The Catholic Church in Scotland has been planning for a phased reopening of parishes since the beginning of lockdown, the director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office has said.
Discussions are ongoing with the Scottish Government as they consider a return and develop a social distancing strategy, with the blocking off of pews, removal of holy water fonts and temporary discontinued use of hymn books and parish bulletins.
Anthony Horan said: “From the moment our churches were closed we’ve been thinking about how they might look when we reopen again.
“I think we’ve always been looking towards reopening them from that moment and now given that the First Minister, in her framework document that was published last week, said that she is looking for businesses and organisations to innovate in terms of looking forward to lifting and easing of restrictions.
‘From the moment our churches were closed we’ve been thinking about how they might look when we reopen again.’Anthony Horan
“So maybe that’s something we need to look at but I think we’ve always, since the restrictions were put in place, we have been looking forward to the day we open our churches again and now we’re at the point maybe where we’re saying, ‘how is that going to look?’
“What can we do in terms of have a strategy in place and what measures can we put in place to make sure that people can come to the churches safely? Whilst we’re obviously looking after their health.”
An independent group will now be formed to draw up a strategy, it was revealed on Saturday.
“I think there will be many different suggestions and ideas coming forward,” Mr Horan said. “Maybe every other pew being blocked off or holy water fonts being removed, hymn books, parish bulletins and news letters no longer being available, that kind of thing.
“But some of these measures were actually in place just as we approached lockdown so in a way we are prepared for that but there will be many measures that we can take I’m sure and many suggestions going forward.”