Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Swine flu in NZ - Mass precautions downgraded

An update on the New Zealand situation via the Ecclesia Dei Society:

"Bishops lift influenza restrictions*

The bishops have consulted with Ministry of Health and Public Health officials and lifted the restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of influenza.

Ministry of Health retains the status of Code Yellow, but has advised the bishops that the restrictions are no longer strictly necessary.

This means the following actions can now be resumed: Communion on the tongue; Communion from the chalice; shaking hands at the Sign of Peace.

Ministry of Health and Public Health officials commended the bishops for the caution taken and suggested that while the precautionary protocols are no longer necessary, they should be ready to implement in case the influenza situation escalates.

The bishops reinforce that priests and ministers of the Eucharist should continue to practise good hygiene procedures.

Archbishop John Dew, Secretary of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, suggests that anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms should be aware of others and exercise their judgement as to whether or not they receive Communion on the tongue or from the chalice, or shake hands during the Sign of Peace.

Advice will be given by the bishops if any changes are required."


Hmm, shame really - while it is good to see communion on the tongue officially 'permitted' by the bishops (the best advice seems to be that it is permitted regardless of any purported local legislation) , the other precautions seems to me eminently sensible ones to continue with at least for the flu season at least! And knowing someone who has caught an infection from common chalice, traditionalist sensibilities aside, I really wonder why this practice continues at any time.

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