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Catholic church believes people in need of ‘spiritual solace’ as coronavirus pandemic takes toll on mental health

Bishop John Keenan.
Bishop John Keenan.

The Catholic church has warned the pandemic has led to a surge in cases of depression, hopelessness and suicide, stressing the need for places of worship during the spread of Covid-19.

That worry comes after the Bishops of Scotland urged churches to maintain “meticulous” safety measures put in place since limited congregations were welcomed back to the buildings in July.

In a letter to country’s 500 parishes, the bishops suggest the rate of Covid-19 infections is on the rise and public anxiety is increasing.

Vice-president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, Bishop John Keenan, said the calls for maintaining its meticulous hygiene measures come at a time when church doors need to be open “more than ever”.

He said: “Among the many terrible effects of this pandemic is a surge in cases of depression, hopelessness and suicide.

“The loss of normality in all its facets has left many feeling bereft and desolate, in need of spiritual solace, like never before.

“It is in times of greatest peril that we need the spiritual comfort of public worship most.

“Now, more than ever, our church doors need to be open, so that worshipping in safety can continue.”

Places of worship were given the go-ahead to reopen for worship, to limited congregation numbers, in July.

In the 16 weeks previous they were allowed only to open for funerals.

Bishop Keenan added: “The tireless work of priests, parishioners and volunteers have ensured that Catholic churches are among the safest places for people to attend in the midst of this pandemic.

“The bishops are urging everyone to redouble their efforts to reduce the risk of transmission and ensure we all adhere to the infection control measures we have put in place.”

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