Front page news in our local newspaper (which, by the way as far as I know has still not retracted the false, fabricated papal faux pas it wrote about) today is: “The Maori hongi and the traditional Catholic communion are among the centuries-old traditions being put on hold amid fears over a global swine flu pandemic.”
And yes, there is notification on the Roman Catholic diocesan website with a directive from the bishops: The following actions are to cease: Communion on the tongue; Communion from the chalice; shaking hands at the Sign of Peace. I will be particularly interested in the reaction of traditionalist Roman Catholics to the forbidding of communion on the tongue.
Looking at the New Zealand Anglican websites (General Synod, Taonga, diocesan) I cannot find any reaction within Anglicanism.
My e-friend Rev. Scott Gunn has 10 suggestions for liturgy to be adapted in this context. Some will have my not-so-high-church readers looking up their liturgical glossary for “lavabo” etc. My personal favourite is shooting communion wafers at congregants from great distance, to avoid contamination. I also like the suggestion to use incense — loads and loads of it — to fumigate the building. Add methyl bromide to the mix for good measure. And I appreciate the inclusion of the video clip of the botafumeiro, the huge thurible that swings across the transept of Santiago de Compostela’s cathedral (I am lucky enough to have attended such a mass there).