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The chief of the Irish Catholic Church is seeking an urgent meeting with the Irish authorities 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 a week allowing just virtual religious services as a result of pandemic.
The archbishops said that they believed his action”a breach of confidence”.
They are seeking legal advice.
In a statement, Archbishop Martin said he just became aware of Friday that a statutory instrument was printed last week on the situation.
image captionA priest celebrating an internet Mass in a vacant church during the initial lockdown last year
He called the movement both”provocative” and”draconian”, adding the legislation was”unnecessary and confusing”.
“The exact provisions are uncertain and initially reading appear to be draconian, going further than the limitations we have been cooperating with throughout the pandemic so far,” he explained.
“We will 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 disappointing that despite the reassurances given that the taoiseach knew the value of worship to the people of Ireland, this statutory instrument was introduced”into a covert manner and without notice or consultation”.
The Irish health ministry has defended the present limitations on Mass, saying there is a ban on all big indoor gatherings because of the risks introduced by Covid-19.
Irish broadcaster RTÉ has reported Mr Donnelly said that he was aware it was a serious imposition for a good deal of individuals and whenever public health information deemed it safe, public Mass could be allowed.
In addition, he stated he’d be delighted to satisfy the bishops.
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