Positive Fruits of Reopening

Ireland is gradually emerging from its lockdown and this week Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach (a role equivalent to Prime Minister in other countries) granted permission for churches to start celebrating Mass on June 29. This announcement moved the earlier official date of July 20 for the resumption of liturgical worship in churches.

The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference has also promulgated a Framework Document for a return to the public celebration of Mass and the Sacraments.

These are mostly common sense suggestions to help parishes reopen, while protecting worshippers from the threat of the virus which unfortunately has not been completely eradicated.  They compare with other sets of regulations that already have been shared on PrayTell.

Last month I wrote a post on how we need to be careful not to allow liturgical abuses develop from temporary regulations that may be necessary to reopen, such as not administering the Eucharistic Wine to the assembly. My pessimistic nature saw new regulations as being a dangerous opportunity to make the liturgy more manageable and domesticated. The last thing I expected was for the regulations to clamp down an an existing liturgical abuse. However, I was very pleased to see this line in the new Irish regulations:

xi.  Care should be taken to avoid the contamination of the hosts which are to be consecrated. It is recommended liturgical practice to consecrate at each Mass a sufficient number of hosts for that celebration only.

Here the Irish Bishops are taking advantage of the post-Covid regulations to tackle a serious liturgical abuse (i.e. distributing pre-Consecrated Communion from the Tabernacle during Mass) that the Church has been trying to eliminate at least since Pope Benedict XIV wrote Certiores Effecti in 1742.



  1. Would be helpful to have a place where those who have reopened can talk about what worked and what didn’t for the benefit of those preparing to open.

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