As Swine flu is spreading fast now (though fortunately appears to be relatively mild at least so far), some bishop's conferences are issuing directives aimed at minimising the risk of spread through at Mass.
In New Zealand, the bishops' conference went so far as to purport to ban communion on the tongue. But Ecclesia Dei NZ have issed an update on what is happening over there, and so here it is.
Communion on the tongue is a right
By way of context, it is worth noting that the rubrics actually specify communion on the tongue as the norm, and in the hand by way of exception. On the face of it, bishops' conferences don't have the right to change this, so any guidelines they issue are, presumably by way of suggestions only (though I believe they do have the power to ban practices such as reception from the chalice and the sign of peace).
Secondly, it is worth noting that it is pretty clear that the most risky way of receiving is via 'the common cup'. Whether reception on the tongue is more risky than in the hand is debatable - if someone coughs on a hand, that can pretty quickly be passed to the next person, hence the ban on shaking hands at the kiss of peace. If contact with saliva is avoided (or hand wipes are used as necessary), communion on the tongue probably involves less handling. The safest of all routes if you are concerned though is making a spiritual communion!
What the New Zealand bishops said (on 30 April):
"The following actions are to cease: Communion on the tongue; Communion from the chalice; shaking hands at the Sign of Peace.The bishops emphasise that ceasing these actions is a precautionary measure only and hope that they will not have to take stronger action. An update will be issued by the bishops if stronger action is needed and advice will be given when these actions can be resumed."
What is actually happening
"Below are latest details available regarding responses to prohibition of Holy Communion (HC) on the tongue as ban affects the Extraordinary Form of Holy Mass offered at known Churches in New Zealand (except for SSPX).A survey was completed of priests and churches concerned - ref. Latin Mass list elsewhere on this site.Order of list indicates areas from North to South New Zealand.
Fr. Meuli, Latin Mass Centre Titirangi, Auckland has continued normally as we believe will Fr. Anderson, Latin Mass Centre, Wellington (can’t reach him).
Fr. Mathew - Te Atatu - see NZ Cath -only HC in hand
Fr. Mullholland - Rotoroa, Hamilton, Tauranga- said he was continuing with rubrics.
Fr. Austin - Wellington - continuing with rubrics.
Fr. Rizzo - ChristChurch - said he was continuing with 1962 rubrics, (HC on tongue only) with extra precautions.
Holy Sons of the Redeemer, Christchurch, continued normally.
Fr McKone - Dunedin - said he was doing what his parishioners wanted - therefore both ways, HC on tongue and in hand."
Watch for the EDNZ site for further developments (and I'll try and keep you updated). By the way, I'm happy to add NZ priests to the prayer list....