NATIONAL & DIOCESAN
Friday 06 November
CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE OF ENGLAND AND WALES
As Parliament passed national lockdown legislation including the prohibition of public worship, the Catholic Bishops of England expressed their misgivings but urged obedience to the regulations.
Wednesday 04 November
This is the text of the statement from the President and the Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference:
Today, Parliament passed into law the Regulations governing many aspects of activity in the whole of England until December 2. These Regulations prohibit the gathering of people for communal worship in churches and other religious buildings.
Churches remain open and in use for activities other than communal worship, including personal prayer and support for those in need. Funeral Masses and funeral services may be held. Please refer to the Regulations (for places of worship see paragraph 18) and associated Guidance.
Despite profound misgivings it is important that we, as responsible citizens, observe these Regulations, which have the force of law: ‘Remind them to be obedient to the officials in authority; to be ready to do good at every opportunity’ (Titus 3:1). We do this in solidarity with so many others on whom are being imposed restrictions which impact severely on their lives and livelihoods.
It is also important to recognise that these Regulations are not an attack on religious belief. However, they do demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of the essential contribution made by faith communities to the well-being, resilience and health of our society.
At this difficult moment, we ask that, as a Catholic community, we make full use of our churches as places of individual prayer and sources of solace and help. We must sustain each other in our patterns of prayer, joining a national shared moment of prayer each day at 6pm, and observing the Vigil of Christ the King (November 21) as a day of prayer for the ending of this pandemic. And we encourage you all in your practical service and support of each other and those around you in need.
This pathway of prayer and service is the royal road we are to take as a gracious witness in our society today.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP President Vice-President
Monday 02 November
CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE OF ENGLAND AND WALES
Statement from the President and the Vice-President of the Conference, on the Prime Minister’s Statement
Saturday 31st October 2020
This evening, the Prime Minister announced further widespread restrictions in England beginning on Thursday 5th November. The Government have published their New National Restrictions Guidance on their website here. Whilst there was no formal announcement on Places of Worship by the Prime Minister, there is clear guidance on this website that places of worship will be required to end all acts of collective worship, except for funeral ceremonies. In response the following statement is issued by the President and Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference.
The announcement of a new ‘national lockdown’ in England will, we know, bring hardship, distress and suffering to many. We must hope and pray that this is an effective strategy against a growing pandemic which has tragically taken so many lives already and threatens so many more.
Faith communities have played a vital role in sustaining personal, spiritual and mental health and encouraging vital charitable activities, which support hundreds of thousands of people in all sections of the community, especially the most vulnerable. That critical service towards the common good of all is created and sustained by communal worship and prayer. Part of this selfless giving has been a strong ethic of responsibility in the way in which we have reopened our churches so that essential worship has been enabled. Our communities have done a great deal to make our churches safe places in which all have been able to gather in supervised and disciplined ways.
It is thus a source of deep anguish now that the Government is requiring, once again, the cessation of public communal worship. Whilst we understand the many difficult decisions facing the Government, we have not yet seen any evidence whatsoever that would make the banning of communal worship, with all its human costs, a productive part of combatting the virus. We ask the Government to produce this evidence that justifies the cessation of acts of public worship.
To counter the virus we will, as a society, need to make sustained sacrifices for months to come. In requiring this sacrifice, the Government has a profound responsibility to show why it has taken particular decisions. Not doing so risks eroding the unity we need as we enter a most difficult period for our country.
The Prime Minister has stated that the draft legislation will be placed before Parliament on Monday 2nd November. Members of Parliament will have the opportunity to discuss the issues and vote on the proposed national restrictions. In this short timeframe, questions can be raised with our elected Members of Parliament regarding the cessation of public common worship. They are in a position to require the Government to publish the data that drives the decision to cease public worship under these restrictions.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP
Thursday 14 May
“Live-Streamed” Masses in East Anglia
An updated schedule of Masses that can be watched live on your computer has been published by the Diocese.
Tuesday 31 March
Dispensation from Easter Duties
The Bishops of England and Wales have dispensed the Easter duties (reception of Holy Communion and celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation) for the year 2020.
If you are currently unable to attend Mass or receive Communion, the faithful are encouraged to join in prayer with their priests who continue to offer the sacrifice of the Mass..
The use of the Spiritual Communion Prayer –posted here on the website – unites us in intention with the priest celebrating the Mass, as well as with many others who will be offering similar prayers.
Act of Perfect Contrition
The Bishops have asked that all should make a Perfect Act of Contrition at this time – expressing true and real sorrow for sins, when we realise the immense love of God for us.
Contrition is expressed when we realise how we offended God by sinful words, deeds and omissions in contrast to his immeasurable love and mercy towards us.
The text of the recommended Act of Perfect Contrition is available by clicking here.
Friday 20 March
When Mass cannot be Attended
A leaflet has been produced to help us join in the celebration of Mass – even if we cannot be physically present.
It can be accessed from this link:- https://saintbenetsbeccles.files.wordpress.com/2020/03/when-mass-cannot-be-celebrated-publicly.pdf
Note that this document is written to be printed double-sided and folded to become a 4-page, A5 booklet – like our weekly missalettes.