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Irish Archbishops call for Catholics to be allowed to attend Mass

  • 08-10-2020 10:43pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    As reported in the Irish Times:
    The four Catholic archbishops of Ireland have requested a meeting with Taoiseach Micheál Martin to address concerns about the loss of mass services during Covid-19 restrictions.

    Under Level 3 all religious services must move online, although places of worship can remain open for private prayer.

    However, a letter from the Archbishops points out that communal celebration of Mass and the Sacraments, even with restricted numbers, “is at the very heart of what it means for us to be a Christian community”.

    “We wish to engage constructively with the civil authorities to ensure that our people have continued access to the support of Mass and the Sacraments and essential spiritual nourishment for these challenging times,” it says.
    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/catholic-archbishops-request-meeting-with-taoiseach-about-loss-of-mass-services-1.4376119

    The Bishops have been slow to raise this call but I am glad they have. The Church has put a massive effort into making sure that Mass is safe, and I am sure more efforts can be made if required.

    Many Catholic churches are massive buildings with multiple entrances and exits, than can, normally, hold many hundreds of people. I think Mass is perfectly safe to go ahead in buildings like these with a limited number of people attending, with assigned seating etc. in place to ensure physical distancing, and masks. Churches are already set up like this and have been operating safely. Certainly far safer than schools!

    For many people communal religious worship is an "essential". This is especially the case for Catholics as due to the nature of the Mass, "virtual" or online attendance is no substitute. This is recognized in essentially every other country where attending Mass is not effectively banned. Ireland is certainly an outlier in this regard.

    Hopefully the Archbishops will be successful in persuading the government, I think we should all support their efforts. I would encourage people to lobby their local TDs about it.


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Comments

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    It strikes me that there is more likely a fear that many who habitually attend mass will stop doing so once they realise that it’s a habit and not something they do with deliberation each week.

    The cynical may also wonder if there are concerns regarding reduced collections amongst those who count the beans.

    In any case, this is another of those occasions when we have an opportunity to see how the views of the catholic church leadership are very much at odds with the wisdom and guidance of those appointed to represent and protect the wellbeing of all citizens.

    “We know best” no longer stands up, especially when prayer does nothing to prevent viral infection of congregants and when ultimately it’s a terrible idea to assemble in a closed space with many others for 40ish minutes.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    JayZeus wrote: »
    It strikes me that there is more likely a fear that many who habitually attend mass will stop doing so once they realise that it’s a habit and not something they do with deliberation each week.
    This doesn't seem to add up, because the Sunday Obligation has been lifted for like over 6 months now. The Church are literally saying that people don't have to go every Sunday as they normally would.
    The cynical may also wonder if there are concerns regarding reduced collections amongst those who count the beans.
    If small numbers, as envisioned, are going it would probably be cheaper, especially over winter, to keep the Churches shut and not need heating and to continue collecting through envelopes and dues as has been happening anyway.
    In any case, this is another of those occasions when we have an opportunity to see how the views of the catholic church leadership are very much at odds with the wisdom and guidance of those appointed to represent and protect the wellbeing of all citizens.
    Ireland are the only country which saw fit to ban Mass attendance. Surely it is the government who are at odds?
    “We know best” no longer stands up, especially when prayer does nothing to prevent viral infection of congregants and when ultimately it’s a terrible idea to assemble in a closed space with many others for 40ish minutes.
    Who claimed prayer would stop infections at Mass? Schools can open but not large churches?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    Further to the above, it is important to make the point that many Catholics like going to Mass and get a lot out of it. (as incomprehensible as that may be to some). In fact, it is incredibly important to many, "like" is an inadequate word.

    It is my opinion, that if anything, the Archbishops have felt a lot of pressure from the laity to make this move.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,497 ✭✭✭ antiskeptic


    Further to the above, it is important to make the point that many Catholics like going to Mass and get a lot out of it. (as incomprehensible as that may be to some). In fact, it is incredibly important to many, "like" is an inadequate word.

    It is my opinion, that if anything, the Archbishops have felt a lot of pressure from the laity to make this move.

    Although i understand your view and think mass could be handled, given the space available, you are dealing with an age profile who were being advised to cocoon. Mass appears to lie somewhere well away from the cocoon idea


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,623 ✭✭✭ GarIT


    I don't see why some people should be allowed go to mass why others aren't allowed meet their family, play sport or go to the cinema.

    The cinema or a play is probably the best comparison to a church, if they can't open a church shouldn't.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    Although i understand your view and think mass could be handled, given the space available, you are dealing with an age profile who were being advised to cocoon. Mass appears to lie somewhere well away from the cocoon idea
    Given that the Sunday Obligation has been lifted, it is very much in the hands of an individual to decide if they feel safe enough to go. Lots of people outside of the cocooning category go to Mass.

