15 April 2020, The Tablet

We know we do not have to be in church in order to pray well

We know we do not  have to be in church  in order to pray well

I cannot work out whether I am more baffled or appalled by the suggestion that we Catholics ought somehow to be exempted from having our places of worship closed down and should be allowed to go and pray in them regardless.

We could, I’m told, do this as part of our “daily exercise” – though this is a ludicrous suggestion for many of us: I am simply not up to walking the 40 miles round trip to and from a Catholic church; and, relative to many Scots, I am reasonably close to my regular place of worship. Although of course it is important for me to remember that the fact that I cannot is no reason at all why you should not. It is too often difficult to remember this.

Even so, I cannot and do not believe that Jesus wants me (or you) to disobey either our bishops or the law in this, nor claim some superior privilege, and believe he does want us (if “want” is the right word) to protect the National Health Service and save lives. I also strongly suspect that those who tell me that the churches should be closed almost certainly know more about Covid-19 and its transmission than I do.

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