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  #1  
Old Oct 18, '04, 2:47 pm
armbro armbro is offline
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Unhappy The mass and the flu

The flu season is upon us, and this year many of us will not be vacinated against the flu due to the shortage of vaccine. My point here is this. Is it not reasonable for the church to institute changes in an attempt to protect those in attendance at mass. The flu is a virus, and viruses are commomnly spread via droplets from coughs, sneezes and hand contact. The Mass is the perfect venue for spreading the flu virus. The shaking of hands which has become part of the Mass, and the placing of the communion host directly on the tongue are both ideal scenarios for transmitting the flu virus. I still observe priests and eucharistic ministers grimacing when they inadvertently "contaminate" their fingers with saliva which occurs all to frequently. This means that every subsequent host they touch becomes "contaminated" by saliva which could contain the flu virus. Solution, suspend these practices at least until the flu season is past, if not permanently. A simple nod of the head would suffice for the hand shake, and require everyone to take the communion host in their hands.
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  #2  
Old Oct 18, '04, 3:47 pm
Br. Rich SFO Br. Rich SFO is offline
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Default Re: The mass and the flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by armbro
The flu season is upon us, and this year many of us will not be vacinated against the flu due to the shortage of vaccine. My point here is this. Is it not reasonable for the church to institute changes in an attempt to protect those in attendance at mass. The flu is a virus, and viruses are commomnly spread via droplets from coughs, sneezes and hand contact. The Mass is the perfect venue for spreading the flu virus. The shaking of hands which has become part of the Mass, and the placing of the communion host directly on the tongue are both ideal scenarios for transmitting the flu virus. I still observe priests and eucharistic ministers grimacing when they inadvertently "contaminate" their fingers with saliva which occurs all to frequently. This means that every subsequent host they touch becomes "contaminated" by saliva which could contain the flu virus. Solution, suspend these practices at least until the flu season is past, if not permanently. A simple nod of the head would suffice for the hand shake, and require everyone to take the communion host in their hands.
Actually during a prior flu season several diocese suspended the chalice for several weeks. I think it reasonable to not shake hands, hold hands, not receive from the chalice, and also to receive the Host in your hand.
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  #3  
Old Oct 18, '04, 3:55 pm
juanh juanh is offline
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Default Re: The mass and the flu

all good points...I know that our parish stopped the use of the Chalice during a previous flu period...perhaps we should consider it again.
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  #4  
Old Oct 18, '04, 5:28 pm
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Pug Pug is offline
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Default Re: The mass and the flu

I'm not sure if this is off topic or not, but your topic reminds me of a very Catholic friend of mine whom I do not understand. At one time she was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer and her immune system had been very weak, but she likes to say that she always still received from the chalice and she had faith that no germs would come to her from the chalice. I don't understand this faith. I'd ask her, but it is a "point" with her and I don't feel I could profitably ask her about it.

Does anyone here feel that they are protected from germs hurting them that might be clinging to the chalice? Could you explain?
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  #5  
Old Oct 18, '04, 7:45 pm
Br. Rich SFO Br. Rich SFO is offline
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Default Re: The mass and the flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pug
I'm not sure if this is off topic or not, but your topic reminds me of a very Catholic friend of mine whom I do not understand. At one time she was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer and her immune system had been very weak, but she likes to say that she always still received from the chalice and she had faith that no germs would come to her from the chalice. I don't understand this faith. I'd ask her, but it is a "point" with her and I don't feel I could profitably ask her about it.

Does anyone here feel that they are protected from germs hurting them that might be clinging to the chalice? Could you explain?
As I pointed out above if anyone does not want to they do not have to. I have been administering the chalice for over ten years and had been the last person to consume the remaining Blood of Christ after everyone else. I do not know of ever contracting anything from this privilege.

Also remember my fellow brown robes who ministered to the sick and dying during the plague. If I recall correctly none of them died of the disease.
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  #6  
Old Oct 19, '04, 8:52 am
armbro armbro is offline
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Default Re: The mass and the flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by Br. Rich SFO
As I pointed out above if anyone does not want to they do not have to. I have been administering the chalice for over ten years and had been the last person to consume the remaining Blood of Christ after everyone else. I do not know of ever contracting anything from this privilege.

