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English bishops have ‘profound misgivings’ about ban of public worship

England’s Catholic bishops say the suspension of public worship during a four-week lockdown demonstrates “a fundamental lack of understanding of the essential contribution made by faith communities to the well-being, resilience and health of our society.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the second lockdown in England after a rapid rise in the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The lockdown began on Nov. 5 and is scheduled to end on Dec. 2, although government officials warn it could be lengthened if the spread of the virus is not slowed.

Under the United Kingdom’s devolved system of government, the UK government is only responsible for England’s COVID-19 response. Wales entered a two-week “circuit break” — which also closed churches — on Oct. 23. It is scheduled to end on Nov. 9. Scotland introduced a 5-level system of restrictions on Nov. 2, although no part of the country will be on the highest level. Northern Ireland entered a month-long “circuit break” on Oct. 16, although public liturgies have not been banned.

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