then the communicant will receive on the tongue."
On (4), this is the practice found in The Liturgy of St James and remains a very good practice in Anglican cases where there isn't a deacon available for the cup.
If only the mid-liturgy Peace would be banned too...
Source, again with the caveat that intinction as practiced in the study is the priest doing the intinction, never the communicant, and the host never contacts the communicant's hands (paten to chalice to mouth). In fact, the communicant was never supposed to self-intinct when the practice started.
Update 2: A follow-up 1988 study:
Interest and concern that the shared communion cup may act as a vehicle for indirectly transmitting infectious disease was reawakened when the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was detected in the saliva of infected persons. Bacteriological experiments have shown that the occasional transmission of micro-organisms is unaffected by the alcoholic content of the wine, the constituent material of the cup or the practice of partially rotating it, but is appreciably reduced when a cloth is used to wipe the lip of the cup between communicants. Nevertheless, transmission does not necessarily imply inoculation or infection. Consideration of the epidemiology of micro-organisms that may be transmitted via saliva, particularly the herpes group of viruses, suggests that indirect transmission of infection is rare and in most instances a much greater opportunity exists for direct transmission by other means. There is substantial evidence that neither infection with hepatitis B virus nor HIV can be transmitted directly via saliva so that indirect transmission via inanimate objects is even less likely. No episode of disease attributable to the shared communion cup has ever been reported. Currently available data do not provide any support for suggesting that the practice of sharing a common communion cup should be abandoned because it might spread infection.
There has never been a documented case of illness caused by sharing a chalice reported in the literature. (2013)