So, when serving communion, I notice that there is a significant number of people who will eat the bread, but not drink the wine. (Note, I'm not talking intinction here - rather they eat the bread, then get up before the chalice is offered.)

Is there any theology behind this, or is it just a general "ick" factor at potentially drinking out of the same cup?

  • What tradition still drinks out of the same cup?
    – Narnian
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 20:35
  • Anglicans & Episcopalians at a minimum - basically anybody who serves communion from the rail. Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 20:35
  • Hmmm... good reasong to be Baptist...
    – Narnian
    Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 20:36
  • 1
    You may mean intinction rather than continction, by the way. Commented Jan 2, 2013 at 21:13
  • 1
    Many (most? all?) traditions allow for a shared cup--not that it's always practiced. My church uses individual cups during congregational communion, but in small group/special circumstance cases, we have used shared cups.
    – Flimzy
    Commented Jan 3, 2013 at 3:06

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure my answer applies, as I don't know whether the Episcopal Church teaches transubstantiation. But, if it does, you could refer to the Catholic Church's stance on the matter. I.E., Christ is fully present in both species, both in the appearance of bread and the appearance of wine. Hence, to receive either one is to receive Christ in fullness.

There is no Divine precept binding the laity or non-celebrating priests to receive the sacrament under both kinds (Trent, sess. XXI, c. i.) (c) By reason of the hypostatic union and of the indivisibility of His glorified humanity, Christ is really present and is received whole and entire, body and blood, soul and Divinity, under either species alone; nor, as regards the fruits of the sacrament, is the communicant under one kind deprived of any grace necessary for salvation (Trent, Sess. XXI, c., iii).

-- http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04175a.htm

I haven't read the article in full. But, from what little I've read, this actually seems to be a pretty controversial topic in Church history!


There is, as far as I know, no theological reason for not partaking of the wine. However there are a number of practical ones, more than just 'ick':

  • If you are sick and do not wish to infect others, and communion is by common cup. This can normally be avoided by intinction, but if intinction is not practiced then some people will avoid the wine.
  • If you are an alcoholic, or are sworn to total abstinence, and alcoholic wine is being served

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