Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Parishioners back ban on 'sign of peace'

PARISHIONERS in a diocese where Mass-goers have been asked to stop giving the 'sign of peace' as an anti-swine flu precaution have backed the measure.

Locals attending Mass Sunday morning in Cork city supported the decision to allow the suspension of the ritual handshake for the foreseeable future.

It came after the Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr John Buckley, advised on the measure after public concerns over the spread of the virus which has been treated in 150 cases in this country.

Mass-goers at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Ballinlough Road, on Sunday were not asked to exchange the 'sign of peace', with this part of the ceremony skipped over.

Speaking after the service, locals voiced support for the decision, but also played down the sign of the peace's significance, stressing that the handshake had never been a compulsory part of the Mass.

"I think it's a good idea, it makes a lot of sense to be careful. People are very concerned about the swine flu, and if that helps, then I'm for it," said one female church-goer.

A similar position was adopted in the diocese of Derry in May.

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