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Holy swine flu.

A BISHOP has advised churches not to use holy water in a bid to halt the spread of swine flu.

Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Reverend John Gladwin, has advised members of his diocese to remove receptacles for water. He said: "Some churches have a stoup for holy water near the entrance to the church door, and people are invited to dip a finger in this, and to make the sign of the cross. "The water contained in stoups can easily become a means of rapidly spreading the virus," he said.

He said the use of holy water should not be reinstated until the pandemic is over and added that priests should advise members of their congregation who have flu-like symptoms to stay at home.

The Bishop has also urged special caution when taking Holy Communion to residential homes, warning if anyone has flu-like symptoms that the "priest alone should drink wine from the chalice".

He also discouraged pastoral visits and said if a visit was necessary, priests should wear sterile gloves, an apron and a face mask.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 20, 2009
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