The Universe Media Group is calling on the government to allow the re-opening of all Catholic churches as soon as possible.
In a letter sent on Tuesday to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Catholic publisher is asking that the government recognises that “our Catholic churches provide essential services to the public”, and that limited access should be made available again “in this time of great spiritual need.”
The letter, signed by Group Chairman Mr Clive W. Leach CBE, KSG, and Group Managing Director Joseph Kelly, points out that the public has responded extremely well and responsibly to the lockdown as the country fights the Covid-19 pandemic. Catholics in particular, the letter says, “have heeded the government’s advice to stay at home over Easter, which was a particularly heavy – but understandably necessary – sacrifice.”
The letter goes on to say that, as the government debates its coronavirus exit strategy, serious consideration should be given urgently to allowing “we would ask that serious consideration should be given urgently to allowing individuals and suitably distanced groups to have access to our churches again from time to time, and for strictly controlled periods – to allow for personal prayer and reflections, and especially to pray for ill or deceased relatives.
“Major retail organisations and other outlets that have remained open during the lockdown have shown the way in how to deal responsibly with footfall, so we have very good examples to follow,” the letter says.
Despite many other Catholic publications having suspended or ceased altogether, The Catholic Universe and Catholic Times have continued to be sent to Catholic parishes across the UK and Ireland, and direct to home subscribers.
“The response from our readership during this time has been incredibly understanding and supportive,” said Mr Kelly.
“We would particularly like to pay tribute to those parish priests and co- ordinators who have ensured that Catholics have been kept in touch with their Church, through their only national weekly Catholic paper.”
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Picture: A woman prays at the closed doors of Westminster Cathedral ahead of the Easter morning Mass on Easter Sunday, 12th April 2020. (Jonathan Brady/PA).