I suspect when lawsuits are brought against the Church for these two practices, these will be permanently banned! Why does it take law suits for bishops to act?
Catholics Urged to Avoid Touching as Flu Spreads
Church officials in New Mexico and Pennsylvania say parishioners should get less personal to avoid getting sick.By Katelyn Newman, Staff Writer US World News and Report Jan. 15, 2019
"Bless you, but keep your hands to yourself."
That's the message some Catholic parishioners are getting from officials hoping to curb the spread of the flu.
In New Mexico, the Archdiocese of Santa Fe said Monday that parishioners should limit touching during Mass, including by not holding hands during prayer and simply nodding during the sign of peace instead of shaking hands or hugging.
Only the consecrated bread will be administered during the sacrament of Holy Communion, the archdiocese said. It also encouraged anyone who is experiencing symptoms such as sneezing or coughing to watch a televised Sunday Mass from the comfort of home.
"It is not a sin to miss Mass on Sundays if you are ill," the archdiocese said in a statement. "These directives will be revoked when the situation improves."
The guidance comes in light of widespread influenza activity in New Mexico, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of late December, the New Mexico Department of Health had reported four adult deaths connected to the flu so far this season.
Church advice and directives affecting the faithful haven't been limited to this flu season alone, nor to New Mexico. In another state also listed as having widespread flu activity by the CDC, the Diocese of Allentown in Pennsylvania said the exchange of the sign of peace and the option of drinking wine from the chalice during Holy Communion would be suspended in its 84 parishes.
"This suspension will begin with the Vigil and Sunday Masses the weekend of January 12-13, and will be in effect until the incidence of influenza subsides in our region," a statement from the diocese said.
The Morning Call reports that Pennsylvania had experienced 9,268 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases since October in 66 of its 67 counties, including 10 adult deaths.Up to 7.3 million Americans have been sickened with the flu so far this season, according to the latest CDC estimates.