The chief of the Irish Catholic Church is looking for an urgent meeting with the Irish authorities on what he calls for a”draconian” ban on people Mass..

Archbishop Eamon Martin accused the authorities of behaving in a”covert manner without consultation or notice”.

Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly signed a regulation last week allowing just virtual religious services as a result of pandemic.

The archbishops said they believed his action”a breach of confidence”.

They are looking for legal guidance.

In a statement, Archbishop Martin said he only became aware of Friday a statutory instrument had been published a week on the subject.
image captionA priest celebrating a internet Mass in an empty church throughout the initial lockdown last year

He called the movement both”provocative” and”draconian”, including the law was”confusing and unnecessary”.

“The exact provisions are uncertain and initially reading seem to be draconian, moving further than the restrictions we’ve been cooperating with throughout the pandemic so far,” he said.

“We will be looking for legal counsel to advise on several questions concerning the degree of the legal instrument”

Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Micheál Martin met Irish bishops, including Archbishop Martin, on Thursday, 15 April.

Archbishop Martin said it was highly disappointing that despite the reassurances given that the taoiseach knew the importance of worship to the people of Ireland, this statutory instrument was released”in a covert manner and without consultation or notice”.

The Irish health minister has defended the current restrictions on Mass, saying there is a ban on most large indoor gatherings because of the dangers introduced by Covid-19.

Irish broadcaster RTÉ has noted Mr Donnelly said that he was aware it was a critical imposition for a lot of people and as soon as public health information deemed it secure, people Mass could be permitted.

He also said he would be happy to fit the bishops.

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