Blame the coronavirus. Details from CNS: 

Amid continuing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, Catholics in the Philippines have been asked not to kiss or touch the cross when they venerate it on Good Friday, April 10.

Instead, they should “genuflect or make a profound bow” before the cross during the veneration of the cross, according to updated liturgical guidelines issued Feb. 20 by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and posted on Twitter.

Already in January, the bishops’ conference advised priests to distribute the Eucharist in communicants’ hands rather than their mouths, to place protective cloths over the screens of confessionals and to change the holy water in church fonts regularly. The conference also asked the faithful not to hold hands during the “Our Father” and not to shake hands during the sign of peace.

In the new guidelines, which the bishops’ conference said it “strongly recommends” following, priests were asked to distribute ashes on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 26, by “dropping or sprinkling a small portion of blessed ash on the crown of the head of the faithful,” rather than rubbing them on the person’s forehead.

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