The Catholic Weekly 27 September 2020

$2 Especially as religious gatherings involve closely controlled activities, there has been rigorous compliance with all previous restrictions and hygiene requirements.” Bishop Shane Mackinlay VICTORIAN CATHOLICS, including clergy, have chal- lenged Premier Daniel An- drews explanation this week for why churches are being more restricted than restau- rants and clubs. On the day the state re- corded its lowest daily case increase in more than three months, he refused to indi- cate when places of worship could reopen or outdoor re- ligious gatherings be permit- ted above the current 10-per- son limit. Under the state’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown public Masses are banned with permission only for small outdoor prayer gath- erings, while restaurants and clubs are allowed 20 people indoors and 50 outdoors. At the media briefing re- porting only 11 new cases state-wide in the previous 24 hours, the premier said there was a “very simple” reason for the severe restrictions on churches when hospitality venues were being encour- aged to open. “Restaurants, cafes, bars are licensed, they are regulated,” Premier An- drews said. “They have a degree of formality around them that is vastly different ... I think you also appreciate the no- tion of a Victorian police or an authorised officer going in to a religious service and essentially interrupting that service to do a headcount ... They’re just different,” he said. “If we can expand that, we’ll look at that, but we’ve kept it in line with the rest of the public gathering limits.” Sandhurst Bishop Shane Mackinlay told The Catholic Weekly he was “surprised and disappointed by the significant discrepancy be- tween numbers permitted for religious gatherings and those permitted for hospital- ity venues”. “Especially as religious gatherings involve closely controlled activities, there has been rigorous com- pliance with all previous restrictions and hygiene requirements, and face cov- erings are worn, which is not the case once people are sit- ting in hospitality venues,” he added. Legal experts also told The Catholic Weekly they were concerned by “unchecked powers” given to Victorian health department bureau- crats. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 LEGAL EXPERTS WARN P2 This doesn’t add up Premier’s explanation that churches ‘are just different’ to clubs and pubs doesn’t cut it, say Catholics ¾ ¾ Marilyn Rodrigues IT WAS a day for the history books when Sydney received four new priests under once- in-a-century pandemic re- strictions. Archbishop Anthony Fish- er OP ordained Deacons John Pham, Noel Custodio, Roberto Keryakos and Jonathan Vala on 19 September before a con- gregation scattered through- out St Mary’s Cathedral, with thousands participating via live-stream. Of all the chal- lenges and setbacks along the way, none were more unex- pected than a pandemic. It saw the day postponed, celebrations restricted, repeat- ed requests for a restrictions exemption to allow 300 to at- tend and in Fr Vala’s case, four weeks of quarantine. But Fr Vala spoke for every- one when he said it was all “absolutely worth it”. ORDINATIONS - P10-11 Four new shepherds for Sydney 27, September, 2020 CASTLE HILL’S ANGELS OF LOVE WHY I BECAME A CATHOLIC P18 P22 Protect and empower women facing domestic violence. DONATE TODAY 1800 024 413 | Archbishop Fisher prays over the four deacons about to enter the priesthood of the Catholic Church. PHOTO: GIOVANNI PORTELLI