Questions raised over communion wine hygiene

Shared drinking queried

Former Warrnambool mayor Frank McCarthy, a devout Catholic, is calling for the time-honoured tradition of drinking from a shared goblet during services to be scrapped, reports The Standard.

Mr McCarthy said wholesale consumption of wine from the same chalice would not be allowed in any pub or restaurant and queried why churches were given an exemption.  The former businessman said the risk of spreading disease was heightened with a shared cup. He has raised his concerns with church officials in Warrnambool in Victoria.

National Council of Priests of Australia chairman Eugene McKinnon said it was not compulsory for Catholic parishioners to drink consecrated wine. “There’s sufficient alcohol in the wine, along with the metal chalice, to make the possibility of the transference of disease almost negligible,” Father McKinnon, formerly of Warrnambool, said.

Mr McCarthy suggested the addition of wine during the preparation of sacramental wafers could be an option.  He said it would make symbolic sense to combine the “body and blood of Christ”.

“It’s about time the Catholic Church worked this one out, because the process at the moment is pretty flawed.”

The Ballarat Catholic diocese was contacted for comment but Bishop Paul Bird and vicar-general Justin Driscoll were unavailable.

FULL STORY Questions raised over communion wine hygiene

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