Swine Flu at Church: Fear Not?

Swine flu anxiety at schools and workplaces is beginning to spread to churches. American church leaders are beginning to issue … Continued

Swine flu anxiety at schools and workplaces is beginning to spread to churches. American church leaders are beginning to issue words of caution and, in some cases, new guidelines for taking part in religious rituals this weekend.

Methodists in Texas are changing the way they do communion. Catholic priests in Chicago have stopped distributing communion wine. Southern Baptist congregations are being told to be prepared to cancel services. The North American Old Catholic Church will stop passing the peace during worship.

Should you pass the peace this Sunday? Should you share a communion cup or dunk your wafer or bread in a common cup? Should you allow your child or yourself to take part in a water baptism? Should you hold hands in prayer or song? Should you even go?

Here are some examples of precautions church leaders are taking:

The North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest Protestant group, has reissued Pandemic Flu Preparedness Guidelines, including the possibility of limiting mass gatherings: “This may include canceling Sunday services, weekday events at the church, weddings, and funerals.”

Methodist churches in Texas are changing the way they do communion, ordering shipments of individually wrapped communion wafers and juice packets to be used instead of passing the same loaf of bread of a common cup.

The Catholic Bishop of Dallas, Kevin J. Farrell, has advised his diocese’s pastors to consider suspending the reception of the Holy Eucharist under both species and to take other steps to respond to possible health dangers. The first reported death in the U.S. from swine flu came on Tuesday, when a 23-month-old boy visiting from Mexico died in Houston.

Some Roman Catholic pastors in Chicago already have stopped distributing communion wine as a precaution. Archdiocese of Chicago vicar general Rev. John Canary is advising pastors in a memo to use their own judgment in distributing the wine.

The North American Old Catholic Church issued the following changes to all parishes and ministers:

Clay Morris, the Episcopal Church USA‘s program officer for worship and spirituality, said research shows that the practice of sharing the common cup at Eucharist generally carries a very low risk of infection. But the practice of dipping the wafer, called intinction, may carry a higher risk since fingers are also often dipped into the wine.

So far, the best and most faithful advice I’ve seen comes from Rev. Diana Holbert, pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in East Dallas. Wednesday, she sent church members an email with these words of counsel:

“1. If you are coughing or sneezing, it’s probably a good idea to stay home. Let us know and we’ll send you a cassette tape of the service if you like!” says the pastor.

“2. If you are well, I encourage you to come together to worship and to pray for those who are sick or panicked.”

She said she planned to preach this Sunday on the 23rd Psalm (“The Lord is my shepherd…”) “Let’s take a deeper look at what Psalm 23 has to say to us today. It may just be what the Doctor ordered,” she wrote.

“Breathe peace, not germs.”

About

  • mocadmin

    Some of these suggestions seem a bit extreme given that we have flu and the common cold every year and do nothing like suspending touching during the peace. On more than one occasion I’ve sat next to obviously ill children during winter services who happily shake my hand and recieve communion with no ill effects. Although I’d say it would be prudent if we didn’t take sick children or our sick selves to services at anytime as a kindness to ourselves and our neighbors.

  • Revcain777

    Communion is served during flu season when 800-1000 people per week die of flu. Take precautions? Sure. But the media is really fanning the flames of hysteria. 40,000 people die in automobile accidents each year, yet we don’t close schools, churches or gathering places for fear people will drive to them.

  • presto668

    Hmm, I wasn’t aware that the transubstantiated body of Christ could be contagious. :)

  • Paganplace

    I should maybe also add for Catholics and similar, that your usual ritual procedure is an *exceptionally* good vector for spreading this kind of thing from any given recipient to any further ones. It’s very nice, otherwise, but not liturgically necessary, even for people of extreme piety about it. I used to help the nuns bring stuff to shut ins on occasion… Not that being all in one place is a great idea *just* now, in any form, but other arrangements are possible and sanctioned. Might want to look to that. Not actually a very long window of vulnerability.

