Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Friday 8 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Twitter/CatholicBishops Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell.

Archbishop of Dublin: Easing Mass restrictions 'has better Constitutional claim than powerful commercial interests'

Archbishop Dermot Farrell made the case in a St. Patrick’s Day message.

THE CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP of Dublin has said the easing of restrictions on Mass attendance “has a better statutory claim” than other activities that are “pressed by powerful commercial interests”. 

In a St. Patrick’s Day message, Archbishop Dermot Farrell also described the limit on funeral attendance to 10 people as “harsh and unfair”, repeating previous requests from the church to ease restrictions on funerals

Under the current Level 5 restrictions, 10 mourners are allowed attend funerals, six guests can attend weddings but public Mass cannot take place, with worshippers being  forced to follow Mass online.  

In a homily today, Farrell said that the right of people to worship in public must be considered when restrictions are being eased. He also suggested that other “powerful” business groups may press government for restrictions to be eased but that religious worship has a better legal claim. 

“The planned exit from the current severe restrictions is being watched by many citizens who expect their religious practice to be respected by the public authorities, and not be subordinated to commercial interests,” he said.

The archbishop pointed to Article 44 of the Irish Constitution which acknowledges that  “the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God” and should be respected. 

Farrell argues that the numbers allowed to worship “cannot be randomly determined as if were some mathematical formula”.

“This is about people: the protection of people’s health, and the fostering of people’s wellbeing,” he said.

While a balance must be struck, easing restrictions on worship has a better founded statutory claim than other activities which may be pressed by powerful commercial interests. 

“Worship has a clear human priority over other activities that do not possess that priority of themselves.

“In particular, the restriction on attendance at funerals to 10 people is harsh and unfair,” he added.

Close family members are frequently denied the right to be present in Church at the funeral of their loved ones: at times, people who have been with the deceased for years. This is tolerable only in the most extreme circumstances, and for the shortest possible period.

Speaking last week, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that the government would “love to” increase the numbers at funerals, adding that the issue was not with the church Mass. 

“In a big church you can space people very well. But there is very strong evidence that everything else that happens in around weddings and funerals is a problem,” he said.

“It’s just the nature of the events people want to go back to the house for a cup of tea, they want to shake hands, they want to share hugs.”

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel