BY Ryan McDougall | May 4 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

bishop keenan

Church and Scottish government in talks regarding reopening of churches

The Bishop of Paisley has suggested various social distancing measures to be put in place in Scottish churches which could allow them to reopen in the lockdown is relaxed.

Bishop John Keenan has said the Church has been in talks with the Scottish Government over issues such as funerals, which have currently been restricted to immediate family members of the deceased.

The Church’s strategy to see that parishes are reopened could mean removing pews and halting the sign of peace, as well as the suspension of holy water, hymn books and parish bulletins.

It is understood the Church will approach the government with its various proposals, and will also establish a group of advisers to build a strategy that will see buildings reopen and Masses begin again.

Safety precautions

Many of the measures were already in place before the lockdown began.

Bishop Keenan said: “We are not going to ask for our churches to be open when we don’t think it is safe. Once priest in a big church looked at social distancing—he had a church of 500 and he said that the maximum you could get in was 60, maybe two to a bench for distance.”

the bishop also revealed many of his diocesan parishes have taken a financial hit because of closures.

He said: “Our diocese, we are okay for the first part of the year but the longer it goes on the tougher it will get. Most Catholics still want to give money to the Church on a weekly basis if we would give them means to do so.

Financial support

“Some have been furloughed or lost jobs so they might not be able to but a lot have been contacting their parish priest to ask how to donate. I think ultimately we will be fine because if we put in place natural and easy means where people can donate they will do so.”

The Church also plans to give Catholics the opportunity to say goodbye to lost loved ones, whose funerals they may have had to miss due to lockdown rules.

Bishop Keenan said: “Every priest I would say has buried someone with Covid. We are conscious that once the lockdown is over we’ll need to provide means for the family to grieve.”

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