The New Zealand Catholic Bishops met today and decided they did not need to issue any formal advice or pastoral comment on how churches should operate under Covid-19 Alert Level 1.
Under Level 1 – which began at midnight last Monday – all restrictions were lifted on “public gatherings” including church services, weddings, baptisms and funerals.
This means the number of people attending Mass is not limited, for example, and there are no official requirements for such measures as social distancing.
At their meeting, the bishops discussed how Level 1 was working in their respective dioceses. They noted there were differences between some dioceses and even between some churches – for example, some churches allowed Communion from the Chalice, others did not. But they decided that such matters were rightly for local people to decide.
“You can do what you are comfortable with at a local level,” was the consensus comment.
Many parishes and people have been reflecting on the impact of the Covid-19 Lockdown on themselves and the wider community, the Bishops also noted..
“Churches and parishes are reopening and thinking of the future. We encourage that and want to foster it throughout the Church,” they said.