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Bishops Say Fear Of AIDS Deterring Holy Communion With AM-Episcopal Convention

September 13, 1985 GMT

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ An Episcopal bishop has drafted a pastoral letter that urges ″understanding for the cautious person″ who fears catching AIDS by drinking communion wine from a common cup.

″The church is aware, on the one hand, that AIDS is not transmitted through the common cup, and, on the other, that many people are uneasy about saliva and the common cup,″ the Rt. Rev. William E. Swing of San Francisco says in his letter, to be released next week.

Although acquired immune deficiency syndrome virus has been found in saliva, ″in no situation has a case of AIDS been traced to saliva,″ he said.


Neverthelessk, Swing urged ″understanding for the cautious person who now only receives bread″ at Holy Communion rather than also taking a sip from the common cup of wine.

The concern arose in conversations among bishops at the church’s governing convention.

The church considers such single-element communion fully valid, and that communion also may be taken by ″intinction,″ or dipping the wafer in the wine, he said.

As for himself, Swing said that when he celebrates communion in the Lord’s Supper, he intends to drink from the cup after everyone has drunk from it, in order to underscore his confidence that the disease is not transmitted through the cup.

″The trouble is that you cannot deal rationally and factually with people on this matter because they are just depserately afraid,″ said Bishop Oliver Garver of Los Angeles.

″There is something out there that is killing people,and people are scared - for themselves, for their children,″ he said.