The leader of the Irish Catholic Church is looking for an urgent meeting with the Irish authorities over what he calls for a“draconian“ ban on public Mass..
Archbishop Eamon Martin accused the government of behaving in a“covert manner without notice or consultation“.
Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly signed a regulation a week allowing just virtual religious services as a result of pandemic.
The archbishops said that they considered his action“a breach of trust“.
They are looking for legal advice.
In a statement, Archbishop Martin said he became aware on Friday that a statutory instrument had been released a week about the matter.
picture captionA priest celebrating an online Mass in an empty church throughout the first lockdown last year
He predicted the movement both“provocative“ and“draconian“, adding the legislation was“unnecessary and confusing“.
„The exact provisions are unclear and at first reading appear to be draconian, moving farther than the limitations we have been cooperating with throughout the pandemic to date,“ he said.
„We shall be looking for legal counsel to counsel on several questions concerning the extent of the legal instrument“
Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Micheál Martin met Irish bishops, including Archbishop Martin, on Thursday, 15 April.
Archbishop Martin said it was highly unsatisfactory that despite the reassurances given that the taoiseach knew the value of worship to those of Ireland, this statutory instrument was introduced“into a clandestine fashion and without consultation or notice“.
The Irish health ministry has defended the recent limitations on Mass, stating there is a ban on most large indoor parties because of the risks introduced by Covid-19.
Irish broadcaster RTÉ has noted that Mr Donnelly said that he was aware that it was a significant imposition for a good deal of individuals and as soon as public health advice deemed it secure, people Mass would be permitted.
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