A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Church, lepers and leaders

Our parish church has succumbed to the government's advice on pandemic flu. The stoups have been closed, the peace is a brave wave and a smile and we are no longer to receive communion on the tongue. Swine flu has intervened in faith, has diminished hope and is acting in a very uncharitable way.

The cynic in me suggests that this is nothing about contracting this disease rather it is the old hoary chestnut of not being sued. The churches could well do without a legal dispute over a contaminated font. Which leads me to wonder about baptism. Is this banned under the government's advice to "faith communities"?

I have serious doubts about all this. We are advised not to shake hands or touch each other during the Peace. However, in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, people are still shaking hands each day. The Prime Minister shakes hands with visiting dignitaries. Does he have a stand with hand gel and washing facilities as his advisers are impressing on the church? Now I know why the Queen wears gloves. You never know where people have been.

Helpfully the government tells the "faith communities" that this advice 'refers only to pandemic flu as defined by the World Health Organisation; it does not refer to seasonal flu or to outbreaks of other communicable diseases'. So those with regular diseases are alright to shake hands, except that they can't because of swine flu.

The whole aspect of faith communicated in the Mass has been hijacked by a secular world obsessed with controls and regulations. Sneezing from seasonal flu in public is OK, if a tad anti-social, but swine flu sneezers watch out. I've never ever considered receiving communion as anything other than a sacramental thing. Now I get flashes of pictures of germs and disease floating about my brain. Again, the cynic in me suggests this might be a crafty way to put me off believing.

When the leper came forth to ask to be made clean my Jesus it was because he had faith. One suspects that if he had had swine flu the pharisees would be out like a shot clearing the streets.

I agree very much with hand-washing but I have a severe aversion to hand-wringing. If everyone had a decent approach to personal hygiene, we'd all be a lot better off. However, over zealous dictats and contradictory instructions will get us nowhere. I suspect it isn't the swine flu virus that the government is afraid of, more the feckless nature of some people. I bet there are still those who think they are indispensible and go to work with fevered brows and sweaty palms. Common sense will defeat the virus, selfish activity and contradictions will not.


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