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06th Aug 2021

Several ministers to push for resumption of Communions and Confirmations following Zappone controversy

Is it time to lift restrictions on Communions and Confirmations?

Several ministers are calling for the resumption of both Communions and Confirmations. They believe it is only fair to change restrictions on religious services after the scandal surrounding Katherine Zappone this week.

A senior source told The Irish Times that there is a strong chance restrictions surrounding Communions and Confirmations could be lifted with a potential date in September on the cards.

However, any changes will need full approval from Cabinet.

Zappone has come under fire after she hosted a private party with 50 friends at the Marrion Hotel last month, despite COVID-19 restrictions.

Current guidelines state that one customer cannot book numerous tables in pubs, hotels or restaurants.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar attended the outdoor event.

According to the Irish Hotels Federation, hotels can only host gatherings if they are weddings. It is understood that “organised events, indoor and outdoor, are not permitted.”

Zappone stated: “Prior to organising the event I enquired, and was assured by the Merrion Hotel, that the event would be in compliance with government Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines.”

The backlash is understandable when you consider how long both parents and children have been waiting for Communions and Confirmations to resume. The religious ceremonies can take place in a Covid-safe way, according to a Dublin Archbishop.

Earlier this week, Archbishop Dermot Farrell informed 200 parishes that they can go ahead with Communions and Confirmations if they feel safe.

He believes it is unfair to ban Communions and Confirmations because of Government’s fear that they will lead to family gatherings and socialising. He believes these restrictions are discriminatory, especially after this week’s scandal.

He said, “This is perplexing, as no such prohibitions were applied to other events such as sporting or civic events or other family occasions.”

Archbishop Farrell stressed that the services can be run in a COVID safe way

“The format of such ceremonies should be adapted appropriately, as was the case in many parishes last year, with shorter, simpler and smaller ceremonies, which were nonetheless reverent and joyous.”

The situation in Ireland is improving and families deserve a chance to celebrate these occasions.

Archbishop Farrell said that the “successful vaccination programme, the relaxation of restrictions in many areas of life and the proven record of parishes in conducting liturgies with great care for safety” should prove it is the right time to re-start Communions and Confirmations.