  • Paganplace

    Before the atheists crow about *this,* by the way, I’d also say there’s probably no great need to hand-stamp people in nightclubs either, just right now. Check IDs at the bar.

  • roboturkey

    Let’s say you are in church this week and a swine flu sufferer in the back of the congregation begins sneezing. That’s all it takes.We can cope with a “normal” cold and flu season because we have a reasonable expectation of the severity of seasonal maladies and can take a more or less informed risk. However, until the data is in on the virulence and lethality of swine flu, it makes sense to sit out a few weeks.That’s OK. God knows where you live. If te plague really has arrived, might as well try to avoid getting sick in sensible ways… including the wise choice to stay out of crowds.

  • CCNL

    First item to go permanently are the holy water fonts. These fonts are and have been forever cesspools of disease. Thankyou Mr. Monk :)))) Ozone bubblers in the fonts might however be a solution. Second item to go permanently are the common cups. These cups also are and have always been a sanitary nightmare. Priests and eucharistic ministers should always wash their hands thoroughly to include wiping their hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer right before distribution of communion. I am aware of only on church that does the latter. (Mr. Monk’s church:)))And considering the Last Supper was not an historic event and this whole “bloody” ceremony was concocted not by Jesus but by P, M, M, L, J and some of the other embellishers, the eucharist is something else that should be eliminated.And finally, the holy water fonts should be replaced with “blessed” alcohol-based hand wipes which you see now being used in many grocery stores and hospitals (if there ever again is a need to open churches, mosques or temples).

  • aredant

    Paganplace has a good point – albeit a bit quick to color atheists as knee-jerk religion bashers – although I tend to be one myself. I was ready to guffaw at the notion of church congregating and the spread of disease in the shower this morning, but my GF quickly pointed out movie theaters, airplanes and sporting events. I still think church is an excellent vector though. Anywhere breeders bring their germy offspring, transmission is quick. That makes churches, but even more so, daycares and grade schools transmission hot spots. I always to stay clear of small children and their parents. Not just because they are annoying, but I am healthier for it as well.

  • Keystroke

    Hoc est corpus meum?

  • ChurchFlu

    It is for a time such as this that Mennonite Church Canada developed http://www.churchpandemicresources.ca – following the biblical imperative to walk with sick in normal times as well as crisis times. Anyone from any faith community is welcome to access helpful tools and information designed especially for churches. Follow on http://www.twitter.com/ChurchFlu.

  • Chops2

    And isn’t it interesting that if u dont go to communion or service or do things exactly like the church commands u dont die and go to hell. So why bother in the first place? Its ritualistic fantasy. If u can get sick praying to god, then he isnt much of a listener, or perhaps, he isnt there and u r just talking to yourself.B202: well put.

  • bretb

    WWJD? Jesus would tell us to turn off the TV and ignore most media sources. Now there is a novel idea. Just another over blown story full of hysteria to grab everyone’s attention.

  • psouleles

    In the Greek Orthodox Church we have been communing from the same cup using the same spoon. I believe we will continue to do so with the knowledge that we have never suffered from doing so through all previous calamities. I continue to be astounded how young and old, rich and poor, have without argument always participated in Holy Communion without questioning and without argument. It is one of the great mysteries of life and one of its greatest rewards.

  • kls1

    Posted again and again in one form or another: “Like NEWSWEEK said, Christianity is so very dead.”The cover said one thing, the story said the something very different, the same fact the Post said the week before: 76 percent of Americans call themselves Christian.

  • maggots

    What would Jesus do? Heal the sick.

  • linguist64

    This comments section should be about how churches are coping with the swine flu, NOT a forum for Christian-bashing. The Newsweek article does not say Christianity is dead, rather that more and more people are choosing to express their spirituality in non-traditional ways. 76% is still a pretty high number, BTW. Anyway, let’s stick to the subject, shall we? And please, if you pagans and atheists believe in “live and let live,” please practise what you preach.

  • roboturkey

    interesting thought exercise: Did God create H1N1?If so, is God using it to cull those who do not have immunity from H1N1 ?If so, is this the sorting of the blessed and the damned?If so, is this the beginning of the end times ?If so, should I send the payment on my mortgage in today’s mail or spend the money on a last weekend in Vegas with my spouse ?(please, only serious opinions clearing the trip to Vegas on theologically sound grounds are welcome)

  • CellBioProf

    As a biologist, I will definitely wash my hands thoroughly before partaking in today’s end-of-semester picnic that the president of my institution has (unwittingly, I’m sure) scheduled for Beltane!

  • rsk1957

    So did God create Swine Flu? Can he cause or prevent us from becoming sick? Does it afflict “sinful” people as a punishment, and are the “righteous” spared? Aren’t the faithful confident that God will protect them as they go to church to receive communion? Things like pandemics are a great argument against the existence of god, at least a god that is either all powerful, or all good.

  • cashmere1

    I am a baptized Catholic, and I remember as a child my Mother telling us not to ever take communion into our mouths, but to take it from the priest’s fingers and put it into our mouths. But, as I got older, I realized the priest’s fingers went into other parishner’s mouths and his fingers were contaminated. I have always been nervous about taking communion. I would never drink from a common chalice!I also remember after Good Friday services, all parishners would line up and go up to the priest holding a cricifix, and kiss it. In his hands was a white cloth which he used to wipe the crucifix after every kiss. I remember the white cloth being covered with lipstick! My Mother did not allow me or my brothers to kiss the crucifix! We all went up to the priest, bowed our heads in silent prayer, then moved on.My Mother was a wise woman, and had taught me to always be aware of germs and to keep my hands clean! Good advice! She was a very religious woman, but balked at the idea of spreading germs around, regardless of her faith in Christ!

  • mrobertb

    I can understand the need for caution, but it seems a bit extreme to me for some Churches to discontinue the distribution of Communion, especially during a stressful time such as this. Couldn’t priests wear plastic gloves for sanitary reasons and place the Host into the communicate’s hand instead of placing it directly into their mouths? Banning the sharing of the chalice makes sense until the danger of the flu has passed. At any rate, this pandemic should not interfere with an active Christian’s spiritual life.

  • jacksprat1

    Does the lack of common sense never cease within the religious community? Perhaps the Catholics and other would forgo the shared cup if the clergy from the Pope on down would be the last to drink instead of the first. Its all just ridiculous isn’t it. Funny that no one has said that God protects the cup. Yuk!!

  • erikavanheusen

    Since this is a pig originated thing the only ones in church that can pass it on are the Bishops, Cardinals, etc.

  • erikavanheusen

    WWJD?Yes… What would Jennifer do?Jennifer is my dog.

  • erikavanheusen

    We should consult with Dick Cheney. This may be a terrorists thing. The terrorist started it in Mexico to distract us.

  • dragondancer1814

    First item to go permanently are the holy water fonts. These fonts are and have been forever cesspools of disease. Thankyou Mr. Monk :)))) An excellent argument against infant baptism, besides the fact that babies and children can’t consent to being a part of a religion any more than they can consent to a medical procedure. The Anabaptists and the sects that have a “believer’s baptism” option have the right idea!Being a non-Christian, I would be ineligible for Communion anyway, which is just as well. Cannibalism, real or symbolic, oogs me out. Apart from that, the fact that more people die from regular influenza every year has had no impact on Communion; since when should they freak out about H1N1 while the rest of the time flus, colds, etc. get passed around by Communion like they were nothing?Oh, and CellBioProf, Happy Beltane to you too! Blessed Be!

  • erikavanheusen

    I never go to church but this weekend I will… wearing a facemask and faking a bad cough. Surely I will clean the place empty!

  • semidouble

    For the flock it’s simple: a prayer a day keeps the flu away! If that doesn’t work, simply switch temporarily to Zeus and bow towards Mt. Olympus. That’ll boost the immune system and kill the virus for sure.

