The chief of the Irish Catholic Church is seeking an urgent meeting with the Irish government on what he calls for a»draconian» ban on people Mass..
Archbishop Eamon Martin accused the authorities of acting in a»clandestine manner without consultation or notice».
Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly signed a regulation last week allowing only virtual spiritual services due to the pandemic.
The archbishops said that they considered his action»a violation of confidence».
They are seeking legal advice.
In a statement, Archbishop Martin said he became aware of Friday that a statutory instrument was printed last week on the matter.
image captionA priest celebrating a online Mass in a vacant church during the initial lockdown last year
He predicted the move both»provocative» and»draconian», adding the law was»unnecessary and confusing».
«The exact provisions are uncertain and initially reading seem to be draconian, going further than the limitations we’ve been cooperating with during the pandemic so far,» he said.
«We shall be looking for legal counsel to counsel several questions regarding 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 recognized the importance of worship to the people of Ireland, this statutory instrument was introduced»in a clandestine manner and without consultation or notice».
The Irish health ministry has defended the current limitations on Mass, stating there’s a ban on all large indoor gatherings due to the risks introduced by Covid-19.
Irish broadcaster RTÉ has noted Mr Donnelly said that he was aware that it was a severe imposition for a good deal of individuals and whenever public health advice deemed it safe, public Mass would be allowed.
In addition, he stated he’d be happy to meet the bishops.
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