Evident throughout this Pandemic is the discriminatory way the ‘elderly’ have been treated by both Church and State. Arguably, the most socially responsible group in society have been robbed of their freedom to exercise choice and told that they must ‘cocoon’ – a word itself which suggests that they must be sheltered, cosseted, protected. Other equally high-risk groups such as the ‘obese’ and ‘diabetics’ etc, were given no such direct orders because it would be politically incorrect to do so. But, because over 70s are generally regarded as docile to the dictates of authority, they are singled out and discriminated against. Also, Priests over 70 have been ‘stood-down’ and deprived of exercising their priestly ministry during this pandemic. No dialogue here, no opportunity given for them to make moral choices – and no opportunity given for men to become heroes. For long the Church has accused both the media and politicians of being influenced too often by ‘group-think’ yet this ‘dictat’ is a fine example of it. As in most other things in society today there is a huge absence of common-sense.
As and from tomorrow Monday, 18th May, Churches across Ireland are permitted to open its door for private worship only – subject to strict conditions. (Liturgical worship and the celebration of the Sacraments will be permitted to resume at a later date). Some of the conditions are:
- Signs on display indicating what is expected of all worshippers entering the church;
- Regular and rigid cleaning of the space used by worshippers;
- Physical distance (2m) be maintained at all times among worshippers;
- The sanitization of hands by worshippers arriving and leaving the church building;
- Worshippers will enter via one door and leave via another maintaining a one-way system;
- A roster of Stewards be established to ensure that there is compliance with required regulations.
Here at Gurranabraher, our church will be open each weekday from 10am to 3pm. We appeal to parishioners to once again find refuge and strength in this church building where generations before us have sought refuge at crisis moments in their lives.
While Covid-19 infections and death rates have fallen – (thanks to the punitive measures already taken) – a resurgence still presents a real and ever present danger. The expense incurred so far in curtailing the virus is threatening to bankrupt many, many states. Any major re-occurrence now will be a cataclysmic event for Ireland and many other nations. Hence, each of us must do all in our power to make sure that Covid-19 is kept at bay. We, Catholics, illuminated by the gospel, know that prayer is a central element in ridding the world of this pestilence. For the sake of our future – and the future of our children – we need to intercede fervently before God to show us the way out of this morass. Let our churches be places once again where people plead before the Lord – and may these prayers be answered for all our sakes.