The chief of the Irish Catholic Church is looking for an urgent meeting with the Irish government over what he calls a“draconian“ ban on public Mass..
Archbishop Eamon Martin accused the government of behaving in a“clandestine manner without consultation or notice“.
Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly signed a regulation last week allowing only virtual religious services due to the pandemic.
The archbishops said they believed his actions“a violation of trust“.
They are seeking legal information.
In a statement, Archbishop Martin said he became aware on Friday that a statutory instrument was released last week on the issue.
picture captionA priest celebrating a internet Mass in a vacant church during the first lockdown last year
He called the move both“provocative“ and“draconian“, adding the legislation was“confusing and unnecessary“.
„The precise provisions are uncertain and initially reading seem to be draconian, moving further than the limitations we have been cooperating with during the pandemic so far,“ he said.
„We will be looking for legal counsel to advise several questions regarding the extent of the legal instrument“
Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Micheál Martin met Irish bishops, including Archbishop Martin, on Thursday, 15 April.
Archbishop Martin stated it was highly disappointing that despite the reassurances given that the taoiseach knew the importance of worship to the people of Ireland, this statutory instrument was released“in a clandestine fashion and without notice or consultation“.
The Irish health minister has defended the recent limitations on Mass, saying there’s a ban on most big indoor parties due to the risks introduced by Covid-19.
Irish broadcaster RTÉ has reported Mr Donnelly said he was aware that it was a severe imposition for a good deal of individuals and whenever public health advice deemed it secure, public Mass could be allowed.
In addition, he said he would be delighted to satisfy the bishops.
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