CAVAN, Ireland, November 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Irish police are threatening a Catholic priest with prosecution because of his refusal to turn people away when they arrived for Mass.
Under the current law, the Irish government is expressly forbidding gatherings for “religious or other reasons” and threatening priests with a fine of €2,500 and/or six months imprisonment should they attempt to offer public Mass. The law has come about as part of the Level 5 lockdown currently enforced across the country.
Speaking to the AngloCelt, which reported on the story, Fr. P.J. Hughes mentioned that “somebody reported me,” which led to his Masses becoming known to the local bishop and the civil authorities.
Fr. Hughes’ superior, Bishop Francis Duffy, had contacted the priest last week after receiving a complaint from a parishioner that he was saying Mass with people present. Duffy reportedly told Fr. Hughes that he was in “dangerous territory.”
Fr. Hughes told the AngloCelt, “I have continued to say Mass because I feel it is our Constitutional right to practise our religion,” and also mentioned that when members of his congregation would arrive at church, he “did not chase them away.”
He noted that the church had taken all the measures required by the government in the face of COVID-19 and that people in the church are “just there to pray and go home.”
Based in Mullahoran, Cavan, in the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, Fr. Hughes was approached by two police officers before offering Mass this past Sunday, who informed him he was breaking the law.
Shortly after Mass ended, four officers appeared, stating that “a file would be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), meaning that
he may be prosecuted for breaching the Covid rules introduced during the last lockdown period.”
Hughes challenged the police, appealing to the constitutional right to freely practice religion.
The law banning public Mass appears to be in direct violation of Article 44 of the Irish Constitution, which states “The State acknowledges that the homage of public worship is due to Almighty God. It shall hold His Name in reverence, and shall respect and honour religion. Freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion are, subject to public order and morality, guaranteed to every citizen.”
Apparently, Fr. Hughes has been offered a final chance to submit to the ban on public Mass.
He explained he has “no support, only from the people maybe, but I have no support. So I put myself out on a limb. I have to make a decision to celebrate Mass every day, but I cannot celebrate it at the time that’s designated because people will come in.”
“So I’ll say Mass at a different time each day, on Facebook, for the people,” Fr. Hughes continued. “Because I don’t want to be prosecuted either, although I would like to test to see would they go and bring me before the DPP because I just think this is scandalous really, we’re gone to a police state.”
In a radio interview after the Mass, Fr. Hughes mentioned that “people mattered more to him and God mattered more to him than anything else.”
The case of Fr. Hughes is not an isolated event, as police in Cork also approached a priest to warn that they would “apply the full rigours of the law,” if he continued celebrating Mass with people present. Source – Lifesitenews
The parishioner who reported Fr Hughes (and the priest in Cork) for offering Mass with people present is about as Catholic as any other Protestant – that is to say, any other person protesting against the Catholic religion; that is to say, not a a Catholic at all. That is to say, a person who does not believe that Christ is King and that, thus, no Government gives us our basic freedoms, nor does any Government have the right to take them away. That is true without the assistance of the Irish Constitution. It’s great that the Irish Constitution specifically protects religious rights, but it is not the Irish – or any other – national Constitution which confers such rights.
Our right to our religious freedom derives from our duty to worship God, as He commands. I’m lost for words that any Catholic would even consider reporting a priest for infringing these despicable and wholly unnecessary restrictions on our freedoms. I’ll say nothing about the Bishop because what I’d like to say about him is unprintable. If anyone is “in dangerous territory” it’s bishops who are bowing, yet again, to the authority of politicians over God’s law. Health has become their god, not Christ the King. And they will answer for their worship of this false god at their judgement.
Here’s the thing though… Is that likely to happen here, in the UK? Would any parishioner even consider reporting a priest for breaching the latest ridiculous rules, including a limit on the number of people who may – thanks to the “permission” of the politicians – attend Mass? These politicians, remember, are here today, gone tomorrow. God, on the other hand, will be there, waiting for us, at the moment of our death. Who, thinkest thou, is entitled to our obedience in this matter?