This week, a group of young people from the ‘We Need Worship’ campaign released a video calling on the government to consider reopening churches and places of worship. It comes as businessman Declan Ganley launches a case in the High Court seeking to overturn the ban on worship currently in place under level five restrictions. Following the release of the video, a spokesperson for We Need Worship, 22-year-old Sandra Parda, said:
“The Level 5 restrictions imposed on 22 October 2020 make it unlawful for a priest to celebrate, or for an ordinary Catholic to attend, a public Mass. We recognise need to protect health, but according to the government’s own data, there are very few outbreaks of Covid-19 associated with places of worship. Therefore, the closure of churches and places of worship is completely disproportionate in response. The Irish government have failed to strike the correct balance between physical, mental and spiritual health. Ireland now stands out as one of the only countries in Europe or the western world which has a prohibition on public worship.
There are serious constitutional questions arising from these restrictions. In our constitution the State acknowledges the “the homage of public worship” and stresses the guarantee to every citizen of “freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion”. Our physical health is important, but so is our mental, emotional and spiritual health, and I think this has been forgotten by the government. As practicing Catholics, we believe that the ability to attend public Mass is not only our constitutional right but is also spiritually essential for our wellbeing.”
The video produced by ‘We Need Worship’ is critical of the fact that sporting events, international travel, retail and attendance at school is still permitted, while churches are not given any leeway whatsoever. For those of us who are practicing Catholics according to the teachings of the Church, it is our sincere belief that the Eucharist celebrated at Mass is the “source and summit” of life itself. Given the Catholic Churches sincere and stringent compliance with all health and safety measures, the government’s response has been cruel. Please, let us go to Mass!