  • Athena4

    Zeus won’t do anything to help protect you from H1N1. Try Apollo or Asclepius instead. :D

  • stephen8

    I think the official position for most of the christian churches is that there is no such thing as evolution, therefore no flu mutation. The swine flu was intelligently designed to be the pig’s problem, not ours.

  • erikavanheusen

    This is something that would affect Jews and Muslims only, not Christians. It is a rebellion of the pigs against those who discriminate against the pigs. My Pastor told me that today.

  • erikavanheusen

    Those of us who follow the Great Intelligent Design truth have nothing to fear. As it happened in the Passover incident, those of us who follow the Great Intelligent Design truth will be spared. This pig flu will pass us over because we all are wearing a plastic pig nose secured to our heads by a strong elastic band. But only Christians can buy the plastic pig nose with repelling powers; we are the only ones that know the secret place where to buy it. All people of all other religions can´t get the good plastic pig nose.

  • aredant

    At the time the stories about the Jesus character were written, the best known medicine was from the Greeks who believed that illness was caused by an imbalance of the four humours, many of their cures tried to rebalance the humours or restore the natural heat of the patient.Galen advocated the healing power of nature and the use of opposites – eg hot pepper to cure a cold and (cool) cucumber to cure a fever.I am not certain if there was any treatment for which one could resurrect the dead however. Good luck with that one.

  • erikavanheusen

    What would Jesus do? Run away as fast as possible, even over water if necessary.

  • erikavanheusen

    Please alert Peter NOT to run after Jesus; Peter will drawn since he never mastered that walking-over-water thing.

  • erikavanheusen

    What would Jesus do? Run away from Mexico as fast as possible, even over water if necessary. Now, please alert Peter and the rest NOT to follow Jesus and run after Jesus because they will be drowned since they never mastered that walking-over-water thing.

  • tphishs

    WWJD? Since he is represented by the party of God, the GOP: and BTW — I still LOVE THE “UNDER GOD” Banner with the picture of the greatest Christian President ever!!!

  • erikavanheusen

    I just came back from church and my Pastor told me there is not pig flu there, just the usual bull…

  • erikavanheusen

    Here in Denver anyone who kills the pig flu virus will NOT be allowed to take communion.

  • erikavanheusen

    The pigs are Christian, nothing to fear then.I am saying that assuming that it is true that all Republicans are Christians.

  • wiatrol

    Since this plague was created by god; it is time for all of us to accept our fate a die from the swine flu.

  • DupontJay

    Most American’s knowledge of reasonable sanitation and contagion avoidance is abysmal. Cashiers who lick their fingers constantly, subway riders who rub their eyes, the near-universal practice of sneezing into your uncovered hand, infrequent and inadequate handwashing even among doctors: all are evidence of a population that doesn’t know how to keep itself healthy. If this current pandemic scare makes people (including church officials) rethink their current unhygienic habits, we’ll be far better prepared when then inevitable high-mortality flu virus eventually arises.

  • johng1

    i was about to kill a gnat that was bothering me, and expected him to plead for his life. instead, he showed no fear as he expressed his belief that god had chosen gnats over all living things as the lifeform that would be given the possibility of eternal afterlife. he said only those gnats that most bothered humans would be allowed to enter the gates. i forgave him, set him free, and therefore sent him to gnat hell!

  • coloradodog

    Hannity Catholics and Dobson evangelicals take advantage of the epidemic to further their racist demonization of Mexicans. Jesus would change his last name.

  • usapdx

    Mexican flu or not, the way communion is given, bread or wine whould not be receive by the average person if it was a restaurant. The health dept. views whould be of interest. The use of pronks to pick up the host and or even a light touch of the host to the wine and then place it in your own hand whould be much better with only one hand to wash and the tip of the prong not to touch any skin. Any better ideas?

  • rexreddy

    Hey coloradodog If they came here legally that’s a good thing.It’s that simple.

