Give public worship proper consideration, says bishop

A large cohort of people are growing increasingly weary of the blanket ban on public worship as their spiritual and mental wellbeing is being eroded.

That’s according to the Catholic Bishop of Waterford & Lismore, Alphonsus Cullinan.

In an appeal to the Government, he said the patience of churchgoers is wearing thin: “They are frustrated and feel unrepresented and discriminated against”.

He added that it is very difficult to explain to people why they are banned from public worship, especially as Ireland is one of only a few countries in Europe where it is not allowed.

Bishop Cullinan also denied that there is a choice of either health and safety or worship: “It is not that we must stop public worship to safeguard physical health. We can do both. We must safeguard people’s health AND support their spiritual wellbeing”.

“I feel that the spiritual well-being of our people has not been given any serious attention by the authorities. To say that ‘services go online’ is very hard to take and feels dismissive.”

He expressed some sympathy with the government, but appealed to them to “take into consideration the spiritual care of hundreds of thousands of Catholics and many people of other faiths who wish to exercise their rights as guaranteed by our constitution”.