ARUA. The Catholic church of Arua is considering giving gloves to main celebrants if the threat posed by Ebola escalates.
The move was revealed to journalists by Monsignor Kasto Adeti, the Vicar General of Arua Catholic Diocese in his office on Thursday.
According to Adeti, the gloves will help to protect Priests (main celebrants) from direct contact with Christians especially while presiding over holy sacraments like Baptism, Confirmation and at the time of distributing the Holy Communion.
“We are alert of this issue of Ebola being a big threat here in our Diocese, so we have tried to take some measures of preventing Ebola in our Churches in particular by sensitizing Christians about the dangers of Ebola since we are bordering DR Congo where the disease has killed very many people,” Adeti said.
He stressed that Ebola is contracted mainly through contact and as a result, the church in Arua has encouraged its Christians to desist from the handshake and instead wave at each other as a sign of peace.
Adeti also noted that they have gone ahead to provide handwashing facilities for Christians at every church to first wash their hands before attending church services.
He, however, observed that if the Ebola threat continues, the church will not hesitate to provide gloves for main celebrants to prevent them from direct contact with Christians at the time of anointment.
“If the Ebola threat continues, we shall also adjust to the situation and consider giving gloves to the main celebrants to protect them from the epidemic. This is during the time of Baptism, Confirmation and at the time of distributing the Holy Communion,” Adeti said.
“Since the most basic thing is the coming in contact with somebody, like the case of Baptism, there is a lot of contact, Confirmation is also like that and the Holy Communion which is between the Priest and the individual, we shall consider providing gloves to Priests if the threat intensifies,” Adeti added.
But when contacted on phone, Fr Lazarus Ijoyi, one of the Priests attached to Arua Catholic Diocese said Adeti’s intention of issuing gloves to Priests on the Alter is null and void in the Catholic Faith.
Fr Ijoyi maintained that as Catholics, they believe in the Holy Bible, the Rosary and the Holy Spirit as opposed to materialistic things like gloves and guns.
“We trust the power of God and we believe that he protects us in our lifetime. There is nothing like putting gloves on the hands of Priests because it sounds unchristian. If you believe in the power of God, you can’t put on gloves in order to protect yourself from diseases,” Ijoyi argued.
“Imagine a Priest putting on gloves to distribute the Holy Communion which we consider to be the body of Jesus Christ. That means the Priest is surrendering Jesus Christ to an Ebola-infected mouth for the sake of protecting himself in gloved hands which is very wrong,” Ijoyi said.
Fr. Ijoyi said much as he is aware that certain precautions are meant to save people from infections, it shouldn’t go to the extent of covering Priests’ hands with gloves.
Meanwhile, Mr Martin Andua, a Christian of Arua Christ the King church in Arua town also doubted whether the Church should go to the point of dressing Priests’ fingers in gloves instead of encouraging them to wash their hands with detergents before service.