  • rha39

    Test your faith. Just ask(pray) God not to let you get the flu.

  • preboomer

    Paganplace wrote: “…but check out what influenza pandemics did in 1918 (IIRC) here, or maybe Yellow Fever in the Bible Belt, before you go undervaluing a little due caution.”Yellow fever is caused by the bite of infected mosquitos, not by human-to-human transmission.

  • TempleofGaia

    Economy issues and the epidemic(s) both are agents of evolution. The process is inviting us to access and exercise the dormant primordial capability for surviving. The capable survive.ATOG

  • pheared

    Good question. What WOULD Journey Do?

  • Tychist

    I have faith that participation in any sacrament of the church will not harm me. I recognize my sympathy with those whose faith prompts more extreme displays of this principal, e.g., snake handling. However, like Peter walking on the water, I realize that my own faith can falter; I don’t know whether I will be able to ignore a fellow communicant at the altar rail who is obviously ill.Generally, I only refrain from participation in the Eucharist if I myself am ill, out of respect for the concerns of my fellow congregants.

  • stan7000

    DupontJay – you took the words out of my mouth and I could not have said it better!

  • US-conscience

    In the end, sickness points to sin and sin points to our need for Christ. Luther, Calvin, and all true ministers of Christ know that sickness and death point to our need for a Savior. Even as Christians seek to minister to the physical needs of the sick, the spiritual need is even more urgent. Each tiny germ shows us our need for the Gospel. Every cough is a reminder of coming judgment. Our confidence is placed only in the ministry of Christ our Physician, “who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases.” [Psalm 103:3]Christians will, sooner or later, be called upon to show the love of Christ in the midst of sickness. Perhaps we will minister out of Christ’s love in a time of swine flu. If so, we do well to remember Luther’s summary of the best prescription in the face of disease: “My best prescription is written in John 3:16. ‘God so loved the world.’ This is the best I have.”

  • Richmond_JDL

    To goldmund52hotmailcom…Your visceral response to your perceived failing and/or death of organized religion is proof positive that Christianity is indeed NOT dead. I belong to a large and still growing church in a moderate/liberal denomination (Presbyterian) that has focused a large portion of its resources on social justice and wellness.As for not hearing or knowing about how churches are responding to this “crisis”…First of all, churches do not control the media. The work we do is often not sexy or fascinating enough to warrant coverage. That does not, however, diminish the importance of the work we undertake.Second, you being a former Lutheran minister should know that the left hand does not need to know what the right hand is doing. Publicity does and can not elevate the importance or legitimacy of the work which is sincerely done in the name of Christ.Third, in all the work I have done with congregations in communities all over this hemisphere, I have not met you nor people of your ilk. I suspect that you are too busy celebrating the supposed death of Christianity to engage in the hard work of social justice, human wellness and global healing. You are so focused on the failure of the church that you and your sort often do nothing to make the world a better place in its stead.Finally, I too am a partnered gay man like you (you have made this claim in some of your other comments on this site). My partner and I are accepted at the “regular” suburban church of which we are members. We do not hide our relationship nor do we beat people up with it. It is, simply, what it is. However, I would suggest the same is not true with you. There seems to be a thread of vitriol and negativity that runs through all of your comments that suggests the presence of a deeper hurt and self-hatred. I would suggest that you might want to seek out some professional help to deal with these issues. To find pleasure in the failure of another’s faith is not healthy, normal or constructive. Simply put, you need help. Please seek it out.P.S. Antibiotics are not used for viral infections. If you want to make a persuasive, cogent argument, get your facts right. (That mistake was what red-flagged your response for me.)

  • dgblues

    I’m aghast. Does the flu have to permeate every last fiber of the media? Is there any wonder there’s a hysteria, church or otherwise?You get the flu, you get sick, you see the doctor, you get medicated, you drink some tea with whiskey and lemon in it, you fall asleep, and in a few days, it’s gone. Seriously. Jesus ain’t got nothin’ to do with it.So everybody just take a chill pill, will ya? Jeez!!

