A cross party group of over 70 MPs and peers has called on the Prime Minister to guarantee that church services will go ahead this Christmas.
In a letter to Boris Johnson, they call for churches in England to be open for worship as soon as possible, and at least in time for Christmas.
The current lockdown restrictions in England, which are due to expire on 2 December, ban religious services from taking place.
The letter calls on the Prime Minster to ensure that whatever measures are introduced next, people in England will not be stopped from attending religious services again.
The letter is in the name of Sir Edward Leigh MP, and signed by 48 other MPs and 27 peers. They state that the Christmas message of hope is needed more than ever in a year that has brought dark days for so many people.
Catholic Union President, Rt Hon Sir Edward Leigh MP, comments: “This is a very difficult time for many people and attendance at religious services is a significant help to people in coping with it. I appreciate the Government is having to make some very difficult decisions but taking away one of people’s most basic freedoms must not be done lightly. In the absence of evidence that such services have been a significant source of transmission of the virus, outlawing religious services is a disproportionate response to the pandemic and is increasing the suffering of many people. This letter shows just how much support there is in Parliament for getting churches open again.”
Catholic Union Head of Public Affairs, James Somerville-Meikle comments: “This week is a huge test of whether the Government understands the importance of faith to people’s lives and is prepared to reflect that in policy. We’re not asking for special treatment, but for religious services to be treated like other services deemed essential for health and wellbeing. As Christmas approaches, we hope the Government will provide some good news to Christians across the country and allow churches to open for services again. So many parts of our lives have been disrupted by this cruel virus. The Christmas message that light overcomes darkness is needed more than ever this year.”
Read the letter here: Letter from Sir Edward and colleagues to the Prime Minister 21.11.20