ACP have 'significant misgivings' about re-opening churches for Easter


The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) has said that may of its members believe that re-opening churches to celebrate Easter ceremonies would be " a premature and potentially detrimental move."


The ACP said that one of their concerns came from "the post-Christmas surge in new Covid-19 cases and the threat from Covid-19 variants represent a persuasive evidence-based platform to strongly argue against an early return to congregational worship."


In a statement, the ACP said that "supports priests and pastoral councils in ministering to people while adhering to public health guidelines during this pandemic. We commend our archbishops in seeking to engage political leadership about public worship."


"Numerous priests (many elderly and not yet vaccinated) are Covid-19 frontline workers as they journey with families during sadness and bereavement."


"Our hearts are lifted with the rollout of the vaccination programme."


"Faith, science, solidarity and empathy will serve us all well in our attempts to overcome this pandemic. Meanwhile, we continue to worship in spirit and in truth."


Under current restrictions, places of worship, including churches, mosques and synagogues can remain open for private prayer, however religious services must be held online.


Up to 10 people can attend funerals under current social distancing guidelines, while 6 people can attend weddings.


The ACP was hesitant of government's go-head on allowing the public to attend Christmas masses across Ireland, stating that it created 'particular difficulties' in organising Masses for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.


They also state that every parish has massive numbers of attendees at Christmas masses and coronavirus restrictions will be harder to follow because of this.


Many parishes across Ireland are utilizing social media to stream ceremonies online for their house bound parishioners, although as the ACP stated some priests visit the sick and elderly to perform religions rites.