The Bishops of England and Wales met last week and responded to the IICSA Report by overhauling the Safeguarding Structures across all Dioceses, Religious Orders and other Catholic Organisations in the Country. Please click the button below to read the Statement by the Archbishop of Birmingham and documents of the Bishops’ Conference confirming the acceptance of the independent Elliot Report’s recommendations which lay out the changes to safeguarding structures and procedures within the Church which are necessary to ensure best practice.
The Prime Minister has announced further widespread restrictions in England beginning on Thursday 5 November. The Government have published their New National Restrictions Guidance on their website. Whilst there was no formal announcement on Places of Worship by the Prime Minister, there is clear guidance on this website that places of worship will be required to end all acts of collective worship, except for funeral ceremonies. In response the following statement is issued by the President and Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference.
"The announcement of a new ‘national lockdown’ in England will, we know, bring hardship, distress and suffering to many. We must hope and pray that this is an effective strategy against a growing pandemic which has tragically taken so many lives already and threatens so many more.
Faith communities have played a vital role in sustaining personal, spiritual and mental health and encouraging vital charitable activities, which support hundreds of thousands of people in all sections of the community, especially the most vulnerable. That critical service towards the common good of all is created and sustained by communal worship and prayer. Part of this selfless giving has been a strong ethic of responsibility in the way in which we have reopened our churches so that essential worship has been enabled. Our communities have done a great deal to make our churches safe places in which all have been able to gather in supervised and disciplined ways.
It is thus a source of deep anguish now that the Government is requiring, once again, the cessation of public communal worship. Whilst we understand the many difficult decisions facing the Government, we have not yet seen any evidence whatsoever that would make the banning of communal worship, with all its human costs, a productive part of combatting the virus. We ask the Government to produce this evidence that justifies the cessation of acts of public worship.
To counter the virus we will, as a society, need to make sustained sacrifices for months to come. In requiring this sacrifice, the Government has a profound responsibility to show why it has taken particular decisions. Not doing so risks eroding the unity we need as we enter a most difficult period for our country.
The Prime Minister has stated that the draft legislation will be placed before Parliament on Monday 2 November. Members of Parliament will have the opportunity to discuss the issues and vote on the proposed national restrictions. In this short timeframe, questions can be raised with our elected Members of Parliament regarding the cessation of public common worship. They are in a position to require the Government to publish the data that drives the decision to cease public worship under these restrictions."
Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Malcolm McMahon OP
The Archbishop of Birmingham has asked, if we are able to do so, that we consider emailing our MPs. If you attend Mass at SS Peter and Paul or St Michael, the MP to contact is Stuart Anderson (firstname.lastname@example.org). For St Bernadette, please contact Gavin Williamson (email@example.com)
The Archbishops of England have issued an important briefing about the celebration of Mass which will be able to begin soon. Please read the announcement by clicking the button below.
You will read that a church cannot open for Mass unless it has a strong team of stewards and cleaners.
We have begun a team at St Michael's but this was just for opening twice a week. If it is to open for more days of the week, we will need a bigger team. SS Peter & Paul and St Bernadette's will also need teams of stewards and cleaners who are under 70 before we are able to celebrate Mass in these churches.
If you are able to volunteer, please let Fr Mark know as soon as possible. Please note that none of our churches will be able to open for the celebration of Mass unless we can satisfy the requirements to keep them safe.
“We stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in the USA as they challenge the evil of racism and the brutal killing of George Floyd. As the US Bishops made clear: “we cannot turn a blind eye to these atrocities and yet still try to profess to respect every human life. We serve a God of love, mercy, and justice.”
Systemic racism is embedded in our own society. The disproportionate harm suffered by BAME people throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted profound inequalities, marginalisation and injustice here in the UK. The peaceful Black Lives Matter protests taking place in our towns and cities this week reflect the understandable anger that so many people feel about this.
As Catholics we recognise that racism is an evil which must be opposed; we all have a responsibility for actively promoting racial justice. Whenever we ignore racism or dismiss BAME people’s experience of it, we are complicit in violations of human dignity. We pray for God’s help to overcome racism in all its forms and that we might protect everyone who suffers its consequences. We are all made in God’s image.”
Bishop Declan Lang
Lead Bishop for International Affairs
Bishop Paul McAleenan
Lead Bishop for Racial Justice
This page page displays the latest announcements. For regular weekly news, please ensure you also read the Parish Bulletin.