Communion - do churches still serve wine and waffers?

This is a silly thread, I know, but my SO wants me to ask, because he says that I don’t know what I’m talking about since I was never a church goer, and he was when he was young.

He insists that only the priest drinks the wine at communion, although the congregation can eat the waffer or bread. I told him that this was likely an adaptation of individual churches, possibly as a cost-saving issue, or because of the issue of serving wine to children, or whatever other arrangements. I insist that some churches still serve both to the congregation, mainly because I know I have read about posters on this board partaking in communion.

So who is right, here? Do some churches serve wine (watered down in some cases) to the entire congregation as well as the communion waffer, or is it as he says, and in all cases only the priest takes a sip from the cup, which he thinks actually contains only water?

Please settle this debate, as I will not let this go with him until other people chime in and tell me I’m right! :smiley:

First of all, Denomination?

Second of all, they do Indeed in the Catholic Church and at every one I’ve ever been to.

Everyone who has had first communion has un-diluted Merlot, from the age of 8 on up.

Addendum: Everyone also receives wafers, and AFTER the wine. At several Protestant churches I’ve been to, only grape juice was served, though one or two Presbyterian churches had real wine.

Sounds like your SO is a Catholic who hasn’t been to Mass in a very long while. I think there was a time when only the Priest got to drink the wine (not sure about the wafer)

Now Catholic Communicants all get a wafer. Can drink a sip of wine if they like, but that is optional. (at least that is the way I recall it, having visited Catholic Churches occasionally.)

Episcopalians (like I am) get wine and a wafer—no option to refuse the wine.

Other sects do different things I suppose. I was a Methodist for a while and all I got was some bad grape juice and a wafer------and that only every few months. Methodists did not seem to consider the Eurcharist very seriously--------something to do occasionally when they got around to it.

Every Episcopal church I have been too has the communion with wine and wafers.

From a Latin-rite (the most common version) Catholic perspective

Until the 1970s, members of the congregation only partook of the bread. Back in the middle ages, the Hussites professed that only by partaking of both species (bread and wine) did one receive the full body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ. This was contrary to Church teaching, so to extinguish this line of thought, they insisted on distributing communion only under the single species. People holding the other view were pretty much screwed, and their line of thought fell to the wayside.

The priest continued to consecrate and drink the wine, which, by the way, must be real wine.

Communion under both species was re-instituted about 30 years ago.

Not positive about this, but I believe that eastern-rite Catholics continued to receive wine. I also believe most of those churches serve communion by intinction - dipping the bread into the wine before giving it to the congregant, so there’s no drinking directly from the chalice.

Orthodox churches are probably similar to the eastern-rite Catholics in these practices.

Anglicans and any other denominations that maintain a priesthood and a somewhat “Catholic” understanding of the Eucharist, I’m not sure about.

Most “American” protestant churches - everyone’s a priest, so everyone can drink the wine - even if it’s just grape juice. Actually, the fact that there’s no ministerial priesthood is beside the point - there is no consecration, and therefore the bread and wine is considered just that - bread and wine, not body and blood.

mnemosyne, you are the one who’s right.

In regard to the Roman Catholic Church:
(a) Sacramental wine, right before consecration does have water added to it. It has to be actual fermented grape wine, though priests with an alcoholism problem are allowed to use a special de-alcoholized wine – but it’s not grape juice. That’s for the Baptists.
(b) You may take communion under both “forms”, if you wish; however for a long time the mass of congregants would get the bread form alone (see c below). Until the mid-1960s your friend would have been right insofar as that had been the usual way of doing things for a few centuries.
© To this day, the wafer-alone form is still what you are pretty much guaranteed to have enough of for the whole congregation, or to have available on-the-spot on short notice or for very large crowds – that’s just due to logistics of storage and transportation and a certain reserve about drinking from a common container.
(d) There are various situationally-based ways of taking Catholic communion in both forms: the most common is to take the wafer first and wash it down with the wine, the next is to dip the wafer into the wine.

