A Query for the Better Informed

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Does anyone have any idea of what a liturgical drinking straw is? I saw two such objects--One of Pope Pius XII and one of a previous pope Leo XIII, perhaps. Samuel was so taken by them that I totally missed the really fantastic object in that case--a plain glass goblet that was used for celebrating Mass in Auschwitz--more about the whole exhibit, I know I've been obscure, when I've gotten a few other things out of the way.

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i am not an expert but i belive in the eastern catholic rites and sometimes in latin rites Mass[when there is a large number of people] in order not to spill the consecrated wine as the people drink it they use a straw from a large bowl for the purpose. like i said i think it was mainly for large masses that used 2 kinds of ommunion

There was also a paten that went with the glass goblet. If I recall correctly, the patin was made from the bottom of a canister. Both were later presented to the Pope who had the base of the goblet gilded (not sure why, to me that takes away from the meaning of the object and it's simplicity) and used by that pope during mass.

Wondering about the whole liturgical drinking straw myself. One of my companions for my visit to the exhibit made the comment, "Can you imagine the backwash?"

I did find this info which may provide some clarification:

"The last centuries of the 1st millennium saw a dramatic shift away from the assembly’s participation in the Mass and in reception of the Eucharistic bread and cup. As the Eucharistic elements became more revered, the assembly was seen as less worthy to take and eat and to take and drink. The assembly no longer brought the offerings of bread and wine from their homes, and when they did receive the Eucharist they found the clergy mistrusted their competence to receive it as responsible adults or deemed their baptism insufficient to allow the laity to “take” the bread or the cup. The priest placed the eucharistic bread, which had become a “host,” on their tongues while offering the wine through a straw."

Apparantly, though not used often, the straw thing is still sometimes used.

"There are three permissible methods of receiving the blood of Christ in the Roman Catholic Church. The church's preferred method is that the individual drink from the cup. The words of Jesus instruct us to "take and drink."

The second method is intinction, that is, having the consecrated bread dipped in the wine before receiving. Should someone prefer to receive by intinction, that person should receive the communion bread in their hands, go to the minister of the cup, and hand the bread to the minister. The minister then dips the bread into the wine (no more than halfway), holds it over the cup and says, " The body and blood of Christ." After the person has responded, "Amen," the minister places the eucharist on the person's tongue. Both the minister and the communicant should be particularly careful when this procedure is followed. Wine can easily be spilled, and the consecrated bread may fall apart.

The third method is very rarely used. One end of a small silver straw or pipe is dipped into the blood of Christ. The minister then covers the other end of the straw with a finger, moves the straw to the communicant's mouth and releases the wine by removing the finger. The straw is then placed in a dish of water. A clean straw is used for each communicant. This way, although strange to us, is a very useful option for giving communion to a person who is unable to eat or drink."

Among many other things, the Vatican exhibit has certainly raised some long-dormant curiousity about my church and its history.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 19, 2003 12:40 PM.

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