“It is our continuing judgement, therefore, that it is not possible at the present time for all the faithful to attend Mass on a Sunday, thus fulfilling their duty to God.” This is a sentence from the Bishops` statement issued last week-end. It`s an awkward sentence; it almost suggests that the faithful are fulfilling their duty to God by not attending Sunday Mass. This, of course, is not what the Bishops mean, they are saying they realize many people still don`t feel safe attending Mass, so they can`t, at present, fulfil their duty to God. The Bishops have set a date 4 months hence for the restoration of Sunday Mass attendance obligation; it is 28 November.
I think all of us are finding it difficult to think straight about life with Covid. Over the past week I`ve talked to various people in the 2 parishes about how we proceed after the lifting of restrictions on 19 July. Proceeding with caution is the broad consensus; on this basis we`ll continue doing what we have been doing. I don`t get the feeling if we made big changes more people would be coming to Mass. I just think lots of people are still being careful, and I`m sure they have good reasons for being so.
I think we have to look ahead to 28 November as the time we resume our duty to God. The time between now and then might throw up unforeseen problems, but can we look ahead to some time when Sunday Mass attendance will, again, be fulfilling a duty to God.