SCOTLAND’S Catholic bishops have announced that no public Masses will be celebrated in Scotland until further notice.
The bishops said that priests would continue to celebrate Holy Mass in private, and churches in Scotland will remain open for personal prayer.
Some local parishes have the facility for live streaming of services, and this will be used and expanded on where possible - an alternative that is already proving popular in Ireland.
For the celebration of baptisms, funeral Masses and weddings the bishops have requested that only close family members attend.
In a Pastoral Letter issued by the Bishops' Conference of Scotland last week, the Bishops of Scotland say: “Given the official advice to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we have taken the difficult decision respecting the prudential judgement of each bishop to suspend Holy Mass in public for the time being.”
The bishops explain the background to the move, saying: “As pastors of the flocks entrusted to us, we are responding to an unprecedented crisis in modern times and assure all those whom we lead that this decision has not been taken without much prayer and discernment.
“Priests will continue to celebrate Holy Mass in private with the particular intention of praying for those suffering from COVID-19 and those who care for them. Our Churches will remain open for personal prayer.”
The letter is signed by Archbishop Leo Cushley, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, Bishop John Keenan, Bishop Brian McGee, Bishop Joseph Toal, Bishop William Nolan, Bishop Stephen Robson and Bishop Hugh Gilbert.