Monday, 8 January 2018

The Fifth Horseperson of the Apocalypse

A Roman Catholic diocese in Northern Ireland has suspended the sign of peace and sharing from a common communion cup as part of its response to the H3N2 flu epidemic.

Very wise - especially the sign of peace. Although a Californian diocese has said "nodding and smiling are enough", I can't help thinking that is terribly un-English. If churches in England adopt these measures - and obviously they should - the obvious approach is for people to look at their own feet.

But what is this?  "Other churches told parishioners not to hold hands during the Our Father". Who introduced this? Who thought this a good idea?

Every now and then I have to sort out the Beaker Folk's tendency to touchy-feeliness. But the worse anyone has ever suggested in the line of holding hands during services is at the Dismissal. The Our Father?  No wonder the Catholics drop the last couple of lines. Otherwise surely that would be too much to bear.

In these flu-ridden times it is clear that too much bodily contact is to be discouraged. I mean, when you've got Burton Dasset around it's to be discouraged at the best of times. But from now on, the Beaker official worship dress code is "bio-hazard". Then people can hold hands as much - or little - as they want. There's nothing getting through.

"And also with you"

Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.


  1. I don't know where the practice of holding hands with your neighbour during the Our Father came from, but I wish it would go back there. Nothing more conducive to worship than having your hand unexpectedly, sweatily gripped and held by a strange guy from Hallowed be thy Name to Deliver Us From Evil. If you are a man, of course; some ladies might like it?

    BTW, what do you think of this idea of the Pope's that Lead us not into temptation should be changed? Apparently the French already have - well, they would, wouldn't they. But we have been saying Lead us not since the 8th century at least (ne gelæd þu hus) and they will have to use force as far as I am concerned to get me to change now.

  2. fist-bumps are safer than shaking hands, apparently.


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