    Like supermarkets, there could be designated special times for cocooners.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    GarIT wrote: »
    I don't see why some people should be allowed go to mass why others aren't allowed meet their family, play sport or go to the cinema.

    The cinema or a play is probably the best comparison to a church, if they can't open a church shouldn't.
    No, cinema or the theater is not a close comparison for any form of religious worship, especially the Mass. Why is Ireland pretty much the only country in the world that has saw fit to ban mass? What is the logic in banning mass yet cramming schoolchildren into classrooms?


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,623 ✭✭✭ GarIT


    No, cinema or the theater is not a close comparison for any form of religious worship, especially the Mass. Why is Ireland pretty much the only country in the world that has saw fit to ban mass? What is the logic in banning mass yet cramming schoolchildren into classrooms?

    How isn't it? They both have rows of fixed seating in a large room or building. In what way are they different?

    It has been accepted that schools aren't completely safe but that they are necessary. And the ages attending school are in the range that aren't terribly affected by the virus. And classes have fixed attendance, you can send a class home if someone gets it. If you closed every church where a parishioner had it most churches would be closed anyway.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,357 ✭✭✭✭ Hello 2D Person Below


    At least cinemas pay taxes and have staff to pay who have families to feed.

    Cinemas are of far greater importance.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    GarIT wrote: »
    How isn't it? They both have rows of fixed seating in a large room or building. In what way are they different?
    The fundamental nature of what is taking place, and why people are there. Your comment is a bit like me saying what is the difference between going to a church and the supermarket or a shopping center, sure they are in a large building aren't they? It's disingenuous.

    Ireland are pretty much the only country that have effectively banned religious worship and the celebration of Mass.

    Under level 3 I can get my hair cut in a barbers but am banned from Mass. where is the logic?


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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,355 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl


    No, cinema or the theater is not a close comparison for any form of religious worship, especially the Mass. Why is Ireland pretty much the only country in the world that has saw fit to ban mass? What is the logic in banning mass yet cramming schoolchildren into classrooms?

    Cynically perhaps, I'd say it is that schools are also the de facto childcare which enables parents to keep working and the economy to function, albeit at a reduced capacity. Somewhat less cynically, I would imagine very many parents place great value on their children's education. On the basis of declining mass numbers in recent years, this would seem to be less the case for mass attendance.

    I tend to agree that there are many more important things to our society than cinemas, and for some that includes attending mass.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,623 ✭✭✭ GarIT


    The fundamental nature of what is taking place, and why people are there. Your comment is a bit like me saying what is the difference between going to a church and the supermarket or a shopping center, sure they are in a large building aren't they? It's disingenuous.

    Ireland are pretty much the only country that have effectively banned religious worship and the celebration of Mass.

    Under level 3 I can get my hair cut in a barbers but am banned from Mass. where is the logic?

    The virus doesn't care about what is taking place it only cares about the distances between people and the circulation of air. The difference between a supermarket and a church is a supermarket doesn't have everyone sitting in rows of seats and a church doesn't provide something essential to life.

    Ireland it taking a stronger approach than most countries on everything.

    Hair cuts are needed for hygiene and we would damage the economy if we closed them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,357 ✭✭✭✭ Hello 2D Person Below


    The fundamental nature of what is taking place, and why people are there. Your comment is a bit like me saying what is the difference between going to a church and the supermarket or a shopping center, sure they are in a large building aren't they? It's disingenuous.

    Ireland are pretty much the only country that have effectively banned religious worship and the celebration of Mass.

    Under level 3 I can get my hair cut in a barbers but am banned from Mass. where is the logic?

    The barber pays taxes, has rent to pay, bills to pay, helps keeping the economy chugging along.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    GarIT wrote: »
    The virus doesn't care about what is taking place it only cares about the distances between people and the circulation of air. The difference between a supermarket and a church is a supermarket doesn't have everyone sitting in rows of seats and a church doesn't provide something essential to life.

    Ireland it taking a stronger approach than most countries on everything.

    Hair cuts are needed for hygiene and we would damage the economy if we closed them.
    Everyone is spaced out in pews and more than 2 meters away from each other. Some churches have removed pews in favour of chairs to facilitate physical distancing.

    For many people their faith is essential, and this has been recognised in most of the world which have not banned worship. I am sure the Archbishops will be making this argument, and I hope they will be successful.

    I'm not in favour of closing barbers because I agree with you, but if its safe to get my hair cut its safe to go to Mass. (Incidentally I cut my own hair!)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    The barber pays taxes, has rent to pay, bills to pay, helps keeping the economy chugging along.
    The Church also has many employees and bills and contributes to the economy. But I don't agree with your line of argument, why should any business be closed, following your logic, as they contribute to the economy?


