Last night the government moved our nation from a ‘quarantine’ phase to a ‘Lockdown’ phase in fighting the virus. This means that St. Anselm’s will no longer be open for private devotions until we move back into quarantine phase. Mass will be offered but in private behind locked doors.
It is important that we obey the directives that we have been given. So hunker down and use this time wisely. Create a structure; pray, work, exercise and play and get plenty of rest. This time will pass and we will get back to normal one day. Until then we must be patient and vigilant.
On social media I came under some flak for questioning the authority of the State to impose a ban on religious ceremonies, such as baptisms and weddings. The state can, of course, mandate it for Anglicans, as that is a state church. But for Catholics?
My question was not meant to undermine the serious message of the government. We must do as we are told. The ban is sensible. I was however worried about a dangerous precedent set in time of crisis that has worrying implications in the future. Put bluntly the State has no authority to dictate to the Catholic church in this manner. The government should have stated ‘we will be asking bishops to suspend…’ and that would have been fine.
Because of course the bishops will do as asked. And they have now given this directive themselves to the clergy. Good for them because that is the right decision in the circumstances.