Consuming consecrated wine

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: In my retirement home, I was at the same table with other priests and the question came up about consuming the consecrated wine by the presider and the concelebrants.  Each day we have a presider and the rest of us (mostly 80 year olds) wear stoles in our places. We use intinction for both the presider and the concelebrants.  I assume we got permission from the Bishop some years ago.  It became clear that the alcoholic does not use intinction either as presider or concelebrant. The other fellow does use intinction when he presides but not as concelebrant. I shared my opinion about using mustum. He says mustum is hard to get.

My questions:

Is the Mass valid if the presider, for serious health reasons, does not consume the precious blood in any valid matter?

Are the concelebrants’ Masses valid if the presiders Mass is invalid?

Is the Mass valid if the concelebrant, for a good reason, does not consume the precious blood in any form?

I have the answers from years ago, but I am not up to date on this matter.  There are thousands of recovering alcoholic priests.  What do they do?

Thanks so much.


A: I have learned the hard way not to answer questions about validity. They pertain to the field of canon law, not liturgy, and I quickly get into trouble. So I’d suggest you contact a canonist. These are very important questions.

Nonetheless, speaking from the liturgical perspective, I can share how I understand liturgical law. I treated some of this in the last chapter of my book Ars Celebrandi, which deals with concelebration.

Redemptionis sacramentum 98 requires all concelebrants to receive communion under both forms.

The principal celebrant is to drink from the chalice, not to intinct a host. This is my reading from the GIRM. He first consumes the host and then takes up the chalice (158). At a concelebrated Mass he still receives communion “in the usual way” (248), and that paragraph cites GIRM 158.

I strongly recommend that the community use mustum, providing a separate chalice for it if necessary. It should be readily available through Catholic supply stores.