CV NEWS FEED // After a public outcry, the Archdiocese of Moncton in New Brunswick, Canada announced Friday that it would no longer require Catholics to show proof of vaccination before entering Sunday Masses.
Archbishop Valery Vienneau couched the reversal with a reference to the government having provided local Church authorities with new instructions, although, as CatholicVote reported, an investigation by the Pillar had found the local government never required the archdiocese’s draconian rules to begin with.
“Last night, we received new directives from the Minister of Health concerning the sanitary measures to be implemented in our churches,” wrote the archbishop in a statement Friday. “Accordingly, the four bishops of NB agree on the following steps to make our churches as safe as possible for our faithful.”
“No proof of vaccination is required for Sunday or weekday masses, baptisms, prayer groups, and others,” the archbishop wrote, adding:
-However, the following measures will apply.
-Everyone masked at all times.
-Operate at 50% or less capacity.
-Maintain two meters of physical distancing between different households ( bubbles).
-No congregational singing. However, soloists and choirs are allowed to sing but respecting the 4 meters as before.
-The names and contact information of all attendees shall be recorded, and the lists maintained.
-Prevent anyone displaying COVID-19 symptoms or who has been instructed to self-isolate from entering.
In addition, the archbishop wrote that proof of vaccination will still be required for weddings and funerals. “Everyone will be required to show proof of full vaccination when accessing certain events such as weddings, funerals, conferences, or workshops. Masks must always be worn.”
In a notable change from his original requirements, the archbishop dropped the mandate that staff maintain “lists” of all attendees at church events. “But to be admitted, a person must have proof of full vaccination,” he wrote.
The archbishop’s concessions come amid backlash over his initial policy announcement, which many have decried as cruel and uncharitable. Others reacted with simple disbelief. Attorney Molly McCann, however, reported that she had verification of the most extreme of the original measures Thursday. “A friend just called the Cathedral in New Brunswick, Canada,” McCann tweeted:
She confirmed that the Catholic Church will not administer any sacraments to the faithful unless they have had at least two COVID shots. This includes denying confession to the unvaccinated.
To read about Archbishop Vienneau’s original, sharply-worded announcement of the requirements he appears to have backed down on, readers can click here.