Common Sense on the Common Cup
Church of Ireland Parishes Encouraged to Act “Without Undue Delay”
The Archbishops of the Church of Ireland, on behalf of the House of Bishops issued their latest guidance regarding returning to the use of the Common Cup at Holy Communion on St Patrick’s Day.
The guidance is very straightforward and cites Article 30 of the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion in rendering the guidance.
The Most Revd John McDowell, Archbishop of Armagh and the Most Revd Michael Jackson of Dublin said,
“Receiving the consecrated wine in the Holy Communion by means of the Common Cup (Chalice) is the norm in the teaching and tradition of the Church of Ireland and in the Anglican Communion in general. However in light of public health advice issued at various times during the Covid–19 Pandemic, the House of Bishops circulated guidance, first on the spiritual efficacy of receiving Holy Communion in One Kind, and subsequently giving permission for the use of individual cups in strictly regulated circumstances.
“Mindful of the unambiguous injunction contained in Article 30 of the Thirty–Nine Articles of Religion, we took these decisions reluctantly and with the stated intention of a return to the Anglican norm as soon as it was considered safe to do so, following independent advice, as has been our practice throughout the pandemic.
“With the general phasing out of restrictions in most social settings, the House of Bishops has sought independent expert scientific advice on the return to the use of the Common Cup in Holy Communion. The advice we have received is that such a return would be reasonable now, especially in a vaccinated population and where anyone displaying symptoms of Covid–19 is encouraged to stay away from church services.”
The House of Bishops guidance gave no end date to current Pandemic induced restrictions but did encourage parishes and individuals to act “without undue delay.”