Tipp priest to defy government on Communions and Confirmations

Photo © Tipp FM

A Tipperary priest is intending to go ahead with two planned ceremonies for the weekend.

This is despite an announcement by Government yesterday that all Confirmations and Communions are called off.

Speaking on Tipp Today earlier, Fr Michael Toomey said that clear answers are needed and he will be talking to the Bishop later today.

“I’ve gone to the Government website, which gives the clarity.

“Back in May, when the clarity was given that Communions and Confirmations could happen from the 5th of July, and Baptisms – there is absolutely nothing, just now I’ve just checked it, I’ve just updated it and there’s nothing on the Government website to advise me that Communions or Confirmations are postponed or cancelled.

“On the website, I’m reading through what I have, it just says about weddings can have 50 guests and attending receptions and the number of mourners at funerals to be still limited at 50.”
Fr Michael Toomey’s full statement, which he posted on his own Facebook page last night, can be read here in full.

Following on from the reply by the Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, at the end of a press conference today, when questioned about Confirmations and First Holy Communions going ahead after the 5th July, he briefly declared: ‘They’re off, unfortunately.’
Later, RTE News showed a caption that: Baptism, Communion and Confirmation services also postponed.
I wish to clarify and note, that nowhere on the official guidance (gov.ie) as of this evening, has there been any mention of such a postponement.
Again, the government have pushed aside a sacramental celebration, many already postponed, despite the church being opened for Mass and other services. We have in place planned to ensure all the norms which occur at a public Mass are adhered to at such ceremonies, and indeed, they are much better controlled as each family has its own seat and pod, and numbers are strictly adhered to.
Also, to note, there was never an instruction to cancel Baptisms at any time during the pandemic. Many dioceses and parishes did so on their own initiative and resumed when public worship resumed. Again, these are well controlled and are limited in numbers according to each parish.
While I fully appreciate that the concern of the virus and the new delta variant is serious, and the authorities are concerned about gatherings afterwards, we have ensured we have shared the best public health advice, and advised against such large gatherings, and I will continue to do so.
The church has again, not been consulted in how we can work together to minimise the spread of the virus, nor has there been any thought on the wider impact this will have on our students and parishioners in this. There is no reason why such controlled and restricted liturgical gatherings cannot take place in our churches, which are safe and adhere to public guidance.
We in the church and indeed, all places of worship have done everything asked for, and more. Yet, again, we are merely being brushed aside without any consultation and consideration for the Sacraments and the lives of so many young people and families.
I will be raising my concerns with my Bishop tomorrow, but in the meantime, I have to say, that I will not be following this “off the cuff” statement by the Tánaiste. I am still planning to celebrate the two Confirmations in my parish planned next weekend and will continue to celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism with families, if they wish me to do so and in consultation with them and the schools, and until such time as my Bishop advises otherwise.