Baroness Nuala O’Loan has called a statement by the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) “unwise” and “offensive” after it criticized individuals and groups who were pushing for a faster return to public masses.
Prominent human rights lawyer, former NI Police Ombudsman and Member of the House of Lords Baroness O’Loan told The Irish Catholic that there is no “all or nothing” situation.
“The ability to get together to pray, go to Mass, receive sacraments is just as important as the ability to go to the supermarket or do other things that are currently being discussed,” she said.
“We could always go to the supermarket because it was always recognized that we have to buy groceries, for us Mass and the sacraments are food for the soul. I would say you have to think about whether it’s possible and not just say it’s not.”
The AKP said in a statement over the weekend that an “obvious threat” to the government’s “cautious, prudent and responsible handling” of the coronavirus crisis are groups that may seek “inappropriately to impose their private agendas on the current diligent process.” . .
“Efforts that are currently effectively demanding that churches be kept open, that public masses be reintroduced, and that the ‘right’ to pray in churches be upheld are being promoted by individuals and groups with their own selfish and selfish agendas,” so the ACP said.
The group goes on to say that bringing people together, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, “is grossly irresponsible and will result in great pain, suffering and death for many individuals and families, leaving churches or religious groups to claim special treatment that is inappropriate.” and unacceptable”.
Baroness O’Loan described the statement as “offensive” and she believes “those who are particularly frail or vulnerable will not in fact attend the Mass”.
“It’s not like we’re forcing these elderly or vulnerable people into a situation where they’re vulnerable.
“It’s a situation where we make it possible for people to come to Mass and receive the sacraments.”
In a secular society, she added, there is a “lack of appreciation” of the spiritual “as manifested in worship services like that in the Catholic Church.”
“I think that’s why believers need to speak up and say that there is a recognized right to freedom of religion for a reason, but it’s important that we keep the issue of spirituality and the right to practice religion in mind and at the forefront that it’s not something that doesn’t matter, it’s not something that selfish people get involved in, it’s the essence of the lives of so many people in Ireland.”