The chief of the Irish Catholic Church is looking for an urgent meeting with the Irish authorities on what he calls a”draconian” ban on public Mass..
Archbishop Eamon Martin accused the authorities of acting in a”clandestine manner without consultation or notice”.
Irish Health Minister Stephen Donnelly signed a law last week allowing only virtual religious services as a result of pandemic.
The archbishops said that they considered his actions”a breach of confidence”.
They are seeking legal guidance.
In a statement, Archbishop Martin said he just became aware on Friday a statutory instrument had been published last week on the subject.
image captionA priest celebrating an internet Mass in an empty church during the first lockdown last year
He called the move both”provocative” and”draconian”, including the law was”confusing and unnecessary”.
“The exact provisions are uncertain and initially reading appear to be draconian, going farther than the constraints we’ve been cooperating with during the pandemic so far,” he said.
“We shall be looking for legal counsel to advise several questions concerning the extent 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 since the taoiseach knew the value of worship to the people of Ireland, this statutory instrument was introduced”at a clandestine manner and without notice or consultation”.
The Irish health minister has defended the current limitations on Mass, saying there is a ban on most large indoor gatherings because of the dangers introduced by Covid-19.
Irish broadcaster RTÉ has reported that Mr Donnelly said he had been aware it was a significant imposition for a good deal of individuals and whenever public health advice deemed it secure, people Mass could be permitted.
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