Police 'regret' shutting down Good Friday mass service in Catholic church

Police 'regret' shutting down Good Friday mass service in Catholic church

UK POLICE have said they 'regret' shutting down a Catholic church service in London on Good Friday.

Members from the Metropolitan Police Service shut down a mass service at Christ the King church on Balham High Road on Friday, 2 April, as it was found that those in attendance were not wearing masks and were not social distancing.

The service was streamed online, and a video of the incident showed a number of officers stopping the service and addressing the congregation from the altar, instructing them to leave the building as they were in breach of Covid-19 guidelines.

"Ladies and gentlemen this gathering is unfortunately unlawful under the coronavirus regulations we have currently," the officer told those present.

"You are not allowed to be inside with this many people under the law."

Unlike in Ireland, services in places of worship was allowed at the time, but numbers of those allowed to attend is limited.

However a representative of Polish Catholic Mission Balham, which runs the church, said the police "brutally exceeded their powers" when they shut down the service "for no good reason", the BBC reported at the time.

Now Detective Superintendent Andy Wadey has issued an apology of sorts to the congregation, appearing at the church again on Sunday to address those present and acknowledge that Covid-19 restrictions were challenging for religious communities, and while restrictions are necessary "many people were upset by what happened on Good Friday and we deeply regret that".

Officers involved had reflected and learned from what had happened, he added, the BBC reports.

In Ireland, in-person religious services remain banned under Covid-19 restrictions-- people may attend a church for private prayer, however all masses have been moved online.

An Irish priest was recently fined €500 for saying mass with parishioners present, however he said he will continue to "exercise [his] constitutional right" to say mass.