28Mar Should Church Buildings now be Closed?

We await a further direction or guidelines from the bishops following the further severe restrictions announced last evening by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and Minister for Health, Simon Harris.

If guidelines are issued by the bishops’ conference we will of course publish them here.

Specifically people want to know how to handle the sensitive and delicate issue of funerals in this period of crisis. People are also wondering should church and parish buildings now be closed for the duration of this phase of the COVID-19 emergency.

Tim Hazelwood has already posted on this website their decision to close their church buildings in an effort to protect the vulernable people of their community.

A similar decision has been made in my own parish, especially in the light of new evidence ( *see below) of just how long this virus can remain on surfaces, The risk of passing on the infection and risking the health and life of people is too great.

Mattie Long


“SARS-CoV-2 RNA was identified on a variety of surfaces in cabins of both symptomatic and asymptomatic infected passengers up to 17 days after cabins were vacated on the Diamond Princess but before disinfection procedures had been conducted (Takuya Yamagishi, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, personal communication, 2020). “

2 Responses

  1. Iggy O Donovan

    All I can say is that in Cashel Archdiocese ALL churches are closed until Easter.

  2. Mattie Long

    Yes Iggy, many places are closed but other Bishops have adopted slightly less clear stances. They seem to be using a formula much like what can be found on the Dublin Diocese website; “Should Churches remain open? There is no problem with Churches remaining open if they can guarantee social spacing and hygiene. In the current situation most Churches are not in a position to ensure that surfaces would be cleaned regularly and in that situation it is best to close the church”.
    A much clearer statement would send a definite signal about the seriousness of this emergency. It’s strange in a way that a body like the bishops’ conference that would demand uniformity on so many unimportant issues have not a prepared uniformed stance in this case.
    If in doubt, err on the side of safety of health and life.
    There is also no uniformity concerning funerals but it seems a further Government ruling is expected on Monday. Down & Connor and Clogher seem to have taken the lead in deciding there will be no funeral Masses held during the coronavirus crisis.

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