Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Malcolm McMahon have urged Catholics to obey the government’s new guidelines forbidding public worship as England enters its second lockdown.
In a statement issued after MPs approved the new lockdown on Wednesday evening, the President and Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said that despite “profound misgivings”, it is important that “we, as responsible citizens, observe these Regulations, which have the force of law.”
The bishops cited Paul’s letter to Titus, in which the apostle writes: “Remind them to be obedient to the officials in authority; to be ready to do good at every opportunity.”
“We do this in solidarity with so many others on whom are being imposed restrictions,” the bishops added.
They said that the new regulations are “not an attack on religious belief”, but they do “demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of the essential contribution made by faith communities to the well-being, resilience and health of our society.”
The bishops concluded by calling on Catholics to make “full use” of churches for individual prayer and “sources of solace and help”.