IRELAND’S FOUR archbishops are calling for the public to be granted leve to attend mass as part of the country’s Level 3 restrictions.
In a letter to Micheál Martin, Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary and Archbishop of Cashel and Emly Kieran O’Reilly have called for a meeting with the Taoiseach to discuss the issue.
At present, Ireland’s Level 3 Covid-19 restrictions prohibit anyone from attending a religious service in person at a church.
While places of worship remain open and available for private prayer, services have been moved online in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
One possible solution could see churches operating under Level 2 restrictions.
Under a Level 2 lockdown rules, religious services are allowed for groups of up to 50 worshippers, provided protective measures like social distancing and the removal of communal prayer items are put in place.
In the letter written to Martin, the archbishops acknowledge the importance of the government’s public health guidelines but argued that face-to-face religious services provide “essential spiritual nourishment” for parishioners.
“We wish to engage constructively with the civil authorities to ensure that our people have continued access to the support of Mass and the Sacraments and essential spiritual nourishment for these challenging times,” the letter explains
“These are not simply ‘gatherings’ of people, but profound expressions of who we are as a church.”
The archbishops add they are “acutely aware that for parishes and individual Catholics the loss of these spiritual supports can be a source of great anxiety and fear, and can have a detrimental impact on their overall health and well-being”.
They are hoping to meet with the Taoiseach in the next few days.