EDINBURGH, Scotland, March 20, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) ― Both the Catholic Church in England and Wales and the Catholic Church in Scotland have announced that public Masses will be suspended in these countries indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In England and Wales, the last public Masses will take place on Friday. In Scotland, they will take place on Thursday.
The inability to attend Mass is a hard cross for Catholics to bear anywhere, but it is particularly crushing in Great Britain, where Mass was essentially illegal from the late 16th century until the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1791. That the latest suspension has been ordered by the Catholic bishops themselves is both a new kind of suffering and a total loss of public worship. During civil persecution, Catholics could at least assemble for Mass in secret, ministered to in Scotland by the “heather priests.”
As a substitute for personal attendance at holy worship, the bishops of England and Wales have encouraged Catholics to make a “spiritual communion” and to watch a livestreamed Mass. The bishops of Scotland have added that parish priests should be available to meet with individual Catholics to give them the sacraments “as and when they are needed,” especially for the sick and housebound. …