No Communion wine for Catholics after swine flu becomes pandemic

PUBLISHED: 13:27 24 June 2009 | UPDATED: 23:44 15 June 2010

THE Catholic Church has acted to prevent the spread of swine 'flu by removing the ritual of sipping wine from a chalice during Communion services.

THE Catholic Church has acted to prevent the spread of swine 'flu by removing the ritual of sipping wine from a chalice during Communion services.All Catholic churches were told to only offer bread and no longer a holy chalice drink after the World Health Organisation re-classified the virus as a pandemic.A spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Plymouth, which oversees East Devon, said letters were sent out to places of worship last weekend advising priests that the ritual should not be followed at the moment.Meanwhile, a statement on the Catholic Church in England and Wales website, said: "As members of the church, it is right that we take every reasonable care of each other's well-being."At the present time, for example, we should take those precautions which help avoid spreading the virus."The respiratory disease, which emerged in Mexico and spread across the world, is the first 'flu pandemic for 40 years.Swine 'flu is most easily passed on when a person coughs or sneezes. Once airborne, it can easily be breathed in by other people, leading to the virus multiplying.Transmission can also occur when a person touches a surface with 'flu viruses on it, such as a door handle or tissues.Medical tests confirmed last April that a 12-year-old girl from Devon was infected with swine 'flu.

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