Also remember my fellow brown robes who ministered to the sick and dying during the plague. If I recall correctly none of them died of the disease.
I have heard this response before, and it is still irresponsible. Since there is no data base available, one cannot make such statements.
Given the known criteria about how flu viruses are spread, the current mass structure remians a prime source for infection.
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  #7  
Old Oct 19, '04, 10:37 am
thann thann is offline
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Default Re: The mass and the flu

I always receive the Precious Blood from the cup and will continue to do so. Does my faith protect me? I believe so. Last year announcements were made that people could refrain from receiving the Precious Blood if they wanted to, but it was still offered. Also, people were also told they did not need to kiss the cross on Good Friday, but most continued to do so.

Is it irresponsible to continue to drink from the cup? Not in my opinion, and I am the one taking the risk.

I read an article last year about this concern, and the writer (a priest, I believe) said that he never once heard of someone becoming ill after drinking from the cup. True, there is no database keeping track of this issue, but you would think that someone would have first-hand knowledge of such an event, and there is none.

'thann
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  #8  
Old Oct 19, '04, 3:04 pm
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Default Re: The mass and the flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by Br. Rich SFO
Also remember my fellow brown robes who ministered to the sick and dying during the plague. If I recall correctly none of them died of the disease.
Thanks for the answer. So it seems mostly because of a lack of any known evidence of people getting sick from the chalice.

About visiting the sick, I do think that it is sometimes important to leave the set of full body armour at the door (mask, gloves, gown, etc). Much better to be a normal face and a normal set of hands when visiting. At least that is how I think about being a minister of care bringing the communion to them.
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  #9  
Old Oct 20, '04, 1:09 pm
Sola Sola is offline
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Default Re: The mass and the flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by armbro
I have heard this response before, and it is still irresponsible. Since there is no data base available, one cannot make such statements.
Given the known criteria about how flu viruses are spread, the current mass structure remians a prime source for infection.
I don't want the Mass to change because of a seasonal virus. I want Mass to remain the same. Like Bro. Rich said, if a person does not want to drink, shake, whatever, he does not have to. I believe that the Lord will protect those who seek the Eucharist, and even if a person did get sick from drinking the Blood, maybe God wanted him/her to get sick! We can't understand why God does all the things He does, and He might have a reason for someone to come down with a virus.

If I am sick, then it is my responsibility to make changes - not drink, make sure my hands are washed, etc. It's not up to the rest of the Church to start doing things differently.
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  #10  
Old Oct 20, '04, 1:24 pm
Friar David, O.Carm Friar David, O.Carm is offline
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Wink Re: The mass and the flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sola
I don't want the Mass to change because of a seasonal virus. I want Mass to remain the same. Like Bro. Rich said, if a person does not want to drink, shake, whatever, he does not have to. I believe that the Lord will protect those who seek the Eucharist, and even if a person did get sick from drinking the Blood, maybe God wanted him/her to get sick! We can't understand why God does all the things He does, and He might have a reason for someone to come down with a virus.

If I am sick, then it is my responsibility to make changes - not drink, make sure my hands are washed, etc. It's not up to the rest of the Church to start doing things differently.
Sola, what you say makes sense as does what Bro. Rich is saying but.....

We are dealing with people here. What if someone is sick and still partakes of the Chalice? What if someone is sick and still shakes hands? Does not the Church have a duty to protect people?

Tell me.....

How does the Mass change when the priest either omits the Kiss of Peace (which is optional anyways) or makes the statement (as was done at the Church I attended this past weekend) that you many just say "Peace be with you" and not shake hands.

How does the Mass change when the Chalice is not offered to the people? The fullness of Christ is found in the Bread, it is the Body and Blood, you do not need to recieve both.
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  #11  
Old Oct 20, '04, 5:57 pm
KCT KCT is offline
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Default Re: The mass and the flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by Br. Rich SFO
Actually during a prior flu season several diocese suspended the chalice for several weeks. I think it reasonable to not shake hands, hold hands, not receive from the chalice, and also to receive the Host in your hand.
Our parish suspended use of the chalice during flu season last year. When I have a cold, I refrain from receiving on my tongue and receive on my hand. I don't think the EM or priest should have to put his hand that near my mouth and my germs!! --KCT
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  #12  
Old Oct 20, '04, 7:59 pm
FenianMan FenianMan is offline
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Default Re: The mass and the flu

Many posters have already pointed out some very serious issues that certainly need to be considered. I would simply add thus:

1. Communion under both species is an option anyway. The current practice of most of the United States receiving under both species at every Mass is clearly contrary to the authentic spirit of Vatican II (see the suggestions in Sacrosanctum Concilium), and, more importantly, has necessitated the rampant (ab)use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. I would have us eliminate the practice during flu season and then only ressurect it on special occasions.

