Catholic Church “fully supports” Covid efforts, Archbishop says

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The Catholic Church has “fully supported” the measures necessary to protect public health and welfare during the Covid-19 pandemic, Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell said ahead of the planned restart of First Communion and Church services. confirmation.

The Archbishop said he found it difficult to explain or justify why parents of children receiving the sacraments “cannot be trusted” to observe the guidelines of Covid-19 while other events, for which the households were allowed to mix, could take place.

However, he said, in light of a government statement on Friday pledging to ease restrictions soon, “I renewed my advice to parishes to postpone the celebration of the sacraments until September.”

Last Tuesday, the Archbishop sent a firm letter to priests criticizing the current restrictions and telling them they had permission to resume First Communions and Confirmations in the fall, notwithstanding government directives.

These guidelines advise that such religious ceremonies “should not take place at this time”.

The government said on Friday it “hopes to see these restrictions lifted in September,” subject to the public health situation at the time.

Commitment

A number of sources have said that the Taoiseach Micheál Martin intends to write to leaders of the Catholic Church to inform them of the decision. There will also be engagement with religious leaders over the next few months leading up to the resumption.

Speaking at the Vigil Mass at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral in Dublin on Saturday evening, Archbishop Farrell said: “In today’s second reading, the Ephesians are called, as disciples of Christ, to practice kindness, patience and forgiveness.

“In this spirit, I look forward to a resumption of the positive engagement between churches and public authorities, based on respect both for the protection of public health and for the responsible exercise of the freedom of worship. by those who are drawn to “the bread of life”.

A number of Catholic bishops have already given the green light for communions and confirmations to take place in their dioceses later this month, in defiance of directives.

Archbishop Farrell – who was officially conferred at Mass as Metropolitan of the Archdiocese – said in his homily that this has been “a source of deep frustration for many families and for parish communities, that for so long months they have not been able to celebrate the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation ”.

“They were puzzled, like me, that of all types of events that could give rise to mixtures between households, it is only these sacraments that are prohibited by public guidelines,” he said.

“In all other aspects of life, whether it’s family celebrations of birthdays or anniversaries, or fans getting together to watch sporting events, or even after weddings and funerals, we trust people and are expected to adhere to household mixing guidelines.

“Households are allowed to mix, in homes and in restaurants, so as to take into account the age and immunization status of those present. I find it hard to explain, or justify, that only parents of children receiving the sacraments are not trustworthy to keep these guidelines. “

Frustration

As he supported the postponement of First Communions and Confirmations until next month, Archbishop Farrell said: “I can understand, however, the frustration and resentment of those who feel that the public guidelines are unfair and discriminatory. “

Highlighting how the Church had complied with public health efforts throughout the pandemic, he added: “We have encouraged the faithful to view the recent restrictions on public worship as a form of self-sacrifice, allowing them to to perform Christian service.

“Likewise, we encourage all who are eligible to get vaccinated for their own good and to help protect others. ”

He said that when public worship was allowed again, parish communities rose to the challenge of “welcoming the faithful to celebrate safely and responsibly, with scrupulous concern for numbers, social distancing and l ‘sanitation’.

“Likewise, we urge everyone to be responsible for their behavior outside the Church, especially in following guidelines regarding socialization between households. “


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