It was reported that Catholic churches throughout Lagos have suspended the ‘Sign of Peace’ during mass because of the spread of Ebola virus. The ‘sign of peace’ is a symbol of peace in which the congregations shake hands while during mass, it is intended to demonstrate religious communion and mutual charity towards one another. It's about acceptance of your neighbor in the full spirit of Christ.
Nigeriafilms.com reporter attended a Catholic church in Ogun state on Sunday, when it was time for the priest to order the ‘Sign of Peace’, the Reverend Father skipped the part and which confirmed that the catholic church did not just suspend the act in Lagos alone, but in few other states, until the Ebola crisis was over.
In a statement released by the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Adewale Martins entitled: The Outbreak of Ebola Virus – a pastoral approach, he said the rite should be skipped
He said: “Taking into consideration the fact that this rite is optional, we shall henceforth omit it i.e. not invite people to offer the sign of peace. When you get to this rite, skip it. Note also, that the recent Circular from the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments acknowledged this when it stated: ‘It is completely legitimate to affirm that it is not necessary to invite ‘mechanistically’ to exchange the sign of peace.’
Recall that this ancient tradition dates back to the 2nd century writings of Justin Martyr, which was then symbolized with a kiss. Does this mean that the Ebola virus has put so much fear in citizens around the world that even a church can stop a rite that started thousand years ago?
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