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Friday, May 1, 2009


Swine Scare Making Churches Rethink Mass Rituals

May 1, 2009 5:25 pm US/Eastern

Swine Scare Making Churches Rethink Mass Rituals

Conn. Diocese Recommends Against Touching Hands During Sign Of Peace, Taking Communion On Tongue

Archbishop Dolan: N.Y. Not Going To That Extreme ... Yet

John Slattery




Concern over swine flu spreading is touching even the way church services are conducted.

Sanitizing hands during mass, eliminating the less sanitary way to receive the Holy Eucharist and respect for a more distant sign of peace are all under discussion because of recent flu scare.

"Anything we can do, practically, to keep this from spreading, we want to do," Archbishop Timothy Dolan told CBS 2 HD.

Dolan is not issuing a list of don'ts. But in the diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., there are strong recommendations for those who attend mass. Don't touch hands during the sign of peace. Receive communion in the hands, not on the tongue. And pastors can decide whether to suspend the sharing of wine from a common chalice.

But in the New York Archdiocese, and in Newark, the cautions are less severe. There's no recommendation against shaking hands.

"If some people don't want to shake hands during mass, we ask people to be sensitive to that, to respect other people's feelings," said Bishop Edgar da Cunha of the Archdiocese of Newark.

Archbishop Dolan urges the same respect if people are standoffish, and said precautions should be taken by those who are serving the faithful.

"Let's make sure our Eucharistic ministers are careful about sanitizing hands. Let's maybe not take communion from the cup," Dolan said.

And if the flu were to become an epidemic, masses could even be suspended altogether.

"I don't think that's likely, but could there be? Yes. I now the bishops in Mexico City did that," Dolan said.

Most bishops are in full agreement over this: If you've been recently ill, or don't feel well, skip mass altogether. God will understand.

Areas closer to Mexico, in the Archdiocese of San Antonio and in Dallas, churches are being advised to use only bread, not wine, for Holy Communion.

WOW how informative! Thanks. Are there any other religions that practice unhygenic rituals other than the Catholics?
I wonder if the charismatic churches I've gone to in the past will stop all the hugging. ;-)

Actually, if the flu is really from swine then the only people left (besides the vegetarians) will be the Jews and the Muslims! Then they'll kill each other, the world will end and we'll all be in a much better place anyway.   

By the way, the local elementary school just shut down. This place is up the road from me.

I never use the stuff, but I just bought some hand sanitizer. Think about all the people who use shopping carts at the supermarket and all the babies in poopy diapers that sit in them.

Excuse me, I need to blow my nose.

Maybe they should just adopt the more sanitary practices, anyway. This isn't the 4th century, there are plenty of cups available.
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