Medical Opinion on Reception of Holy Communion.
Members may be interested in this letter from a doctor in Canada who has written to her archbishop about measures to be taken in the event of a flu' pandemic. Many dioceses around the world have imposed restrictions on the reception of Holy Communion and these restrictions always apply to the traditional method of reception on the tongue. The doctor has given me permission to publish her letter but the personal details have been removed because it is the content that will be of particular interest rather than the names of the individuals. Now that a medical opinion has been expressed on this contentious issue perhaps we may be able to have a more informed debate rather than endure the knee-jerk reaction that has seemed to many to be a convenient excuse to ban reception of holy Communion on the tongue.
Dear Archbishop ..............:
As a Catholic doctor and specialist who will be on the front line during a pandemic, I feel compelled to offer my comments on your preparation plan, as presented in the Brandon Sun and Winnipeg Free Press. Specifically phase 2 is of concern. A pandemic plan should be consistent with scientific evidence and with directives from the Department of Health. Dr. Joel Kettner, Chief Officer of Health, province of Manitoba, has indicated that the measures taken by the Church are not the ones he is issuing. To quote Dr. Kettner: "this is their own independent decision-making. I have not given any advice to change your usual practises" ( Brandon Sun Sept 26/09).
Furthermore there is no published evidence based literature indicating that either communion in the hand or communion on the tongue constitute a health risk. To arbitrarily disallow the age old custom of communion on the tongue under the guise of health is inaccurate and represents an infringement on the individual freedom of the communicant as granted by the universal Church. I therefore respectfully request your reconsideration of Phase II.
Sincerely .............. M.D. FRCP(C)
cc: Council of Priests