Back to top

Irish government announces it will continue restrictions on Catholic sacraments

endoftimenews's picture Post date: 07-07-2021

Irish government announces it will continue restrictions on Catholic sacraments

We do not use ads. You can also help us a lot with the price of a coffee. Thank You!

DUBLIN, Ireland, July 6, 2021 – The Irish government reversed its decision to allow baptisms, first communions and confirmations to take place in July. 

The announcement was made in a manner that the Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, described as “grossly disrespectful” in an interview he gave to Ireland’s RTÉ Radio 1 last Thursday. 

“A journalist’s tweet and the Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) dismissively saying: ‘Oh, they’re off.’ That was how we were told about the change in direction,” the archbishop said.

“The manner of communication, in this case, was grossly disrespectful and we are extremely disappointed.”

Martin, 59, made it clear during the interview that the new government advice constitutes a reversal of a previous decision that the Taoiseach’s office communicated in writing to the bishops of Ireland at the beginning of June, a communication Martin took as “a go-ahead to celebrate these sacraments.” According to the archbishop, the decision stated that “in line with the gradual reopening of society from July 5, these ceremonies could take place.” 

But new advice published June 29 on the Irish government website reads:

It is advised that religious ceremonies such as Baptisms, First Holy Communions and Confirmations should not take place at this time. Further advice will follow on resumption of these ceremonies when it is safe to do so.

Martin told RTÉ Radio 1 that there had been “a lot of confusion,” “a lot of frustration,” “deep disappointment,” and “anger.”

“We’ve been deluged with calls from parishes, and I know that priests and others have been extremely disappointed by this reversal of the decision that was written to us from the T’s office in June,” he said.

The archbishop said that, believing the sacramental celebrations would be permitted, there had been “a huge amount of preparation with the children in their schools, with their families, to hold very safely these sacraments.”

“And they’re important, very important moments in the journey of faith of our young people and their families, and we had been planning to do them extremely carefully, with small numbers, keeping alert to all of the public health advice on gatherings afterwards,” Martin added.

Martin said the Church had been “consistently told” that the government’s fears were not for the actual ceremonies inside churches but for traditional social events held afterward. He stressed that Catholic families had been told that the sacraments are important and they should keep any celebrations afterward "very safe” and within public health guidelines.  

“And I think we could have done it,” the archbishop said.