Hygiene protocols for administering the sacraments
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 9,181
    The helpful Dominicans at the Thomistic Institute have produced a guide of safety procedures for the administration of the sacraments, with the consultation of a panel of experts, who are listed in the document. They offer a range of phased options that may be applied in situations of strictest or less strict limits on attendance and on physical distancing.

    For example, in the case of strict limits, they offer protocols for three possibilities:
    (1) Mass without distribution of Holy Communion;
    (2) Mass followed by distribution of Holy Communion, with special precautions;
    (3) Mass with the distribution of Holy Communion during Mass.

    Case (1) needs no explanation, for the purposes of this thread.

    Case (2) is conducted according to the Rite for Holy Communion Outside of Mass. It suggests for the priest to use a mask, but requires that the communicant remove any mask before receiving. It excludes the use of gloves by either the priest or the communicants. It also requires the priest to use hand sanitizer before the distribution of Holy Communion, and also between communicants, if he detects any contact with the hand or mouth of the communicant; or, if desired, after each communicant receiving on the tongue.

    The document acknowledges that there are differing opinions about the relative risks involved in distributing Communion to the hand or the mouth, but considers that with these precautions, either is possible without undue risk.

    Case (3), with distribution during Mass, is closer to normal liturgical practice: it excludes masks and gloves, which would be a liturgical "counter-sign" during the Mass. It also requires the priest to use hand sanitizer before the distribution of Holy Communion. Holy Communion is received in the normal way. After returning the remaining hosts to the tabernacle, the priest performs hand hygiene using sanitizer.

    The details of these procedures are described starting at page 8 of this document.