In Ireland, Four Archbishops stand against Government Restrictions

Government rules had authorized the Sacraments as of July 5; now has backtracked.

Newsroom (07/29/2021 15:38, Gaudium Press) – Reports coming from Ireland -considered in the past as Europe’s missionary nation- signal that the Church and the government stand on a path of collision. The return to the celebration of the Sacraments is once again in the centre of the debate.

In June, the government granted permission for baptisms, first communions, confirmations to return as of July 5. In late June, however, the rules changed again. Almost matter of factly, the Irish government’s website stated that “Religious ceremonies such as baptisms, first communions, and confirmations should not take place at this time. More information will be given about the resumption of these ceremonies when it is safe to do so.”

Notwithstanding the rules, four archbishops have written a letter to Prime Minister Leo Varadkar warning that baptisms, first communions, and confirmations will indeed take place. The change of tone signals a dramatically different style in a country where the Catholic hierarchy was considered by many as ‘too submissive’ to civil authority. In fact, during the pandemic, Ireland has been the country with the most restrictions on worship.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland, did not spare criticism: “A tweet from a journalist and the Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) saying disparagingly: ‘Oh, they are cancelled.’ That’s how we were informed of the change of position. The manner of communication in this case was disrespectful and we are extremely disappointed.”

In a covert but no less crude style, the Irish government took unprecedented action against the celebration of the Sacraments, in a fashion hardly seen in the rest of the world.

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With files from infocatolica

Compiled by Gustavo Kralj

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