The Catholic Weekly 19 September 2021

$2 19, September, 2021 VACCINES AND THE COMMON GOOD BISHOP LEADS IN WILCANNIA P12 [We hope] that government and health offi- cials ... will work with us to find away that we can re- open to everybody ...” Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP ARCHBISHOP ANTHONY Fisher OP has emphasised that vaccination must not be a barrier to communion with Christ Jesus. His comments come as the NSW Government an- nounced that churches in Sydney would begin to reopen once 70 percent of the adult population in the state has had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Archbishop Fisher said he has been in discussions with the NSW Government and NSWHealth, joining with oth- er religious leaders in insisting that worship is an essential service, not mere recreation for many people. “We explained that all our faiths are inclined to allow all comers to worship, that many pastors and faithful would be uneasy with restricting wor- ship to the fully vaccinated and that doing so could prove very divisive”, he said. “Race, gender, ethnici- ty, age, education, wealth or health status (including vac- cination) must not be points of division within the Chris- tian community or barriers to communion with Jesus”. Archbishop Fisher said he was committed to ensuring a safe return to worship for everyone. “We are working with a leading infectious diseases and risk management spe- cialist to devise a plan that would allow for safe reopen- ing of churches and safe re- turn to worship for all. Some easing of restrictions on both outside and indoor Masses is on the near horizon. Greater numbers will also be allowed at weddings and funerals. And other sacraments including Baptism and Confirmation and devotions should also be Churches should be open for all Worship is an essential service, not mere recreation, Archbishop and faith leaders tell NSWgovernment ¾ Michael Kenny and Marilyn Rodrigues Adore the Eucharist and heal: Pope SPENDING TIME in ado- ration of the Blessed Sac- rament can heal Christians from a self-absorbed religi- osity that is ostentatious and triumphalist, Pope Francis said. Presiding over the closing Mass of the International Eucharistic Congress Sept. 12, the pope urged people to make time for eucharistic adoration. “Let us allow Jesus, the ¾ Junno Arocho Esteves living bread, to heal us of our self-absorption, open our hearts to self-giving, liberate us from our rigidi- ty and self-concern, free us from the paralysing slavery of defending our image, and inspire us to follow him wherever he would lead us,” he said. After departing from Rome’s Fiumicino in the early morning, the pope told journalists aboard the flight that the papal trip had “a bit of a farewell feeling” due to it being the last time that Bishop-designate Gui- do Marini would serve as papal master of ceremonies. The pope named the bish- op-designate to lead the Di- ocese of Tortona, Italy. Pope Francis also noted that it was the final papal flight aboard Alitalia, which will end its operations in October after serving 75 years as Italy’s national air- line. CONTINUED ON PAGE 7 possible”, he added. Monica Doumit, Director, Public Af- fairs and Engagement with the Archdiocese of Sydney, said that churches have been open to people from millen- nia without distinction “and that’s the way we want it to continue”. “Over the past 18 months we’ve demonstrated that we can open in a COVID-safe manner and we believe we have earned the trust of gov- ernment and of health offi- cials,” Ms Doumit said. “What we would like to see is that as we progress towards reopening, that government and health officials will work with us to find a way that we can reopen to everybody be- cause faith and worship is for everybody. “In many ways it’s a great equaliser.” In a statement outlining the state government’s much-an- ticipated ‘roadmap’ out of strict lockdown of Greater Sydney and other parts of the state, Deputy Premier John Barilaro said that only fully vaccinated people will “have access to the freedoms al- lowed” once the whole state reaches the 70 per cent full vaccination milestone. Listed under the freedoms for fully vaccinated adults was that churches and places of worship could open subject to one person per 4sqm rule, with no singing. CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 Faith leaders are broadly united in their view that pastors would be uneasy with restricting worship to the fully-vaccinated, Arch- bishop Anthony Fisher OP has told the state’s political leaders. PHOTO: GIOVANNI PORTELLI Pope Francis and Jewish representatives light candles during a meeting with the Jewish community in Rybné námestie Square in Bratislava, Slovakia, on 13 September. PHOTO: CNS, VATICAN MEDIA P14