I am about to get on my soapbox, so be prepared! You have been warned!
I go to the Catholic church for the Ohio State campus. They mainly are there for the students, but anyone can go. It’s where I went in college and it’s the best church I’ve ever been to. It’s mainly because of the community. Before Mass, everyone is sitting around talking to people and catching up. This usually transitions right into the opening song. Then the priest greets us all and encourages us to greet those around us. So there’s hand shaking and exchanging of names and “Hello”s. Later during the Our Father, almost everyone in the church ends up holding hands with someone else, across aisles and rows. It’s really great. After the Our Father there’s the exchange of peace when we shake hands with the people around us again.
But now, thanks to H1N1, this is all changing. They have been putting up hand sanitizer dispensers around the church and ask all the Eucharistic ministers to use them before coming up. Then yesterday I had to literally bite my tongue during Mass. After the homily, Fr. Chuck proceeded to explain to everyone why we didn’t greet each other like usual, that we wouldn’t be having the exchange of peace, reminding Eucharistic ministers to use the hand sanitizers and that they can be used by anyone who wants to as well. Everything will go back to normal when the H1N1 isn’t as big a deal anymore.
It is so frustrating to watch people be assured by such stupid precautions. By doing all of this it’s just going to make things worse.
It has been shown that our antibacterial-ness is just making the germs and viruses more resistant and worse. Avoiding a virus doesn’t help things either. I’m not saying that you should go and breath in deeply around people in the ICU with H1N1. I’m simply saying that your immune system needs to be exposed to these things in order to get stronger. I do agree that people with weak immune systems do need some extra help. But most of us have, relatively, healthy immune systems and don’t need to be worrying about vaccines and killing germs and avoiding the flu. Good old soap, non-antibacterial, and hot water will do wonders.
We have become a germaphobic country and it’s taking it’s toll. Why do you think people are getting sick more and easier? It’s a combination of our poor diets and our antibacterial tendencies. And this isn’t just my opinion. There are plenty of books and studies about both things. I used to use hand sanitizer and I worked at both McDonald’s and Arby’s and ate like crap while working there. I do admit that my diet while working at both places wasn’t because I had to eat the food, but I wanted to and didn’t make smart choices. But that’s for another time.
I’m not saying that people who get vaccines for themselves and their children are bad or evil or are going to get sick and die. I’m not condemning anyone for using hand sanitizer and antibacterial soaps. I’m not saying everyone should just go out and get H1N1 and get it over with. What I am saying is that people should have a choice. If you don’t want to shake hands at Mass, then don’t. If you want to use hand sanitizer, go ahead. Just don’t tell me that I have to avoid all physical contact and use hand sanitizer while I’m at church.
End of rant. 🙂