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16/10/2021

Bishop of Derry highlights confusion over whether baptisms can be held

“Now we can have the baptism parties – but I am unclear whether we can actually have the baptism before the party!

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Bishop Donal McKeown

The Bishop of Derry today said he was 'unclear' on whether baptism services can resume.

Public church services resumed this week in the latest easing of the coronavirus restrictions.

Pubs and restaurants were also allowed to reopen on Friday.

Speaking at Mass today at St Eugene's Cathedral, the Bishop of Derry, Donal McKeown, said there was still confusion in relation to some religious services.

“This last week, I have been trying to work out whether the NI Executive has now given us permission to baptise,” said Bishop McKeown.

“I know that it sounds ridiculous that Churches have to get political clearance to baptise a baby or an adult!

“Of course, I can understand the thinking behind the earlier temporary baptism ban because, for some, sacramental events seem to refer to the large parties afterwards.

“Now we can have the baptism parties – but I am unclear whether we can actually have the baptism before the party!”

Bishop McKeown said he was not sure whether the legal restrictions have changed or whether people still waiting for further clarification.

“When politicians accuse others of not understanding government messages, that might suggest a lack of clarity in the messaging rather than merely culpable deafness on the part of the listeners,” he added.

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