Archbishop of Canterbury: Religious services ban will probably change

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he thought the ban on religious services was “likely to change soon”.

Churches in England can remain open during the four-week lockdown that began Thursday, but only for private prayers and small funerals.

Justin Welby is among a multitude of faith leaders who have written to Boris Johnson to demand that the decision to ban all other services be reversed.

Downing Street has stated that “no change” is planned to the church service ban.

But on Friday the archbishop insisted that churches are “the safest places to go”. People wear masks and are well distributed.

He told Good Morning Britain: “They come together, they worship, they are given the strength to serve and love their neighbors, and the Church is doing phenomenal things in the land in the service of Jesus Christ to show the love that is God has for us and more will be needed before Christmas.

“So we all wrote to the government – we won’t have a big argument with them – saying we disagree with you about the need to close churches.

“This is one of the things that hold people together. It gives them real meaning and changes the world. I think that will likely change soon.

“The government has been very good, it listens very carefully.”

His words coincide with those of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, who said churches are “among the safest places” for people to visit.

He said the ban on worship during the lockdown was “unsupported by scientific evidence” and had predicted a turnaround.

Elderly clergymen say they were not consulted about the restrictions.

Downing Street acknowledged that places of worship offer “great comfort and consolation” during troubled times and said ministers would continue to work closely with high-ranking religious leaders.

“We have worked closely with them throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so,” a # 10 spokesman said.

“But the point of the restrictions – which we obviously aren’t taking lightly – is to limit the spread of the virus, and we hope to achieve that.”

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