June 25, 2009

Communion altered by swine flu outbreak

Swine flu cases in England have forced some Roman Catholic churches to temporarily stop sharing Communion wine, church officials say.

That was the case in the Plymouth Diocese where two confirmed incidents of H1NI virus, also called the swine flu, were reported. Other churches are expected to follow suit, the Times of London said Thursday.

Priests in Plymouth also have been told that they should only offer bread directly into people's hands and not place it on the tongue.

The diocese includes 93 parishes and covers Cornwall, Devon and Dorset, stretching from Penzance and the Isles of Scilly in the west to Bournemouth in the east.

A Church of England spokesman said Church laws allowed communicants to receive bread only in emergencies.