Bishop of Ferns, Dennis Brennan, has become the latest Catholic clergyman to openly defy the government on its ban on sacraments.
The Bishop declared that he would be giving individual parishes the right to decide whether to allow sacraments such as first holy communion and confirmation, even despite the government’s ban on such practices.
“The diocese of Ferns recognises the very important place that the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation hold in the lives of our young people, their families, teachers and parishes,” the Bishop’s diocese said in a statement.
“The diocese wishes to assist parishes as they discern their current state of preparedness for safe celebration, as public discussion continues.”
Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell previously claimed that the government was discriminating against Catholics, considering the fact that other social gatherings were being allowed with minimal restrictions, including baptisms from Thursday.
In a letter to Irish priests, the Archbishop said that the government regulations “restrict celebration of the sacraments on the apparent grounds that they may lead to family gatherings, which may breach public health guidelines on households mixing.”
“This is perplexing, as no such prohibitions are applied to other events, such as sporting or civic events, or other family occasions, such as the celebration of birthdays and anniversaries, or indeed to weddings or funerals,” he wrote.
“Many have concluded that, in the absence of appropriate justification, these guidelines are discriminatory.”
Other bishops have begun to defy the government, including Bishop of Killaloe Fintan Monahan.
“We’re telling priests in our parishes to fire ahead, but to do so very carefully,” he said.
“We’re asking families to keep parties to a minimum.”