Please, Open the Churches
Please, Open the Churches
After 8 weeks in lockdown, the Government has now released a ‘roadmap’ to gradually ease restrictions which has allowed for the resumption of leisure activities but forgotten the needs of Christians.
We all looked forward to Sunday’s announcement by Boris Johnson where it was expected that he would announce the gradual resumption of economic and social activity and an easing of the lockdown measures that the United Kingdom has been living under for the past 8 weeks.
Many were hoping that after these long weeks of total closure and confinement, social distancing, sacrifices and proven patience, the announcement would outline a progressive return to normalcy.
Christians, in particular, waited in silence, obediently, hoping that the Government would allow for the immediate re-opening of churches at first for private prayer and also allow the possibility of restoring Sunday worship and the sacraments, responsibly and gradually... but this was not the case.
In the 50 page document published to accompany the Prime Minister’s annoucement, places of worship were mentioned only once and were simply categorised as ‘public places’ and lumped in among leisure pursuits to be gradually resumed in a few months time, if all goes well.
We ask the Government to listen to the pleas of Christians in this country and to allow for the immediate re-opening of churches as places of private prayer and also restore Sunday worship, while respecting social distancing measures and taking all necessary precautions.
We want to support our bishops and our pastors and the entire Christian community in our right to profess and celebrate our faith. It is time to trust the faithful to protect themselves and others and not ban their worship or keep the churches shut!
Sign the petition to ask the government to let the Christian people reopen the churches and participate in Sunday worship and the Eucarist, letting the pastors organize themselves to avoid the spread of the coronavirus in compliance with health standards.
Golf courses, DIY stores and garden centres reopen... but not the churches!
I don't know about you, but it seems to me that our Prime Minister believes that Christian citizens are either plague spreaders or simply reckless ... or a group to be especially harmed.
Some bishops and some pastors have also spoken asking for a gradual reopening of the churches for worship: Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury has described the opening of garden centres but not churches, as ‘regrettable, relegating spiritual need to a dimension of the leisure industry.’
Sunday worship and the Eucharist are at the heart of the Christian faith. If this is incomprehensible to many members of the political class, it doesn't matter... as long as they hear loud and clear from the voters, they will begin to understand.
In any case, it remains a fundamental right of everyone - men and women - to worship and to express their faith. Fundamental rights are at stake!
If a way has been found to shop safely, work safely, exercise safely, our government cannot rule out the possibility of finding a way to participate in Sunday worship and the Eucharist safely. Many professionals within the Catholic church, including infectious disease experts, scientists, medics and theologians have already produced guidance which is being carefully studied by dioceses wishing to restore safe worship as soon as they are allowed.
Sign the petition to support the bishops and the pastors who are struggling to enforce the right of all Christian people to return, in compliance with health standards, to access their churches for private prayer along with Sunday worship and the Eucharist.