The Catholic Church has criticised England’s lockdown ban on religious services and called on the Government to provide “evidence that justifies the cessation of acts of public worship.”
UNDER the four-week lockdown, the majority of religious services will be prohibited, with the exception of funerals – though attendance will be restricted to a maximum of 30 people.
The Catholic Church Bishops’ Conference said the move is a cause of “deep anguish”.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP, president and vice-president of the association assured “communities have done a great deal to make our churches safe places in which all have been able to gather in supervised and disciplined ways”.
In a statement, the bishops added: “It is thus a source of deep anguish now that the Government is requiring, once again, the cessation of public communal worship.
“Whilst we understand the many difficult decisions facing the Government, we have not yet seen any evidence whatsoever that would make the banning of communal worship, with all its human costs, a productive part of combatting the virus.
“We ask the Government to produce this evidence that justifies the cessation of acts of public worship.”
PM Boris Johnson announced on Saturday, October 31, that England would move into a new lockdown from November 5 until December 2.
The strict measures mean the only reasons places of worship can remain open is for funerals, to broadcast acts of worship, individual prayer, formal childcare, or essential services such as blood donation or food banks.
The draft legislation will be placed before Parliament on Monday, November 2.
The bishops pointed out that “faith communities have played a vital role in sustaining personal, spiritual and mental health and encouraging vital charitable activities, which support hundreds of thousands of people in all sections of the community, especially the most vulnerable”.
They added that November 2 will provide Members of Parliament with the opportunity to “discuss the issues and vote on the proposed national restrictions”.
“In this short timeframe, questions can be raised with our elected Members of Parliament regarding the cessation of public common worship.”
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