A chalice. (Paterm / Wikimedia.com / Creative Commons)

Updated: Tuesday, 08 Sep 2009, 10:02 AM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 08 Sep 2009, 10:01 AM EDT


Several parishes of the Church of Sweden
have begun to use fortified wines, rather than light or alcohol-free
wines, in the hopes of reducing the risk of transmitting swine flu.
Other churches around the world have stopped the practice all together.

According to The Local
, church authorities hope that fortified wine will provide better
protection against the spread of swine flu when the communion cup is
passed around. The decision is a local one and the Church of Sweden
said in a statement that they have not made any recommendations about
fortified wine.

Over the summer, archbishops with the Church of England recommended that churches stop sharing the chalice at communion due to swine flu fears.

in the U.S. are also taking the swine flu threat seriously and putting
new safeguards in place to help reduce congregants’ risk. Newsweek
reported that Methodist churches in Texas are using individually
wrapped communion wafers and juice packets, rather than traditional
bread and wine. Some churches are also suspending the sharing of wine
as part of communion.

The Associated Press
reported that parishioners will no longer offer handshakes as a sign of
peace at a Roman Catholic Church in Cincinnati, due to concerns about
swine flu. Also communion wine will not be served.

Earlier this year TechCrunch called for the ritual of the handshake to end, calling it a "relic of an older time." And one German city has "abolished" the practice stating that "We do not give you the hand, but we give you a smile."

source URL: http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/dpp/news/dpgo_Church_Wine_Swine_Flu_fc_20090908_3381375