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,355 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl


    At least cinemas pay taxes and have staff to pay who have families to feed.

    Cinemas are of far greater importance.
    The barber pays taxes, has rent to pay, bills to pay, helps keeping the economy chugging along.
    The Church also has many employees and bills and contributes to the economy. But I don't agree with your line of argument, why should any business be closed, following your logic, as they contribute to the economy?

    Mod: Consider the point that in your opinion other industries which contribute to the economy are more important than the church, or not, well made and leave it at that please. Repetitions will be deemed as soap boxing and dealt with accordingly. Thanks for your attention.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,623 ✭✭✭ GarIT


    Everyone is spaced out in pews and more than 2 meters away from each other. Some churches have removed pews in favour of chairs to facilitate physical distancing.

    For many people their faith is essential, and this has been recognised in most of the world which have not banned worship. I am sure the Archbishops will be making this argument, and I hope they will be successful.

    I'm not in favour of closing barbers because I agree with you, but if its safe to get my hair cut its safe to go to Mass. (Incidentally I cut my own hair!)

    So in your first paragraph you agree the spacing is similar to a cinema?

    Visiting family is essential to me, the pub is essential to my father and sport is essential to many of my friends. We're all not getting what we want in this situation.

    You won't get dirty if you don't go to mass and it won't cause issues in work. That's why haircuts are allowed at level 3 and mass isn't.


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,886 ✭✭✭✭ Del2005


    Everyone is spaced out in pews and more than 2 meters away from each other. Some churches have removed pews in favour of chairs to facilitate physical distancing.

    For many people their faith is essential, and this has been recognised in most of the world which have not banned worship. I am sure the Archbishops will be making this argument, and I hope they will be successful.

    I'm not in favour of closing barbers because I agree with you, but if its safe to get my hair cut its safe to go to Mass. (Incidentally I cut my own hair!)

    What about before and after the mass?

    The Irish government is taking the most conservative approach to reopening the country. With the damage that is doing to hospitality, tourism and several other sectors you decide the big issue is that a few people can't go to mass!


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,623 ✭✭✭ GarIT


    The Church also has many employees and bills and contributes to the economy. But I don't agree with your line of argument, why should any business be closed, following your logic, as they contribute to the economy?

    No. The church actually has a net negative effect on the economy. We have to close some things to keep us alive and keep the essential things open to also keep us alive. The situation now is about survival not entertainment.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    GarIT wrote: »
    So in your first paragraph you agree the spacing is similar to a cinema?

    Visiting family is essential to me, the pub is essential to my father and sport is essential to many of my friends. We're all not getting what we want in this situation.

    You won't get dirty if you don't go to mass and it won't cause issues in work. That's why haircuts are allowed at level 3 and mass isn't.
    The vast majority of the world have distinguished between religious worship and the things you mention. Under the constitution and law people have a fundamental right to practice their religion. You are very much in the minority if you do not deal with and view the expression and practice of religion in a separate category.

    As the Archbishops point out in their letter: "for parishes and individual Catholics the loss of these spiritual supports can be a source of great anxiety and fear, and can have a detrimental impact on their overall health and well-being".

    My local parish have an extensive system in place, physical distancing in the church (pews closed etc.), sanitised after every mass (they even bought a fogging machine!), comprehensive PPE available, one way systems in place, parking stewards to ensure physically distanced parking, stewards in the church to ensure physical distancing, multiple entrances and exits.

    You can safely have 50 or so people in a massive building like this for 30 minutes:


    800px-St_Peter%27s_Church_Nave_1%2C_Drogheda%2C_Ireland_-_Diliff.jpg


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    GarIT wrote: »
    No. The church actually has a net negative effect on the economy. We have to close some things to keep us alive and keep the essential things open to also keep us alive. The situation now is about survival not entertainment.
    I agree with you regarding entertainment, but Mass and religious worship is not entertainment.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,365 ✭✭✭ crossman47


    GarIT wrote: »
    No. The church actually has a net negative effect on the economy.

    What evidence for that statement?


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,623 ✭✭✭ GarIT


    The vast majority of the world have distinguished between religious worship and the things you mention. Under the constitution and law people have a fundamental right to practice their religion. You are very much in the minority if you do not deal with and view the expression and practice of religion in a separate category.

    As the Archbishops point out in their letter: "for parishes and individual Catholics the loss of these spiritual supports can be a source of great anxiety and fear, and can have a detrimental impact on their overall health and well-being".