2. The Kiss of Peace, as already noted, is also an option. As it clearly makes some people uncomfortable and could further problems of disease, likewise omit it. Further, while it is an option, hardly anyone knows it as such. Most common layfolk can tell you that Father has options during the penitential rite (which he does), but would say that omitting the Kiss of Peace is an abuse. If for no other reason than education, let alone hygiene, we ought to dispense with it for flu season.

3. No one, save the Congregation of Sacred Worship, has the authority to mandate that I receive Holy Communion in my hands. This was a foolishly granted indult provided for in the face of bishops who began the practice as an abuse. The problem is not that receiving on the tongue is less sanitary; the problem is that few people, either priests or layfolk, know how to properly receive (or distribute) on the tongue. Go to a Mass using the '62 missal (celebrated by a priest who does so frequently) and watch him at communion. Years of practice accustom one, and the people who frequent such masses know just how far out to place their tongues. There is a way to do this reverently, and there is a way to distribute santarily. I assume that the initial suggestion was made in good faith, but I think it is fundamentally erroneous.
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  #13  
Old Oct 20, '04, 9:41 pm
Michael Welter Michael Welter is offline
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Default Re: The mass and the flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by FenianMan
3. No one, save the Congregation of Sacred Worship, has the authority to mandate that I receive Holy Communion in my hands. This was a foolishly granted indult provided for in the face of bishops who began the practice as an abuse.
If the Bride of Christ makes a change in the laws or customs of the Mass, who are we to call her foolish? I would be very cautious about calling the Bride of Chist foolish.

Regarding the original question, I've always believed that one could never get sick while touching Christ, either from the Communion host, or from the Chalice. Christ is the ultimate healer. If anything, I would think He would heal us when entering us.
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  #14  
Old Oct 20, '04, 11:24 pm
FenianMan FenianMan is offline
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Default Re: The mass and the flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Welter
If the Bride of Christ makes a change in the laws or customs of the Mass, who are we to call her foolish? I would be very cautious about calling the Bride of Chist foolish.

Regarding the original question, I've always believed that one could never get sick while touching Christ, either from the Communion host, or from the Chalice. Christ is the ultimate healer. If anything, I would think He would heal us when entering us.
With respect, good brother, as I meant the honest critique, I never once called the Church foolish. What I did do was point out both the ecclesiastical body that has the authority to legislate my behavior at the liturgy and an exception to law that I believe to be foolish. "The Church" has not legislated, nor given an indult to communion in the hand. Individual members of the hierarchy have provided indults for it. Yet an indult is, by definition, an exception to particular or universal law. Indults have no special protection from error, and so can be applied foolishly, haphazardly, or stingily. Anyone that has read the history of the modern introduction of communion in the hand knows full well that the situation was sketchy at best, and though causality is difficult to prove, the connection to the general lack of reverence experienced in so many modern parishes is not a huge stretch. Obviously if "the Church" through the organ to which she has deputed the authority tells me that I must receive communion in my yet unconsecrated hands then I will oblige, but if Father Smith down the street tells me to do so because he's afraid of getting the flu then I will simply ignore him, for such an order is no order at all.
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  #15  
Old Oct 21, '04, 7:40 am
JohnCarroll JohnCarroll is offline
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Default Re: The mass and the flu

Quote:
Originally Posted by KCT
Our parish suspended use of the chalice during flu season last year. When I have a cold, I refrain from receiving on my tongue and receive on my hand. I don't think the EM or priest should have to put his hand that near my mouth and my germs!! --KCT
As Br Rich pointed out for himself, I was a Chalice Bearer in the Episcopal Church prior to becoming Catholic. It was my job to drink what was left in the cup. As far as i know I never became sick from this.
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