ANY REINSTATEMENT of public Masses ahead of schedule would be “grossly irresponsible”, a group representing Catholic Priests in Ireland has warned.
Under the current government guidelines, public Masses are due to be reinstated on July 20, provided COVID-19 cases numbers in Ireland continue to decline.
However, there have been calls among certain religious groups for Masses to be exempt from these rules and reopened earlier than planned.
The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP), which represents more than 1,000 priests across Ireland, has condemned calls for public masses to be reinstated ahead of, warning that any early restart would “lead to loss of life”.
In a statement issued over the weekend, the ACP hit out at those pushing for any early reopenings as "promoting their own self-serving and self-interested agendas".
“In these circumstances, leaders in Irish society – not least the leaders of the Christian churches – will be expected to give a robust and responsible example,” the ACP said.
“Efforts at present effectively demanding that churches be kept open, that public Masses be reinstated and that ‘rights’ to pray in churches be upheld are being canvassed by individuals and groups with their own self-serving and self-interested agendas.
“In the present context, gathering people together – especially elderly people who are most at risk – is grossly irresponsible and will lead to great pain, suffering and loss of life for many individuals and families, so churches or religious groups claiming entitlement to special treatment is inappropriate and unacceptable.
“As Christians, particularly in these difficult days, we need to be selfless rather than selfish, and focused on the needs of others, (especially the elderly and vulnerable) rather than on our own ‘rights’.
“At this point in the on-going coronavirus pandemic, moral responsibility trumps our individual rights.”