Catholic Bishop Seeks Gradual Reopening of Churches, Mosques

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By Peter Uzoho

The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Alfred Martins, yesterday appealed to the federal government to set out guidelines for the opening of churches and mosques in some states in the country, saying, “many are truly suffering, spiritually, emotionally and psychologically.”

Martins, said this while delivering his homily monitored via DSTV.

He stressed the need for the government to consult with stakeholders and come out with guidelines for such gatherings, which he said must be strictly adhered to.

According to the Lagos Archbishop, “If transportation, banking and other sectors would re-open and yet would be safe, we need to follow guidelines.

“Our leaders in government took this step in dialogue with stakeholders because those sectors are very important for the lives of people.

“Let me say dear brothers and sisters that the religious lives of people are also important. Many are truly suffering, spiritually, emotionally and psychologically. “I believe it is important for our government to engage leaders of religious groups so that guidelines can be established for gradually unlocking our mosques and churches’ gates.

“Of course, no one wants to put the lives and well-being of anyone in danger. After all, when the pandemic is over, it is people that would come to worship.

“I believe that religious leaders would be responsible in this matter and would ensure that guidelines for re-opening that are mutually agreed are strictly adhered to. “That is why I believe it is not enough to simply say religious bodies remain banned. It is important rather to say the situation would continue to be reviewed. These are difficult decisions to make, but we do believe that when we think and talk together, great things can happen for God and for the nation.

“We pray that the Lord will heal our land and guide our leaders in the difficult decisions they have to make with regards to this present situation.”

Martins, pointed out that today, marks the eight Sunday that Catholics in Lagos have been unable to gather together physically for mass, a situation he said was sad.

“But, it is understandable because the coronavirus has continued to ravage the land.

“The number of infections is rising and also the number of deaths is also rising. We are seeing an increase in community infections. “However, our leaders in government have been able to recognise the fact that once a rat gets inside a house, the best thing to do is to set a trap for the rat, while you go about your life.

“I believe that, that was why they chose to relax the lockdown. But, not just simply relaxing, but by setting out guidelines that must be followed if we are to remain safe and if the economy will be gradually re-opened,” he added.