OPEN STATEMENT TO THE FAITHFUL OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH FROM BISHOP FRANCIS ALLEYNE OSB
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As you should know, the most recent order gazetted in relation to the COVID pandemic stipulates that persons accessing public buildings, including places of worship, need to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test.
This means that many of our brothers and sisters, at this time, will not be allowed entry into our churches. We ought not to leave part of the body detached from the whole. Therefore, in solidarity with these brothers and sisters, and beginning on Friday 10th September, we will conduct all our worship virtually and refrain from gathering in any number. Our churches will be closed for public worship until further notice.
The severe threat of the pandemic and the increasing numbers of infections and deaths warrants strong measures and this asks of us, not only that we comply with reliable scientific guidance but out of our Christian conviction, to go beyond the call and act in favour of the common good to the extent that it is necessary and involves sacrifice. “if anyone requires you to go one mile, go two miles with him” (Mt 5:41).
The Body of Christ has up to now been vigilant in observing the precautions against the pandemic – masks, sanitizing, distancing – and I commend you for this. But now the threat has become more intense and we have to ask ourselves “what more must we do?” The term “Herd immunity” has been presented to us. It means that when a high percentage of the population (80%) has been vaccinated it becomes extremely difficult for the virus to spread. The science is sound on this and worthy of our trust. The official teaching of the Church is that we would all access a vaccine and remain vigilant.
I therefore give the strongest encouragement to our brothers and sisters who have still not been vaccinated to please reconsider your decision. I am calling on you to act in the interest of the common good and to do your part in safeguarding the well-being of all.
Meanwhile let us all remain united in prayer, in our homes and through our virtual platforms in mutual love, strength and encouragement.