Bishop Cullinan says that Government’s ‘dismissive’ approach to celebration of public Mass is not good enough

“Services will be held Online”

“Services will be held Online”; With this one phrase the guidelines for Level 3-5 of the national plan have dismissed the real need that thousands of faithful around this country have for the Eucharist. After weeks of lockdown earlier this year and then again under Level 3 and after trojan work on behalf of priests and people to make our church buildings ultra-safe with regard to Covid-19, the faithful are again prevented from going to Mass. The reasoning for this has not been given in any adequate way. A dismissive one-liner is not good enough. Ireland is the only country in Europe where people cannot get to Mass. While availing of Mass online is beneficial it is no substitute for being physically present. There is huge frustration among people of faith because they feel prevented from worshipping as they need to.

I believe that we in the Church, have taken these restrictions far too easily and have not paid sufficient attention to the huge cost of these restrictions for ordinary people in different ways -spiritually, mentally and economically. Our government has a very difficult job but it must hear the message loud and clear that lockdown is crushing many people including people of faith who believe that the practice of one’s faith in public is an essential service.

Most Reverend Alphonsus Cullinan, DD,

Bishop of Waterford and Lismore.