Noli me tangere

247f11754cd5847ddbc149fb2acdc2beA churchy one – sorry.

Archbishops have banned sharing the chalice at communion. The RC diocese of Rome has stopped all communion services for a month.

There will be panicking in the aisles. Mass demonstrations. People will wilt away, craving the sacrament.  Those who are so intrinsically wicked that they need communion several times a week must be inordinately distressed.

This is wonderfully illustrative of the knots into which people tie themselves in order to believe six impossible things before breakfast. I banned intinction years ago. My experience was that only respectable middle class women wanted it so that their lips didn’t have to tread where others had trod before. I pointed out that their hands were filthy from scratching faces, touching hankies, bibles, hymn books, leaflets and pews, and exchanging the peace (thank God that’s gone if only temporarily), the conclusion being that their hands that used to do dishes were actually cesspits of potential infection. They didn’t like that.

The advice and discussion make a mockery of transubstantiation (if anyone really and truly still believes that mediaeval nonsense), and even consubstantiation. Maybe the diocese of Rome has it right – the priest’s hands will be filthy enough, despite alcohol washes, that even the bread/wafer/Host is itself a danger to health – whatever that is.

When the current crisis is over it’ll be fun to see how the justification for banning the common cup is quietly forgotten as former practice is resumed – despite the fact that microorganisms live in us and on us by the billion, and that though they help to keep us in good working order, they can cause real problems if they get into places where they shouldn’t be?

This is the best entertainment the church has provided for a while. Laugh out loud stuff. Confusing an issue with facts is always problematic.

4 thoughts on “Noli me tangere

  1. INDEED IT DOES. I’ll look out Everett’s book. Kindle I hope. Eyesight means books are difficult now. The trouble with some churches is that being friends with Jesus trumps practical action.

  2. A few years ago, I found myself, a (relatively) polite CofE person, in an RC church at lunchtime in Lent (I was younger and keen). Being a (relatively) polite CofE person, I had no intention of breaking ‘their’ rules and would stay quietly seated rather than joining the queue. However, when Father Whoever-it-was reached the pre-magic moment, he went to the cupboard and found it was bare! No wafers or wine. Rather than toddling off for some kit (he didn’t have the key … draw your own thought bubbles) he said that we’d have to make our communion ‘in Spirit’. I don’t know what everyone else thought – there was no tutting or walking out – but I thought ‘Yippee!’ (but quietly being a (relatively) polite CofE person). ‘ Yippee, because I can join in this with no barriers imposed by The Stuff and their rules’. Surely a case of Less definitely being More.

    • Wonderful. In the mind of any even mildly rational and logical thinker all this calls into question sacramental theology. I’m interested to hear that there is such a thing as a “(relatively) polite CofE person”. Are you still such a creature?

      • It’s OK. In the way of shipping forecasts: ‘becoming less so’. …. Floods three Sundays ago brought out the very best in our non-churchgoing neighbours offering drinks, meals, manpower, beds, sympathy etc…. whilst our churchgoing neighbours went to Morning Prayer…. and none visited – …. From Alan Everett’s recent book ‘After the fire’ (about the relationship between the parish church and Grenfell Tower): “…the Church of England … needs to think very carefully about … how committed it is to remaining the Church ‘of England’, or whether it is content to drift toward being the Anglican Church ‘in England’. Yup.

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