Dublin Archbishop upset with 'very harsh' limit on mourners at funerals

Dublin Archbishop Upset With 'Very Harsh' Limit On Mourners At Funerals
Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin.
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Vivienne Clarke

The Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin has said that he is “particularly upset” about the “very harsh” limitations on the numbers attending funerals under Covid restrictions.

One of the saddest things that has emerged over the past year is that people had not been able to adequately grieve because of the restrictions, he told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show.


All faiths were facing challenges because of the restrictions on places of worship, he said.

At a recent meeting with the Taoiseach, representatives of all faiths had been “singing from the same hymn sheet about the need to facilitate people who wished to attend worship, not just for our own structures but for the wellbeing that religious faith means to many people.

The Archbishop said it was very sad to think of a woman who has five children, who lost her husband and only 10 people could attend the funeral under current restrictions.

“Then she has to go home on her own, when you think of caring and mental health.”


You deal with abuses by dealing with abuses, not by punishing everybody else.

Dr Martin acknowledged that there may have been some abuses of the restrictions at a number of funerals.

“There may have been abuses at funerals, there may have been gatherings outside the church, there may have been cases where too many people came, you deal with abuses by dealing with abuses, not by punishing everybody else.”

The vast majority of funerals had been very dignified and sad occasions, he said.


“Public health measures are necessary, but they're not dogma, it's a rational application to situations and the nature of rational argument is that you explain and you can challenge, that's what happens in science all the time.

“People want a bit of respite from gloom, they want to be able to celebrate the [Christmas] message which is a message of joy, on the other hand we can't have joy for just one or two days, we have to recognise that it is a very dramatic situation.

Even if you don't go to mass, share joy in other ways.

"We have to find ways of living that joy in a genuine way.”


Dr Martin urged anybody who was vulnerable: “Please don't come to mass, we don't want any level of risk”.

The life of the church was not just within the four walls of a building, he added.

“Even if you don't go to mass, share joy in other ways.”

The Archbishop said he is hoping that the Pope will accept his resignation in the near future and warned that his successor will have a lot of work to do.

He said he was looking forward to getting a respite and that he would remain living in Dublin and has already taken a small presbytery.

“I’m a Dubliner. While I have many links with Rome and other cities where I’ve lived, I’m looking forward to a different style of life. I hope that whatever I’ve done wrong that people don’t hold it against me.”

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