  • frostyolman

    For the love of God…people get a grip….If one truly believes in God, believes he is in control, believes that everything happens as he mandates, happens for a reason and as part of plan,then there should be nothing to worry about…I have always found it a bit odd that t he Pope would travel in a bullet proof car….seems a bit distrustful doesn’t it?

  • Richmond_JDL

    I guess because I am Presbyterian that a lot of this is lost on me. Hmmm…”holy water?” “Common cup?” Yeah…definitely not a part of the Reformed tradition (for the most part). My father is a Presbyterian minister and the only stipulation he ever put on the water used in the font was that it be gotten from the tap PIPING hot so that by the time it had cooled in the font it wouldn’t be so cold as to upset the baby! We use “ordinary” water and pray that God use it for extraordinary purposes. I guess that would parallel the point being made by FROSTYOLMAN.

  • gwymer

    Oh brother and sisters! I will be passing the peace to you all via texting and email. I will blog the love of all gods to you all, whether Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or pagan. May your true faiths protect you al from the germs yet to surround us all! Remember all you have to do is believe and you shall be saved. Praise Godallahmosejesushivabrahma!

  • msperry1

    Frankly, I’m insulted by the premise. WWJD do about the flu indeed. Nothing is what he would do. How do I know? Because if he was indeed an all knowing and all good god, then he knew about the germ theory of disease, and would have encouraged us to suffer the little children and wash our hands. Instead, he was mute on the subject and it took millennial to figure it out.So either Jesus didn’t know about the germ theory of disease, or did not care to spare us from disease, and in either case it points quite conclusively to him not being god.

  • CCNL

    erikavanheusen, You noted: “Here in Denver anyone who kills the pig flu virus will NOT be allowed to take communion.”You no doubt are comparing a deadly virus to that of a growing human. How tragic and how very, very sad!!!

  • Athena4

    Relax, everyone! Jeebus will take care of you! And if you catch the swine flu, it’s because you were a SINNER (who went to Mexico on spring break). But we don’t want to kill viruses, because they’re life and all life is sacred! Seriously, people. Use the common sense that the Deity gave you. Don’t shake hands. Don’t drink from a common cup. Take communion with your hands, rather than the priest putting it on your tongue (which I’ve always thought was kinda gross, anyway). Don’t go to Church if you feel sick. God’ll forgive you this one time.

  • rpvt

    Here’s and idea, don’t go to church. Flu is easily past when people are in close quarters. That’s why it evolved (yes, it did, and continues to, evolve) to make us sneeze. Use the time to read a book (other than the bible).

  • Trouble2

    This is a public health not a religious issue. If a restaurant attempted to serve liquids from the same glass to multiple customers, customers would leave before the restaurant was closed. We have the science and the church should use the knowledge it has given us.

  • ThomasBaum

    Written in this article, “The Catholic Bishop of Dallas, Kevin J. Farrell, has advised his diocese’s pastors to consider suspending the reception of the Holy Eucharist under both species and to take other steps to respond to possible health dangers.”Jesus said, “This is My Body”, “This is My Blood”, He also said, “Feed MY lambs, tend MY sheep, feed MY sheep”.Bishop Kevin J. Farrell does not have the right to withhold God, which is what the Eucharist Is, from someone who wishes to receive and he does not have the right to advise his pastors from withholding reception under both species.It is up to the individual whether or not they wish to receive under both species and if any clergy does not make a reasonable attempt, then they are going against what Jesus, God-Incarnate, instructed Peter to do.Does this Bishop believe what Jesus so plainly said about the Eucharist? Any pastor that does not leave it up to the discretion of the communicant is going against what Jesus taught about the Eucharist and instructed us thru His conversation with Peter to do.Also written, “Some Roman Catholic pastors in Chicago already have stopped distributing communion wine as a precaution. Archdiocese of Chicago vicar general Rev. John Canary is advising pastors in a memo to use their own judgment in distributing the wine.”Maybe they should take Jesus at His Word.Maybe clergy at all levels, Priests, Bishop, Cardinal, Pope,… should listen to what Jesus said and feed their flocks and let us decide whether or not God is more important to us individually than fear.If anyone happens to read this and knows Bishop J. Farrell or any of the Roman Catholic pastors in Chicago that have stopped serving communion under both species or the vicar general Rev. John Canary of the Archdiocese of Chicago, please feel free to pass it on.God became One of us, left us His Body and Blood in the Eucharist, lived and died for us and then some of the clergy let fear get in the way of doing what Jesus so plainly asked of us to do.Stop being stumbling blocks, clergy should try to help lead people to God and then get out of the way and let God work individually in each individual’s life what God has in Mind for that person.By the way, I used to believe that the Eucharist was Jesus until the Holy Spirit revealed to me that the Eucharist is Jesus, so now I know that the Catholic Eucharist is Jesus.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • eaglehawkaroundsince1937

