Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said the time has come for the phased re-opening of England’s churches, and has questioned why they must remain closed even for private prayer.
In his homily for Pentecost Sunday, the cardinal says faith is a “vital contribution to our common good” that serves as a “motivation for the selfless care of the sick and dying”. It will also play a key role in the “rebuilding of our society,” he adds.
“This week’s announcement by the Prime Minister that some indoor sales premises can open [from Monday] and that most shops can open on 15 June, questions directly the reasons why our churches remain closed,” the cardinal says.
“We are told that these openings, which are to be carefully managed, are based on the need to encourage key activities to start up again. Why are churches excluded from this decision?”
Cardinal Nichols adds that churches can be re-opened safely, saying the Church has “developed expert guidance.”
“We are ready to follow the Government’s guidelines as soon as they are finalised. What is the risk to a person who sits quietly in a church which is being thoroughly cleaned, properly supervised and in which social distancing is maintained? The benefits of being able to access places of prayer is profound, on individual and family stability and, significantly, on their willingness to help others in their need.
“It is now time to move to the phased opening of our churches.”
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