Bishop Donal McKeown has said it is unclear if parishes can actually baptise children and criticised the “lack of clarity” from the Northern Ireland Executive.
Bishop McKeown said that many parents have been “crying out” to have their child baptised, which had been explicitly banned under lockdown.
Highlighting the confusion around the changing rules, Bishop McKeown said that baptismal parties now appear to be condoned, but he is unsure if the Baptisms themselves can take place.
“This last week, I have been trying to work out whether the NI Executive has now given us permission to baptise,” the bishop said. “I can understand the thinking behind the earlier temporary Baptism ban because, for some, sacramental events seem to refer to the large parties afterwards. Now we can have the Baptism parties – but I am unclear whether we can actually have the Baptism before the party!”
Bishop McKeown said that it is unclear if the legal restrictions have changed and that he is “still waiting for further clarification”.
“When politicians accuse others of not understanding government messages,” Dr McKeown said, “that might suggest a lack of clarity in the messaging rather than merely culpable deafness on the part of the listeners.”