Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Universe garbles story about H1N1

Texas, to the North and East of Mexico.
An alert reader from the USA has identified the source of the story about H1N1 ('Swine Flu') which appeared last weekend in the Catholic Universe, which I, thinking it was a bit fishy, reported verbatim on this blog.

I realise that all newspapers make mistakes, but this is real howler. Cheerily chopping out the 'TX' for 'Texas' in the opening line of the story, the subeditor began to wonder where exactly the story is from. Seeing a reference to 'Rio Grande', he jumped to the conclusion it was about Mexico. Mexico! Has the Universe not caught up with Texas' independence from Mexico in 1835?

Then the story has been made to say that Communion has been suspended completely, and not just the Chalice, which is completely wrong.

Even more troubling, from a professional point of view, the reference to the news agency which composed the story in the first place, and the journalist (Ms) Alex Stockwell, has been chopped, even though it is clearly just a (badly) edited version of it. Are newspapers supposed to do this?

Come on, Editor Joseph Kelley! Let's have a correction.

Original story: The H1N1 virus is spreading rapidly across the Valley, prompting everyone from doctors to teachers and now priests to take extra steps in preventing the illness from infecting more people.


In a traditional Catholic Mass, the Precious Body and Blood of Christ are consumed by parishioners, but with the H1N1 flu, some churches are not serving the Blood of Christ, which is taken from a communal chalice.
Chilies are eaten in both places,
so perhaps it doesn't matter.

Universe version: Rio Grande: Growing concern over the spread of the H1N1 virus has prompted the Mexican Church to change the way the Mass is delivered. To prevent the transfer of the virus, some priests are not serving the Blood of Christ from a communal chalice, while others have have further and stopped giving Communion completely. 

Original story: "Some parishes, because of the epidemics or for logistical reasons, decide not to have communion under both species," said Rev. Msgr. Heberto Diaz of the Diocese of Brownsville.  "And that's up to the local pastor of each of the parishes.  If someone is ill, then they shouldn't receive from the chalice."

Universe version: "Some parishes have decided not to have Communion," said Rev Mgr Heberto Diaz of the diocese of Brownsville. "And that's up to the local pastor of each of the parishes. If someone is ill, then they shouldn't receive from the chalice." 

Original story: Another custom in Mass that is being adjusted is the "Sign of Peace" before Communion, where people shake hands with one another and wish each other peace.

"In the past when we had this H1N1 epidemic, what we did is we asked people if they were sick not to shake hands with each other but to maybe bow as a form, as a gesture of like shaking hands, of community," explained Rev. Msgr. Diaz.

Universe version: Parishioners are also being discouraged from shaking hands at the 'Sign of Peace' before Communion, which can also transfer the H1N1 virus. 

Original story:  Monsignor Diaz says the best way that churches can help the spread of the flu virus is by reminding parishioners that it's perfectly fine to miss church if they are sick.
"It's not a sin to not come to church on Sunday if you're ill, so that's another thing people really need to know if they're ill or if they feel like they could be contagious to others."

When the Mexican attempt to regain control of Texas
was defeated, in 1836. Texas joined the USA in 1845.
Universe version: Mgr Diaz says the best way that churches can help prevent the spread of the flu virus is by reminding parishioners that it's perfectly fine to miss church if they are sick. "It's not a sin not to come to church on Sunday if you're ill, or if you feel you could be contagious to others," he said.

2 comments:

  1. Over sixty years ago I heard a priest refer to the Universe as " a sacristy gossip rag".

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Universe has its good points (e.g. Caroline Farrow) but also its very bad points (Sean McDonagh, the so-called eco-cleric).

    ReplyDelete