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Tact and hygiene at the altar

11 April 2014


Your answers

What is the most tactful way to solve the problem of priests who cough into their hands or wipe their noses on their fingers before distributing holy communion?

A comment rather than answer: just hand them a tissue - if you feel that you can't tell them in the nicest possible way not to do that, please.

(Dr) Ursula Ostermann
Bonn, Germany

Many years ago I thought that the ritual I had been taught as a server, where the priest washes his hands after adjusting wafers, etc., was inappropriate. As an incumbent, I decided to ask the server to do the hand-washing before I touched the elements. I still do so in retirement. I have never come across a server who didn't want to. I recommend that your correspondent makes this suggestion to his or her clergy on grounds of prevention.

(The Revd) Russ Naylor

Why are there "Introits and Anthems" at the back of The English Hymnal, and what are we meant to do with them? [Answers, 4 April]

I remember, in the 1960s, visiting the print room at St Mary's Convent, Wantage, where the type for the four-line plainsong was expertly set up by dedicated nuns. Each printed page was then photocopied prior to binding two green-bound volumes entitled The Plainchant Gradual. The masterly English versions of Wantage are sung at high mass in St Mary's, Bourne Street, in London.

Martin Willson
Slough, Berks

Your questions

What should we do with unwanted books - theological and other topics - when downsizing for retirement, etc.? Secondhand- booksellers are very particular. It is very expensive to send books to missionary societies or to overseas churches. Charity shops are overflowing. A friend ran out of time and had to take many books to the tip. Any ideas?
M. W.

Why was the Parish Communion Movement so successful, changing the liturgical practice of much of the Church of England so quickly?
J. C.

Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.


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