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

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

Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly signed a law last week allowing just virtual religious services due to the pandemic.

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

They are looking for legal guidance.

In a statement, Archbishop Martin said he became aware of Friday a statutory instrument had been released last week on the subject.
picture captionA priest celebrating a online Mass in an empty church during the first lockdown last year

He called the move both”provocative” and”draconian”, including the legislation was”confusing and unnecessary”.

“The precise provisions are unclear and initially reading appear to be draconian, moving farther than the limitations we’ve been cooperating with during the pandemic to date,” he said.

“We will be seeking legal counsel to counsel several questions concerning the extent of the statutory instrument.”

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

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

The Irish health ministry has defended the present limitations on Mass, saying there is a ban on all big indoor gatherings due to the dangers introduced by Covid-19.

Irish broadcaster RTÉ has noted Mr Donnelly said he had been aware it was a critical imposition for a good deal of people and whenever public health information deemed it safe, people Mass could be allowed.

He also said he’d be happy to fulfill the bishops.

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