27 July 2009

Swine flu

I have implemented: Communion in the hand; Communion in one kind; discontinuance of the use of the Holy Water stoups; and during the Sanctus at Sunday Mass I surreptitiously rub the thumb and forefinger of my right hand with an alcoholic gel.

Is there ... keep your funnies to yourselves, this is a serious question ... anything else I could do (I should add that S Thomas's is in any case a Pax-free zone except among the Sacred Ministers)? Am I right in assuming that germs on hymn books and Sunday Mass Books will have died by next Sunday? Are the booklets I provide for my EF congregations inherently immune from contagia impiae novitatis?

Interestingly. the liberal-evangelical 'bishop of Oxford' recommends, without any hesitation, Communion in One Kind, while the Apostolic Administrator cautiously suggests that the chalice should be available 'at another station'. But who is going to consume the remains, if we do that, and take the ablutions? I am too old to die young.

Incidentally, my Associate PP discovered a zucchetto under his dalmatic as he was vesting for Mass on the Sunday before last. Is this a miracle? Is it a supernatural intimation that the Lord is summoning him to episcopal ministry?


Rubricarius said...

Would it be safer to store the hymn books and use printed sheets asking the congregation to take them away?

It would increase your copying costs but if the virus could be passed from touching the nose, lips etc to the paper, and the same paper used by people in the next service... However, I claim no competence in matters of virology.

Fr. Steve said...

If you use wine, wine is an alcohol. Intinction might be best, and if you have a problem with consuming whats left, dig a hole in your cemetary and dispose of it.

+ Peter said...

Here is the advice I handed out to the clergy when the Swine Flu Scare first started.

1. A virus can remain alive in a moist environment for several. Using books should be OK.

2. Avoid handshaking and hugging should there be an appreciable rise in 'flu cases locally.

3. Anyone with active symptoms - such as coughing and sneezing - is advised to stay home.

4. Communion in one kind into the hand is acceptable for the time being. However, Communion should continue to be offered in both kinds but communicants should drink from the chalice, not intinct. The chalice is wiped and turned slightly after each communicant. The high ABV (15%-18%) of most communion wines should take care of any virus present. Any communicant who wishes not to receive the Cup should cross his/her arms over the chest after receiving the host.

4. Communion by Intinction should be discontinued for the time being. This is the second least sanitary way of administering communion. Only leavened bread, "wee cuppies" and grape juice is worse.

5. Keep the number of people handling the elements down to a minimum. For the time being the celebrant should prepare the vessels and elements for the Eucharist, and/or the altar guild make generous use of hand sanitizer or soap and hot water.

+Peter D. Robinson
Bishop-suffragan, UECNA.

Fr Richard Evans said...

Public health specialists in Birmingham and Coventry have advised that the use, or non-use, of the common chalice would have no affect on the spread of swine flu. This is based upon the level of spread of the disease in the general population and the fact that the risk of exposure is through normal contact (ie, a person sitting in a church with an infected person during a service would spread the disease, regardless of whether Communion was taken).

Fr Joseph Taylor said...

Holy Communion is never "taken",it is always "received"

johnf said...

I don't know how the Catholic Church survived the flu pandemics of 1918, 1957, 1968 not to speak of the minor one of 1947, when receiving of Our Blessed Lord by mouth was then the only means available.

I don't think it even occured to people that Holy Communion by mouth could be a cause of transmission.

And I dont think people were ignorant of modes of transmission of diseases in those days.

So I believe we are overreacting - the spirit of the age I suppose.