June 27, 2009

Swine flu stops shared communion wine

by Benjamin Graham

Catholic churches in south west England are being urged to stop offering wine during communion over fears that the common cup could spread swine flu.

The Diocese of Plymouth – covering Devon, Cornwall, and Dorset – has written to priests advising them only to place bread directly into the hands of communicants, rather than onto their tongues, and to stop offering wine until further notice.

The Diocese letter follows a decision by the World Health Organisation to upgrade the seriousness of the virus.

Michael Fay, communications officer for the Plymouth Diocese, said removing wine from communion is a “temporary measure” that will continue until the spread of swine flu dies down.

Swine flu is most commonly spread through coughs and sneezes, but it can also transfer between people if the virus is left on a surface.

The communion wine ban covers 93 parishes across south west England, from Penzance in the west to Bournemouth in the east.

There have been three cases of the swine flu virus in Devon, two in Dorset, and 10 in Cornwall.

Discuss this in the Interfaith forums

Story link: Swine flu stops shared communion wine

Bookmark and Share

Related stories: