The chief of the Irish Catholic Church is seeking an urgent meeting with the Irish government over what he calls a“draconian“ ban on public Mass..
Archbishop Eamon Martin accused the government of acting in a“covert manner without consultation or notice“.
Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly signed a law last week allowing only virtual religious services due to the pandemic.
The archbishops said that they considered his actions“a breach of trust“.
They are looking for legal advice.
In a statement, Archbishop Martin said he only became aware on Friday a statutory instrument had been released a week on the matter.
picture captionA priest celebrating a internet Mass in an empty church throughout the initial lockdown last year
He called the move both“provocative“ and“draconian“, adding the law was“confusing and unnecessary“.
„The precise provisions are unclear and at first reading seem to be draconian, going further than the constraints we have been cooperating with throughout the pandemic to date,“ he explained.
„We shall be seeking legal counsel to counsel on several questions regarding the degree 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 understood the significance of worship to the people of Ireland, this statutory instrument was released“at a covert fashion and without notice or consultation“.
The Irish health minister has defended the recent restrictions on Mass, saying there is a ban on all large indoor gatherings due to the risks posed by Covid-19.
Irish broadcaster RTÉ has noted that Mr Donnelly said that he had been aware that it was a significant imposition for a whole lot of people and whenever public health information deemed it safe, people Mass could be permitted.
In addition, he said he would be delighted to fulfill the bishops.
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