Swine flu: ritual wine halted

CATHOLIC church in Exmouth – concerned about swine flu – has stopped the ritual of offering wine to its congregation to help prevent the virus from spreading.

CATHOLIC church in Exmouth - concerned about swine flu - has stopped the ritual of offering wine to its congregation to help prevent the virus from spreading.

The Holy Ghost Church, Raddenstile Lane, is to offer only bread and no longer a holy chalice drink as part of the sacred custom.

A spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Plymouth said letters were sent out to places of worship last weekend, advising priests that the ritual should not be followed at the moment.

The diocese of Plymouth and its bishop, Christopher Budd, administers churches in Devon.

Meanwhile, a statement on the Catholic Church in England and Wales website, said: "As members of the church, it is right that we take every reasonable care of each other's well-being.

"At the present time, for example, we should take those precautions which help avoid spreading the virus."

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The respiratory disease, which emerged in Mexico and spread across the world, is the first flu pandemic for 40 years.