Intinction at communion is "the practice of dipping the bread in the cup and partaking the elements simultaneously".

The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) at their 2012 General Assembly narrowly voted in favor of an amended version of Overture 30, which would prohibit celebrating communion by intinction. (But this will not actually happen unless 2/3 of the presbyteries, and the next GA, also approve it.) Many lengthy arguments were deployed on both sides.

One of the minor arguments on the pro-intinction side is that the practice is common among Catholics and the Orthodox, and it would be a welcoming gesture if this mode of celebration was explicitly authorized. There are also other Protestant denominations, including Presbyterians, that allow it among other options. I believe that this is indeed the standard way of administering communion in the Eastern Orthodox churches, but I'm not so sure about the Catholics (specifically, Catholics in the USA). The General Instruction of the Roman Missal allows it, but the language seems like it's being authorized only as an alternative method.

How common is intinction in Catholic churches in the USA? Is it seen as a relatively normal thing to do, or is it controversial?

2 Answers 2


All Catholic churches I have attended have you line up to the front, you are given a communion (either placed in your hand or in your mouth), and on the way back to your seat is a wine bearer, who will offer you a sip from the cup. Unless you place the host in your mouth and then partake from the wine cup, it would not be possible to do this.

In other churches, as you have said, this can be common, but at a standard Catholic church it's not frowned upon as much as not possible following the standard setup.

  • My experience also -- I have never seen intinction in the Roman liturgy. It's practiced routinely in Catholic churches that use non-Roman liturgies (e.g., Melkite, Ruthenian, Anglican Use) but I've never seen it in the typical Catholic context.
    – Ben Dunlap
    Jun 29, 2012 at 22:53
  • It's interresting how these customs could be different throughout the world in the same Church. In Czech Republic, intinction is the norm if the communicant receive both species, except for priests and masses for small groups. I have never seen a wine bearer who would offer people the cup to sip, but it's common that there is a wine beared who holds the cup while the priest dips the host in the wine (I have served as one few times, including today).
    – Pavel
    Dec 9, 2012 at 22:58
  • At my Catholic parish in Charlotte, the only time they do intinction is on special holy days like Easter. Jul 7, 2018 at 17:30

This gives you the Catholic use of and understanding of intinction. Intinction is not permitted by the laity receiving Eucharist, but is done by the priest according to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.

  1. If Communion from the chalice is carried out by intinction, each communicant, holding a Communion-plate under the mouth, approaches the Priest who holds a vessel with the sacred particles, with a minister standing at his side and holding the chalice. The Priest takes a host, intincts it partly in the chalice and, showing it, says, The Body and Blood of Christ. The communicant replies, Amen, receives the Sacrament in the mouth from the Priest, and then withdraws.

See also the following link discussing this issue for Catholics - http://www.ewtn.com/vexperts/showmessage.asp?number=563899

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