Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has joined UK faith leaders in writing to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to express the view that there is no scientific justification for the wholesale suspension of public worship from Thursday 5th November.
The letter has been sent ahead of a four-week national lockdown in England to address the spread of Covid-19.
The faith leaders also highlight the contribution made by the UK’s faith communities in responding to the pandemic.
‘Much has been made of the adverse impact on mental health of volunteer and paid carers during this pandemic. Common Worship is an important way of sustaining the wellbeing, and ability to serve, of people of faith who volunteer. The benefits of public worship are scientifically well attested,’ they write.
‘For this reason alone, given the size and duration of the contribution of faith communities to the pandemic response, and the importance of sustaining their commitment and wellbeing, public worship is essential, should be classed by government as necessary and supported to continue.
‘It enables and sustains people of faith in contributing to the service and health of our nation.’
Picture: Catholics gather in Westminster Cathedral on 5th July 2020, the first Sunday after the resumption of public Mass and Confession after it was banned during the initial lockdown in March 2020. (Mazur/cbcew.org.uk).