A White Rock Catholic church has joined others in promoting a petition addressed to Premier John Horgan to adjust COVID-19 regulations and allow churches to hold in-person services.
The petition, started by Father James Hughes from St. Patrick’s Parish in Vancouver, says it’s unfair that some businesses and commercial services are allowed to continue operations but not community churches.
“Although it is true that we can pray through online services, Roman Catholics must gather in person in order to receive Holy Communion while other religions also have rites which must be done in person safely that the online experience cannot replace,” Hughes wrote.
“We would appreciate a reconsideration of the present Provincial Order.”
After people sign the document, they’re asked to provide a reason for their decision.
Many of the signatories commented that their church has been following safety protocols, including mandating masks, promoting social distancing and regular cleaning.
“I don’t understand why churches are closed while every other business remains open,” Bonnie Way wrote. “We’ve followed safe, careful protocols at church. Let us keep gathering.”
However, some comments promote inaccurate information and push conspiracy theories.
“All this crap so big pharma can increase vaccine sales. Let’s gather and stand up against this injustice against them suppressing our human needs and rights,” Ken Blucke wrote on the petition.
Star of the Sea Catholic Parish published a link to the petition on Facebook on Dec. 6, asking parishioners to consider signing the document.
– with files from Dan Ferguson