There is good reason why there have been demonstrations in France, Italy and the US and petitions raised nearer to home at the prohibition of Mass and that is because it lacks logic or fairness.
I must admit that I haven’t seen how other countries organise their services, but I have here in England. The requirements imposed on celebrating Mass when it was allowed were strict, indeed probably stricter than needed. Having been a steward at my local Church I’ve read the guidance, completed the forms, put up the notices and checked and re-checked the systems.
There have been limits on how many people could be in a Church, sign-in sheets recording names and contact details, hand sanitiser aplenty, pews wiped before and after, no singing, mandatory face mask wearing and so on.
A lot of the provisions were more about reassuring frightened, vulnerable parishioners than actually keeping the virus at bay. Certainly there is no doubt Covid-19 is a destructive destroyer of lives and of course we need to take sensible precautions to keep it in check until a vaccine is available.
Having had an up-close view of the controls in place in our Churches, it’s more than interesting to contrast them with the abundant open supermarkets. I’ve not been in any supermarket in the last nine months, and yes I’ve visited many, that had as draconian measures as the Churches I’ve attended.
To answer Niall Gooch’s article, no, Churches can’t “become comparatively high-risk”. They are and would remain very low risk.
So to answer Niall Gooch’s article, no, Churches can’t “become comparatively high-risk”. They are and would remain very low risk.
But then isn’t that true of much of the government’s pronouncements; require that abundant (and frequently expensive) excessive measures to be taken then say that doesn’t matter, you’re closing anyway?
But some might say it’s about minimising people mixing. Really? Aside from the aforementioned supermarkets what about the large huddles of parents waiting outside the primary schools to collect their children? Folks chatting outside the takeaways? What are the real criteria? Where is the logic?
What I think we are really witnessing is a State that doesn’t do God. A State that equates Church attendance with going to a football match or some other lifestyle choice. The great god of commerce, at least as far as the sell-all super supermarket is concerned, is a necessity; being in the real presence of our maker is not. Buy your bread and wine at the shop but don’t think you can be anywhere near the transubstantiated form.
What can we do? Well let’s start with the power of prayer. Let’s put a Mass offering in an envelope asking for prayers for the PM.
Now you could be forgiven for thinking that a Prime Minister who had his son baptised in a Catholic Church or a Leader of the House who is known to be a devout Catholic might see the illogical stance of this prohibition but then again … Perhaps like so many, they think the Sacrament is just a symbol, a token, nothing more? If that’s the case then you can see why praying at home is OK. Why just following the Mass on the TV is acceptable.
Hopefully the Christian leaders who have given notice they will be taking the government to court will be successful, but Catholics who believe in the Blessed Sacrament had better start making some noise and lobbying their MPs because otherwise our “lifestyle choice” will forever be consigned to an importance on a par with playing dominos.
I was tempted to leave this article at that but then how should Catholics make a noise? What can we do? Well let’s start with the power of prayer. Let’s put a Mass offering in an envelope asking for prayers for the PM and his government to have their eyes opened then push it through the Presbytery letterbox (I know the priests will also welcome the much-needed contribution to Parish finances).