Irish Catholic priest Father P.J. Hughes has once again been confronted by police. Hughes was fined €500 fine for not turning people away from Mass during the current COVID-19 lockdown.
Fr. Hughes, of Mullahoran parish in Co. Cavan, was reportedlyapproached by Gardai (Irish police) and presented with a €500 fine. His perceived offense was refusing to turn away members of his congregation who turned up in the church for Mass, since he refuses to lock the church doors.
Under the current lockdown, the Irish government has taken measures to prohibit public worship under the pretense of preventing the spread of COVID-19 infections. As a result, there have been no public Masses since December 26, 2020, communal worship is forbidden, and places of worship are only allowed to open for private prayer. Funerals are currently allowed to occur, but with just “10 mourners.” Weddings are similarly limited to 6 people. Worship will only be permitted once the country goes back down to “level 2” in its restrictions, which could be months away.
The Irish Catholic stated that sources close to Hughes had confirmed that he would refuse to pay the fine, and was ready to face jail if necessary.
LifeSiteNews contacted the Gardai for confirmation and comment, but was told that it was not their policy to comment on named persons in particular cases.
In his parish newsletter this weekend, Fr. Hughes addressed the issue, re-iterating his commitment to administering the sacraments. “I do not accept the negative message of our leaders who are telling us to stay away from Jesus,” he wrote.
“Despite the size of the church and the holy place that it is because of the presence of Jesus in the Holy Tabernacle, the church has been deemed a hot spot for the spread of the virus by the gardai,” said Hughes. “The majority of people are healthy and able to go shopping, bring their children to school and many of them are working in enclosed environments. We are committing a grave mistake by rejecting our Lord and God Jesus Christ by staying away because government officials say we must.”