In an Episcopal church participants kneel at the altar and are given a wafer and then a sip of (very good) wine. Everyone drinks from the same cup, which is wiped after each “serving” (there is the option to have the priest just dip the wafer into the wine for those fastidious ones)

They have to be fairly careful to bless and measure out just enough wine. Because the priest has to drink whatever is left-------and sometimes that can be a LOT-----especially if there are a lot who choose to be “dippers”. -----

— Occasionally you will see a priest slur his words slightly and stagger some after a communion service.

In the LDS church, it’s broken bread (a few weeks ago, we actually got whole wheat!) and water.

I went to a Greek Catholic (which, basically, was Ukrainian Catholic to me - it was done in English and Ukrainian. Nothing about it seemed Greek) church. We had chunks of bread soaked in the wine, and the priest would have this spoon that he’d pick one up in and kind of drop it in your mouth. Now that I think about it, it wasn’t very sanitary…:o

The Orthodox Church has always given Communion in both Species. However, we use leavened bread.

Evangelical Lutheran here. We have no moral issues with alcohol but use grape juice so children and those who won’t/shouldn’t take any alcohol can commune. Wafer is handed out by the pastor or assisting minister and is dipped in a cup of “wine” held by a communion assistant. That practice isn’t universal but we keep it simple for our relatively small congregation. My parent’s church, same denomination, offers a choice of grape juice or wine.

I’d add that even at a Catholic Mass where the usual practice is distributing the Host under only the species of bread, people may always request wine - this is often done, for example, with people who have celiac disease, or any of a number of severe allergies to gluten, a protein in bread. Taking Communion under the species of wine alone is perfectly sufficient, and avoids any medical problems that might arise from gluten.

Other demoninations will avoid the gluten problem by offering things like rice bread. This is not permitted in Catholic circles.

  • Rick

I’m also ELCA (medium-sized congregation), and we offer both white grape juice and wine. We do the dipping (called ‘intinction’) some weeks, and other weeks kneel at the altar rail and get the wafer and our own little cup with about a half-ounce of wine or juice.
To add to the confusion, some other weeks, we get real bread.

During my religious education, my priest explained that only one species of Communion need be taken. The reasoning was, as he put it, that you can’t eat the flesh without getting some blood too. Crude but effective logic. In my current parish, the Eucharistic ministers partake of both species along with the priests. In our “high mass” at 10 on Sundays, the Blood of Christ is available if anyone wishes to partake- typically about one person in 20 chooses to do so.

You make it sound like a buffet. :slight_smile:

We are Catholic, in the sense that thats what our parents are, though neither family is particulalry religious. We were both baptised, but thats about it. I think he almost was confirmed, but didn’t bother because he was more interested in hockey and his competitive swimming and road biking. We are both 22 years old.

Thanks for all the answers, everyone! It seemed odd to me that “no one” in the congregation ever drank the wine, based on what little knowledge I have of the Last Supper and the meaning behind all of it. It seemed quite odd, and I figured it must have been a variation based on individual churches, since, as someone pointed out, there was a certain amount of trouble in calculating how much wine would be needed from week to week (or whatever interval the church performed this). Having never really attended church, and choosing not to partake in the rare times I was there, I couldn’t really say “Yes, I have done this”. Though now that I think about it, I do remember my sister coming back to her seat spluttering and grimacing at the “awful” taste of wine she’d had…she was probably about 5 or so!

Anyways, thanks again! You’ve settled one more of our debates! And yes, somehow this point of discussion came up while we were enjoying a nice little bottle of Gamay Noir… :slight_smile:

Good point! I think we did drink wine for first communion. IIRC, Latin-rite first communion is typically done in first grade (age 6 or 7), when the child is at an age where they can have some understanding of what is going on, and what the sacrament means.

I believe most of the eastern churches (both Catholic and Orthodox) give first communion at a very young age, simultaneously with baptism and confirmation.

I meant, we drank wine for first communion prior to the change in rules that allowed communion under both species in regular masses.

… and it’s called “the sacrament” instead of communion. As a kid I was quite surprised when we moved from Utah to Nevada and my new Catholic friends had no idea what I was talking about when I mentioned “taking the sacrament.”