Celebrant and intinction

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: You may have dealt with this already. If so, I apologize. I think it is clear that all priest concelebrants at the eucharist must at least intinct to receive holy communion. Is there anything in liturgical law which states that the primary priest celebrant must drink directly from the chalice and not only intinct?

Many thanks as always,


A: I answered the question here, https://paulturner.org/concelebrants-and-intinction/ , but I didn’t give the citation.

GIRM 248 says that when concelebrants receive communion by intinction, the principal celebrant receives communion under both kinds in the usual way, and it cites GIRM 158, where he takes up the chalice after having consumed the host.

The GIRM never makes provision for the principal celebrant to receive communion by intinction. I read this to mean that at least he is to follow the command of Jesus most literally: Take and eat, take and drink.

Q: Thank you so much for your blog, not only for the expert advice but also for the kindness with which you treat all who send you questions and the thoughtfulness with which you consider those to whom they minister.

I would like to direct your attention to a point you made in your October 16 comment on intinction, where you wrote, “I read this to mean that at least [the celebrant] is to follow the command of Jesus most literally: Take and eat, take and drink.”  It is worth remembering that the verb lambanein, which is often translated as “take,” is frequently more felicitously translated as “receive.”  The verb’s semantic range is much more expansive than English “take.”  Examples of direct objects of the verb in the New Testament include mercy, eternal life, punishment, and circumcision, all of which would be quite odd to English speakers is they were made direct objects of “take.”  The aorist participle labon often is simply the equivalent of the English preposition “with.”  The same can be said of the verb accipere as found in the Eucharistic prayers.  One of the verb’s most frequent direct objects in Latin texts is vulnus; we would never translate “take a wound.”  Both verbs are fairly colorless in their respective language and, I politely suggest, can’t really support the point that you made.  In the context of the Last Supper, “take” is probably the better translation, but we shouldn’t necessarily read into it that a physical action is being highlighted or entirely remove the idea of passive acceptance or reception.

Thank you again so much for all you do.

Warm regards,


A: Thank you very much for this thoughtful response, the insights it provides, and your comments on my blog.

Your point is very helpful when thinking about the disposition of those receiving communion—even the priest. It is always something we receive, rather than something we take.

I was trying to make a point about the sequence and independence of the repeated verb. Intinction results in consuming the Body and Blood of Christ in one action. But Jesus’ instructions—and the narrative that surrounds them—command something sequential. The celebrant who dips the host into the chalice is not following the separation of elements in evidence at the Last Supper and in early Christian practice. I think that this may be why the rubrics say he should not intinct.

Would you agree with that point?


I do agree on that point.