    Hey what a bunch of nasty people,,,,I love it…Maybe humans gave this flu to the pigs. I go to communion every day. I take a piece of bread, some water (I’m a 28 year recovered alcoholic) and say “I do this in rememberance of you Jesus. As he instructed and “do it often”. SO, religions get off your High horse, errrr Pig.

  • ThomasBaum

    CCNLYou wrote, “The eucharist (in one or both forms) is something that should be eliminated to protect Catholics, Episcopalians, and Lutherns from flu and cold viruses and potential food poisoning. It is a unsanitary, non-essential, dark-age symbol. Current serving methods violate all standards of food safety.”So you are saying that one of the important reasons that people came to America in the first place and one of the most cherished rights, at least for some, of Americans should be thrown out.Just because you do not have a clue, then that which grants to us the “Freedom of Religion” should be abolished since you disagree, is that you stand on this fundamental right?And just, in your opinion, who should “eliminate” it?By the way, no one is forced to receive Communion.Considering that Jesus instituted the Eucharist, before He went to the cross I might add, it should be an individual’s choice of receiving it under either or both species, as it is called, or not receiving it, not the clergy’s.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

Read More Articles

Valle Header Art
My Life Depended on the Very Act of Writing

How I was saved by writing about God and cancer.

shutterstock_188545496
Sociologist: Religion Can Predict Sexual Behavior

“Religion and sex are tracking each other like never before,” says sociologist Mark Regnerus.

5783999789_9d06e5d7df_b
The Internet Is Not Killing Religion. So What Is?

Why is religion in decline in the modern world? And what can save it?

river dusk
Cleaner, Lighter, Closer

What’s a fella got to do to be baptized?

shutterstock_188022491
Magical Thinking and the Canonization of Two Popes

Why Pope Francis is canonizing two popes for all of the world wide web to see.

987_00
An Ayatollah’s Gift to Baha’is, Iran’s Largest Religious Minority

An ayatollah offers a beautiful symbolic gesture against a backdrop of violent persecution.

Screenshot 2014-04-23 11.40.54
Atheists Bad, Christians Good: A Review of “God’s Not Dead”

A smug Christian movie about smug atheists leads to an inevitable happy ending.

shutterstock_134310734
Ten Ways to Make Your Church Autism-Friendly

The author of the Church of England’s autism guidelines shares advice any church can follow.

Pile_of_trash_2
Pope Francis: Stop the Culture of Waste

What is the human cost of our tendency to throw away?

chapel door
“Sometimes You Find Something Quiet and Holy”: A New York Story

In a hidden, underground sanctuary, we were all together for a few minutes in this sweet and holy mystery.

shutterstock_178468880
Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

sunset-hair
From Passover to Easter: Why I’m Grateful to be Jewish, Christian, and Alive

Passover with friends. Easter with family. It’s almost enough to make you believe in God.

colbert
Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

emptytomb
God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

shutterstock_186795503
The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

egg.jpg
Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.