I’ve been wondering for a while, not necesarily in the form of scruples but also in the abstract, as in finding out where the balance falls.
There’s been a lot of emphasis put lately on not attending if you’re sick and contagious, including flu and colds. This includes a minor chance of more serious symptoms and consequences for others than you yourself are experiencing from it (for example for obvious reasons men who have already been born will not be experiencing any complications to a pregnancy themselves ;)).
On the other hand attending mass is still a very important duty.
Hence I wonder to what extent it is appropriate to take rather extreme precautions concerning other people’s (spreading the contagious stuff) or your own (complications) health, or, in other words, to what extent can the duty to attend mass be expected to yield way to the duty to keep yourself and others safe?
Obviously, if the risks are big, you stay home. If the risks are almost certainly not there while a possibility still exists, you attend.
But what about those situations where you can certain stand or sit through one hour of services and the journey is not likely to make your cold or flu worse, and you can even keep some distance from other people, you just don’t really know which stage of the flu or cold you’re at and don’t know if and how much you can spread.
In other words, can it be said to be required to stay home from Mass if there’s a 50/50 or less chance of being contagious but it’s still there.
(Naturally, I’m presuming that if you do go, then you don’t participate in the Holy Communion, don’t sneeze into confessionals. don’t participate in the sign of peace, avoid holy water, preferably stay away from large groups of people, children, pregnant women, anybody looking frail etc. All of which, by the way, does seem like a suggestion that you should stay home instead.)
What do you guys think?
For me, I used to never get sick, but ever since no longer working in an office but only from my own home I have flu or a cold more often than not, from October through April. I work with it but sometimes take lighter workloads, dress more warmly, take medications, avoid going out shopping etc. and just usually stay home rather than going out except when I’m feeling healthy. But mass is a bit more problem because most of the time I really want to go but at the same time I don’t want to put other folks at risk. In rarer situations I’d prefer to stay home due to how I feel about my own health, while it would theoretically doable to go and sulk in a corner, and obviously many people will have gone who are sick anyway (some of them without knowing or realizing, others thinking they still must go etc.).
Staying home through uncertain times just in case I could be contagious and make someone else get sick too would mean skipping quite a lot of masses in the winter season — and for reasons I’d be quite dismissive of, if they concerned only my own health and wouldn’t expect someone else to stay away in a similar situation.
So what do you guys do in coinflippy situations? Anybody got any good advice from a wise priest or sister? Especially one that doesn’t have a super hygienic bias against germs?