From the 15th of July, the public in Scotland will be able to go to cinemas, libraries, restaurants, pubs and hairdressers. Places of worship, meanwhile, are not to open for communal worship until the 23rd of July.
The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland released a statement yesterday, expressing their disappointment at the Scottish Government’s decision.
We too receive this news of the Scottish Government’s announcement with great disappointment, having encouraged our members to pray for and to support priests in their endeavours to safely restore access to the sacraments.
This matter should be raised at the Scottish Parliament, and to that end, I want to encourage you to write to your MSP today. I provide a sample text below for you to adapt; please keep the message succinct and polite.
You may also wish to CC: your Bishop to let them know that you are writing to your MSP.
Finally, we would also like to promote this petition to the Scottish Government to allow public worship sooner: https://www.change.org/p/scottish-government-to-allow-public-worship-sooner-if-we-can-gather-in-a-pub-we-can-worship-safely
Thank you for your support and your prayers in this time.
— Sample MSP Email Text Below —
Subject: RESUMPTION OF PUBLIC WORSHIP
Dear NAME OF MSP,
As we have entered into Phase 2 of recovery from the lockdown due to Covid-19, the Catholic community of Scotland has welcomed the re-opening of places of worship for private prayer after a long and patient period of waiting. Since our churches have re-opened, and following the extensive and comprehensive guidance of the Scottish Bishops, parishes have successfully implemented social distancing measures as well as the wearing of masks and increased hygiene procedures.
Catholic parishes have been at the forefront of caring for the local community during the pandemic by offering practical, emotional and spiritual care for many, especially those who are most in need, whilst following government guidelines.
It is with great disappointment that we have learned that the Scottish Government places more importance on pubs, cinemas and libraries in the pursuit of the common good than places of worship by planning to delay the resumption of public worship while prioritising leisure activities. Since places of worship have demonstrated their ability to adhere to social distancing, perhaps even more readily than will be possible for cinemas and bars, we consider it unjust and detrimental to the spiritual and mental health of people of faith and those they serve to delay public worship whilst permitting non-essential entertainments.
We ask you to raise this at the Scottish Parliament on our behalf as a matter of urgency.
On behalf of the Catholics of Scotland,