The Bishop of Waterford & Lismore has defended Ireland’s ban on the sale of alcohol in pubs on Good Friday, pointing out those who celebrate other feast days “cannot have it both ways”.
Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan also asked people to consider the example being set for young people “if we as a society cannot do without alcohol on sale for this one day.”
The bishop’s comments came in a letter to the media following recent claims from publicans that the law prohibiting the sale of alcohol on Good Friday was “archaic and discriminatory” and had “no place in a modern country”. He also pointed out claims that “the ban would cause a loss of income to the pub trade, especially during this year when the 2016 celebrations will be particularly intense around Easter.”
Bishop Cullinan said Good Friday is one of the most sacred days of the year. “It is called ‘good’ because it is the day on which the Saviour was put to death for us and opened for us the way to eternal life.
“The ban is a mark of respect for the Lord and what he did for us, and helps us to make this sacrifice for him who sacrificed everything for us.”
He noted that some would object, claiming that the day is only for Catholics and other Christians and that the ban discriminates against those of other religions or none. “If that is the case, then in order to be consistent our society would have to get rid of the public celebration of all Christian feast days,” he said, listing, Christmas, Easter, St Patrick’s Day and St Valentine’s Day.