Baptisms, First Holy Communions and Confirmations all postponed! Confusion and frustration abound!

The Parish Priest of Knock, Fr Richard Gibbons, spoke with Midwest Radio about the confusion and frustration over the Government’s announcement to postpone Baptisms, First Holy Communions and Confirmations.

There is great confusion and some frustration among priests and families since the government announced yesterday that Baptisms are cancelled, and further clarity on the matter is now called for. That’s the view of the Parish Priest of Knock, Fr Richard Gibbons.

On the government’s website yesterday it stated that Confirmations, First Communions and Baptisms are all cancelled due to concerns about the delta variant and its spread.

The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, announced these cancellations in an interview yesterday.

However, it is being reported today that The Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan never gave such advice to government.

Fr Gibbons says there is a logic, in the postponement of Confirmation and First Communions just now, but it’s hard to understand why a child could not be baptised with their immediate family in a church, where 50 people can gather for the celebration of Mass and Weddings.

Link to interview:

Link to Government website, outlining details of changes from 5 July:

Other religious ceremonies It is advised that religious ceremonies such as Baptisms, First Holy Communions and Confirmations should not take place at this time. Further advice will follow on resumption of these ceremonies when it is safe to do so

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  1. Daithi O'Muirneachain says:

    Fr.Gibbon’s radio statement raises many serious questions.
    There is much confusion, when is an official statement a simple guideline or a regulation subject to legal enforcement? A guideline is advice which the individual is free to accept or reject. It is true that many guidelines are important and should be respected.
    Some recent decisions are difficult to understand.
    Take Baptism as a prime example. The Church has been told not to have Baptisms in Church. An implied reason for this is that families and their friends might have a celebration afterwards which might be an occassion for the virus to spread. It is forgotten that the Church is not responsible for what happens away from the Church, it can only advise.
    Contrast this to major sports events which are currently allowed to take place, they are not shut down because some of the fans may gather in significant groups to celebrate afterwards.
    The Church has been meticulus in providing safe and secure locations for its services, in addition to complying with all the official requirements.
    A strong case must be made for allowing an increase in numbers at Church services and for permission to provide the Sacraments.
    So, the priority is to keep people safe and well and to allow religious services to take place in secure and safe conditions.

  2. Daithi O'Muirneachain says:

    I would like to make an addition to Response 1 above.
    Again looking at the contrast between how Sports Events and Religious Services are regulated, there is a further difference.
    Sports grounds are told the number of supporters that can be admitted. However, there is no restriction on what game is played. For example, Croke Park is not told that it can only have Hurling but not Football. It is the GAA’s decision.
    The question arises why the Churches are restricted in the type of service they can hold?. If the Church is safe for fifty people to attend, the type of service is irrelevant. In this context, the non-availability of Baptism is particularly important for the individual family.
    It is important to remember that actions speak louder than words and one can only hope that Church authorities will now take appropriate safe action in restoring a full range of services..

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