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Catholic Archbishop voices concern over ‘underestimation’ of Covid-19 in Dublin

Diarmuid Martin also cautioned against rushing First Communions and Confirmations amid the pandemic restrictions.

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Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has urged that Covid-19 is not underestimated (Brian Lawless/PA)

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has urged that Covid-19 is not underestimated (Brian Lawless/PA)

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has urged that Covid-19 is not underestimated (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Catholic Archbishop in Ireland has expressed concern at the “underestimation” of Covid-19 in Dublin.

The capital city came under tighter restrictions on Saturday following a surge in the number of cases.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the spread of the virus has “reached serious levels” and “constitutes a real risk of radically increased infection within the community”.

“In many cases, the increase in numbers is due to gatherings within households and communities,” he said.

“That is the reason why the public health authorities are stressing the urgent need to reduce the number of contacts that each one of us has in this period.

“Reducing contacts requires a specific effort on the part of each of us to deliberately change the number of people with whom we would normally come into contact.

“This is as important in the current situation as the need for face masks, social distancing and hand-washing.”

Restrictions in Dublin city and country includes a limit on public worship.

Archbishop Martin paid tribute to the “extraordinary effort of parishes” in adapting church buildings and reducing attendance.

“Thank God, there has been no indication of the virus being spread in worshipping communities,” he said.

“However, the situation today has changed and the measures introduced, no matter how they may sadden us, are appropriate at this time.”

He also cautioned against the “rushing” of First Communions and Confirmations.

“I understand the disappointment of families who had been ready for the celebration of First Communion and Confirmation and find them postponed,” he said.

“Unfortunately, they cannot take place during the current period.  Places of worship must remain closed except for private prayer as well as for limited attendance at funerals and weddings.

“I am also worried about parishes taking initiatives to ‘get First Communions and Confirmations done’.

“The idea that sacramental acts have to be done quickly and can be done outside the normal liturgical situation is false.  There is no urgent need to celebrate these sacraments just because they fit into the school calendar.

“This would reduce the Eucharist to a commodity. First Communion and Confirmation ought to be celebrated through personal participation in a liturgical act.”

PA