    My local parish have an extensive system in place, physical distancing in the church (pews closed etc.), sanitised after every mass (they even bought a fogging machine!), comprehensive PPE available, one way systems in place, parking stewards to ensure physically distanced parking, stewards in the church to ensure physical distancing, multiple entrances and exits.

    You can safely have 50 or so people in a massive building like this for 30 minutes:

    [removed the image to reduce size of quote]


    Do you have statistical evidence for your claim that I am in the minority or are you making it up?


    The constitution also provides a right to gather in a group. Everyone is having to make sacrafices.


    Lots of things are causing stress and anxiety right now, like the cancelling of GAA matches. Or the fact that I haven't been able to visit my termal grandfather for the last 6 + months.



    You could say all the same things about the measures at my local cinema.



    The root of the problem is you want a special status that you no longer have.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,355 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl


    GarIT wrote: »
    You won't get dirty if you don't go to mass and it won't cause issues in work. That's why haircuts are allowed at level 3 and mass isn't.

    Bit of a stretch, you won't suffer hygiene problems if you wash your hair. There are no shortage of people with long hair and beards out there who are perfectly hygienic. I would suggest the issue for most has more to do with appearance, or more bluntly, vanity. Having been to many online meetings over the past couple of months, many of my clients do indeed look like they're auditioning for Robinson Crusoe. I've no reason to believe they've stopped washing their hair ;)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    Del2005 wrote: »
    What about before and after the mass?

    The Irish government is taking the most conservative approach to reopening the country. With the damage that is doing to hospitality, tourism and several other sectors you decide the big issue is that a few people can't go to mass!
    Churches have stewards in place to prevent people lingering.

    I think your second comment is unfair, I posted this in the Christianity forum, in this context religious worship certainly is the big issue.

    Rest assured I have lots of other things to complain about :pac:


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,623 ✭✭✭ GarIT


    I agree with you regarding entertainment, but Mass and religious worship is not entertainment.


    We disagree on that one. The virus doesn't care if you want top believe in Jesus Christ, Harry Potter or the flying spaghetti monster.


    crossman47 wrote: »
    What evidence for that statement?


    They send more monry out of the country than they bring in. They provide free entertainment which takes away from other econmy stimulating things people could be doing on a Sunday. They don't pay taxes on their profits or income.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,623 ✭✭✭ GarIT


    Churches have stewards in place to prevent people lingering.

    I think your second comment is unfair, I posted this in the Christianity forum, in this context religious worship certainly is the big issue.

    Rest assured I have lots of other things to complain about :pac:


    We could start a discussion in every specific fourm saying that that forums thing is more important than other things. The point is the virus doesn't care, it will infect all the same. Realistivcally this discussion shouldn't be in the christanity forum as it's not just a religious issue it will affect other people. And all coronavirus discussions are supposed to be kept together, discussions about covid aren't allowed on the websitre at all outside of the covid-19 forum and that's a site wide rule.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,301 ✭✭✭ John Hutton


    smacl wrote: »
    Bit of a stretch, you won't suffer hygiene problems if you wash your hair. There are no shortage of people with long hair and beards out there who are perfectly hygienic. I would suggest the issue for most has more to do with appearance, or more bluntly, vanity. Having been to many online meetings over the past couple of months, many of my clients do indeed look like they're auditioning for Robinson Crusoe. I've no reason to believe they've stopped washing their hair ;)
    I like to pretend that the 15 pounds I have gained since March consists entirely of the beard I have grown :pac:


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 15,355 Mod ✭✭✭✭ smacl


    GarIT wrote: »
    We disagree on that one. The virus doesn't care if you want top believe in Jesus Christ, Harry Potter or the flying spaghetti monster.

    They send more monry out of the country than they bring in. They provide free entertainment which takes away from other econmy stimulating things people could be doing on a Sunday. They don't pay taxes on their profits or income.

    Mod warning: Comparisons between Jesus Christ and Harry Potter and the Spaghetti monster, and suggesting that Sunday Mass is free entertainment, are in breach of the forum charter, i.e. they are intended to inflame or insult. Please be considerate of the beliefs and faith of others on here. Any response to the feedback thread please, not in-thread here. Thanks for your attention.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,270 ✭✭✭ AlanG


    GarIT wrote: »
    No. The church actually has a net negative effect on the economy. We have to close some things to keep us alive and keep the essential things open to also keep us alive. The situation now is about survival not entertainment.

    There is a remarkable level of intolerance in some of your views. The arguments made by the church leaders are very strong. Clearly mass provide a great source of mental well being to many people and most churches can clearly be safe places in a time of COVID. They are well ventilated and have loads of space.

    I don't feel the need to go to mass but I do believe in science and there is no scientific reason to stop small numbers of people going into a massive building. I also believe in the proven mental health benefits for participants who choose to go to mass.


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