Distribution of ashes

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: A recent inquiry wondered if the administration of ashes could spread viruses. I have heard similar questions about consuming consecrated wine from the cup. I am a physician with 40+ years experience. Respiratory viruses like influenza, cold viruses, (and yes coronaviruses) are transmitted by coughing, sneezing, and especially contaminated hands (nose  to hand when blowing nose/ coughing/ etc.). 

Distribution of ashes or communion (either species) does not put others at risk. Changing practices displaces emphasis from what really matters:
1) Encouraging those with cold/flu symptoms to stay home if coughing
2) Cover cough if in church,
3) Sanitize hands after touching/blowing nose (applies to the celebrant too!)
4) No shaking hands if ill.


A: Thanks for this valuable contribution.


Q: The recent post on the liturgical dangers of the coronavirus may need checking, as to share the Chalice is surely the possibility of its spread, as the virus is spread through saliva. In his post, Dr said that there is no danger.


A: I am no expert in this field, so I’ll simply add your concern to his post for the benefit of the blog’s readers.