The Catholic Church has told worshippers that parish life cannot return to normal until a Covid-19 vaccine or a treatment is available.

A new working group set up by the Church says this means it will be at least 2021 before parishes can reopen.

A Covid-19 Working Group, formed by the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, will examine how to meet the long-term pastoral needs of the Catholic community during the pandemic.

Bishop Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, who chairs the group, said: “After our public masses stopped and our churches closed with almost no warning, the immediate response from our priests and parishioners across Scotland was both impressive and uplifting.

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"With great ingenuity and creativity, online masses and devotions were made available throughout the country every day.

"Through this and other action, many vulnerable and lonely people continue to be supported in safe ways.”

“While it will be wonderful when our parishes can reopen, we recognise that parish life cannot quickly return to normal until a vaccine or a treatment is available.

"We do not expect this to happen until at least 2021.

"This means, that even when Churches reopen, parish activities will still be greatly restricted, our Pastoral Working Group hopes to identify and publicise advice or resources to help dioceses and parishes face fresh challenges in a safe manner.”

Bioshop McGee said although not denying the difficulties lying ahead, the group had had a very positive first meeting.

He added: "Early figures indicate very high numbers of viewers are watching and downloading masses and devotions online, leading us to believe that with God’s providential care, the spiritual, pastoral and catechetical work we do can actually help renew the Church in Scotland and bring growth and hope after a time of despair.”


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