Diocese stops communion wine over swine flu

The Catholic Diocese of Plymouth has warned its churches not to offer wine during Communion to help stop the spread of swine flu.

The Diocese has written to all churches suggesting they offer only bread or wafers after two cases of the virus were confirmed in the city.

Letters were sent out last week advising priests against using a chalice filled with wine.

Michael Fay, communications officer for the Diocese of Plymouth, said: "The bishops discussed it and it was left to individual dioceses to decide on what measures they would take."

He said the Right Rev Christopher Budd, Roman Catholic Bishop of Plymouth, has taken the decision to remove wine as "a temporary measure".

He said: "He thought it was prudent to recommend that wine not be offered in the form of blood in the chalice."

The Plymouth Diocese covers much of south-west England, serving Cornwall, Devon and Dorset.

It has 93 parishes and is divided into five deaneries: Cornwall, Plymouth, Torbay, Exeter and North and East Devon, and Dorset.