Communion by intinction

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Please clarify why communion by intinction is not encouraged.

I’m told it’s to do with self-service. 

If the deacon, as the Minister of the Chalice, tilts it and allows the communicant to dip the sacred host, is this, at least in Covid-19 times, not a variation of ‘giving’ Holy Communion…as in “he took. Blessed, broke and gave…”

Expressed differently, given streamed Masses have been encouraged, which are far from a celebration of the Eucharist, is it not reasonable that, for safety reasons, intinction be allowed, especially in view of GIRM 281?



A: First, let me distinguish between intinction and self-communicating. See GIRM 245 and 287. 

Intinction happens when the priest intincts a host into a chalice held by a deacon or another minister and places the host onto the tongue of the communicant. 

For a communicant to take their own host and dip it into the chalice is “self-communicating.” This was made explicit in the United States, where the norms for distributing holy communion include this at #50: “The communicant, including the extraordinary minister, is never allowed to self-communicate, even by means of intinction. Communion under either form, bread or wine, must always be given by an ordinary or extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.”

I realize that Australia does not have the same norm, but the principle is still good. Communion is received, not taken.

Regarding covid protocols, I am not a specialist in medical concerns, so I don’t know if having people dip their own host into a chalice decreases or increases the danger of contagion.