Swine Flu: The Musical

3 Comments

I am seriously considering the production of a stage play — Swine Flu in Oz: The Musical. It ought to go global in no time.

My idea is prompted by the announcement by the Catholic archbishop of Melbourne, Archbishop Hart, who's asked his diocesan priests to limit Communion to the Host alone, and not to offer chalices of wine until further notice. Additionally, Catholic churchgoers are to be asked to nod to each other rather than shake hands, and not, as some do, to hold hands while saying the Our Father, all to avoid the spread of swine flu.

Victoria, with its overwhelming share of swine flu cases, is clearly no longer 'The place to be'. But while prudence is one thing, absurdity also needs to be recognised.

While swine flu germs could adhere to the surfaces of chalices, why would they avoid the containers from which Hosts are distributed, the clothing of those distributing communion, money (truly 'filthy lucre'), collection plates, church door handles, pews, newsletters, stall benches and other surfaces?



How soon will we see people warned off using public telephones, and supermarket staff wiping down trolley handles, store doors and turnstiles, to say nothing of the various products that are picked up and handled by a forest of hands every hour? What of the cutlery in restaurants?

It should be a golden opportunity for the authorities to clean up our disgusting public toilets and to ensure that the simple rules of hygiene are posted and publicised in the press, radio and television (and churches?) year round, rather than being triggered only by the arrival of a mystery virus.

The Commonwealth Government website offering swine flu tips talks about if we 'must use' public transport, as though there are alternatives for millions of commuters who are reliant on it.

Where are the legions of cleaners we should see wiping down train, tram and bus door handles, to say nothing of the internal devices the standing crowds must clutch as they seek to stay on their feet in overcrowded vehicles?

Why aren't the transport providers handing out face masks? Don't they have a duty of care?. It would be cheaper for them (and parishes too) to buy in bulk rather than for commuters (and parishioners) to buy in handfuls.

When will we see people at surgeries and hospitals cleaning door handles, bed ends and chairs, lift buttons, and taxi door handles?

While would-be passengers on cruise liners are to be tested for infection before boarding, why isn't this also applying to plane and other public transport users?

Right now it's an embarrassment to be a Victorian, and, in a reluctant nod to my archbishop, it's needlessly even more so if one's a Catholic as well.


Brian Haill is a parishioner at St Francis Xavier Parish, Frankston, Vic.

 

 

 

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Existing comments

Ridiculing others who have to make serious decisions about how best to manage the spread of a virus that has in some cases proved fatal should be rejected as the ad hominem attack that it is. Mouth to Chalice contact is far more intimate and invasive than any of the other 'straw men' put up by Brian Hall. Archbishop Hart is a good and prudent man with a well-developed sense of social responsibility. You may not agree with him. But you should show him respect as a fine Archbishop and good pastor..
Fr John I Fleming | 04 June 2009


While we are on this topic I have often wondered why we have the statement in some Melbourne parish bulletins that "In this archdiocese we do not dip the host into the chalice", or words to that effect. But it is never said why we do not do this, or why we should not do it. There just seems to be a cosy assumption. Perhaps Father John, with respect to you you could enlighten me. Thanks.
Brian Dethridge | 04 June 2009


'Various types of belief can be implanted in many people after brain function has been deliberately disturbed by accidentally or deliberately induced fear, anger or excitement. Of the results caused by such disturbances, the most common one is temporarily impaired judgment and heightened suggestibility. Its various group manifestations are sometimes classed under the heading of 'herd instinct', and appear most spectacularly in wartime, during severe epidemics, and in all similar periods of common danger, which increase anxiety and so individual and mass suggestibility.'
'Various types of belief can be implanted in many people after brain function has been deliberately disturbed by accidentally or deliberately induced fear, anger or excitement. Of the results caused by such disturbances, the most common one is temporarily impaired judgment and heightened suggestibility. Its various group manifestations are sometimes classed under the heading of “herd instinct”, and appear most spectacularly in wartime, during severe epidemics, and in all similar periods of common danger, which increase anxiety and so individual and mass suggestibility.'
Dr William Sargant, a psychiatrist at the Tavistock Institute, wrote in his 1957 book, Battle For The Mind

I suggest you search WHY the government is participating in this little control exercise.






margaret | 12 June 2009


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