• Re-opening of churches – Bishops’ statement

Statement on “Our Plan to Rebuild – the UK Government’s COVID-19 recover strategy”

The following statement has been prepared by the Bishops of England and Wales regarding the Government’s plans for the easing of restrictions

The timing and the manner of the opening of churches touches profound sensitivities and spiritual needs. The Government’s document and statements fail to recognise this.

The Government’s position, established today, includes these steps aimed at opening churches as soon as possible: the establishment of a task force for places of worship, to work closely with ‘stakeholders’ in ensuring that premises are COVID-19 secure; and heeding the experience of other countries in which churches are already open for worship.

In dialogue with the Government, the Catholic Church will continue its engagement in this process and has already submitted a detailed plan, in full accordance with public health guidelines, for churches to be opened for private prayer. The Church is ready to play its full part in the task force, understanding that this includes the possible earlier use of churches for private prayer, as a first safe step towards their use for public worship.

A link can be found:  https://www.cbcew.org.uk/catholic-bishops-respond-to-governments-lockdown-easing-plans/

The Bishop of east Anglia, Alan Hopes, writes:

The Diocese has ordered equipment which we will need when our churches are allowed to open again for private prayer and later for public Liturgy. I will give you more details at a later stage but the order includes hand gel (65% alcohol), cleaning and sanitising materials, face masks etc.