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Catholic archbishops ask Taoiseach to allow people attend mass

The four archbishops have requested a meeting with Micheál Martin.

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin at a press conference at the World Meeting of Families today in the RDS in August 2018.
Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin at a press conference at the World Meeting of Families today in the RDS in August 2018.
Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

THE FOUR ARCHBISHOPS of Ireland have requested that people are allowed to start going to mass under Level 3 restrictions.

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 written to Taoiseach Micheál Martin seeking a meeting to discuss the issue.

Under Level 3 of Covid-19 restrictions, religious services have moved online. Places of worship remain open for private prayer.

Under Level 2, religious services for up to 50 worshipers can take place when with protective measures – such as appropriate social distancing, one-way traffic within the venue, and removal of communal prayer items – are in place.

In the letter, the archbishops say they fully respect public health guidelines, but that 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 states.

It adds: “These are not simply ‘gatherings’ of people, but profound expressions of who we are as a church.”

The archbishops also note 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 have requested a meeting with the Taoiseach in the coming days.

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Órla Ryan

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