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COVID GUIDELINES UPDATED 27 JAN 2022

Guidelines from the Catholic Bishop's Conference of England and Wales

Update May 2022


COVID-19 VIRUS 


• That people displaying any symptoms of Covid-19 should stay at home and not travel to church or participate in person.

• That hand sanitiser is available to those attending the church.

• That there is good ventilation and air throughout in the building.

• That a positive message encouraging people to get vaccinated and have the booster jab when able is delivered whenever possible.

There is now very strong evidence to support that the main mode of transmission is through breath and nasal aerosols, and that the risk from surface and touch transmission is very small indeed. As such, the strict regimes of church cleaning that were recommended at the beginning of the opening of churches for public worship are no longer necessary. General church cleaning is sufficient.

If these guidance points are supported, then churches will continue to be safe places for people to gather for acts of public worship, including over the Christmas period.  

COVID 19 CHURCH SAFETY MEAURES

1. Opening of Churches - Church Buildings can be left open unsupervised for individual prayer at times when there are no public acts of worship. OLOL church will be sanitized when it is locked each day.

2. Stewards Stewards are there for guidance and welcoming, people are free to take their own seats, but will be guided for communion. Please remain seated at that time until the steward indicates your turn. Thank you. 

3. Masks - wearing is voluntary.  

VACCINE

In the light of the recent breakthrough in COVID-19 vaccine development, the Department for Social Justice has issued a follow up to its September 2020 statement.

In September 2020 the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales issued a statement COVID-19 and Vaccination (24 September 2020). In the light of the recent breakthrough in vaccine development we now wish to issue a follow up statement.

The development of a vaccine against COVID-19 presents an important breakthrough in protecting others as well as oneself from the virus; a virus which has not only caused a global pandemic and led to a huge loss of life but has also placed a great burden on healthcare workers and systems.

Each of us has a duty to protect others from infection with its danger of serious illness, and for some, death. A vaccine is the most effective way to achieve this unless one decides to self-isolate.

At present, debate concerns the use of the vaccines developed by Pfizer & BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca. Some have questioned the use of the Astra Zeneca vaccine since it has been developed from cell-lines originating from the cells of an aborted foetus in 1983.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Academy of Life have expressed the view that one may in good conscience and for a grave reason receive a vaccine sourced in this way, provided that there is a sufficient moral distance between the present administration of the vaccine and the original wrongful action.

In the COVID-19 pandemic, we judge that this grave reason exists and that one does not sin by receiving the vaccine.

Both the Pfizer & BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have a different source since they are mRNA-based vaccines. On 2 December 2020, the Pfizer & BioNTech vaccine was approved for use in the UK.

Each Catholic must educate his or her conscience on this matter and decide what to do, also bearing in mind that a vaccine must be safe, effective, and universally available, especially to the poor of the world.

Catholics may in good conscience receive any of these vaccines for the good of others and themselves. In good conscience, one may refuse a particular vaccine but continues to have a duty to protect others from infection.

Right Reverend Richard Moth

Chair, Department of Social Justice

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales