Clergy fuming over 1916 ceremony Easter church lockout
THE Church of Ireland hierarchy is fuming after it emerged parishioners won't be able to get to city centre services on Easter Sunday due to 1916 commemorations.
One of the country's best-known and most ancient cathedrals has been forced to shut its doors to worshippers on the most sacred day in the Christian calendar by the organisers of the 1916 Easter Sunday parade.
Gardaí have requested that the front gates of Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin remain locked for Easter Sunday. In addition, a traffic cordon is being imposed from Ringsend and to South Circular Road, closing off the city centre to all vehicles from 6am.
The Church of Ireland Primate, Archbishop Michael Jackson, has criticised the parade organisers for their lack of consultation with the churches and other faith communities who will be affected.
He said: "This decision was made without consultation with the dioceses and there is a considerable sense of disappointment and sadness."
Parishioners who now won't be able to attend services locally on Easter Sunday are being invited to Church of Ireland parishes in the city's suburbs.
But the country's most senior Anglican churchman said: "People will, understandably, be upset not to be able to worship in their parish churches on Easter Sunday."
The cordon will remain in place until 8pm on Easter Sunday.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, the archbishop said he was "taken aback and genuinely disappointed that there was no consultation".
He also questioned the wisdom of holding the parade on Easter Sunday and not Easter Monday.
"Had circumstances been different, there might have been wisdom in those responsible for the decisions that have resulted in Easter Day being used as the day for the commemoration, asking the question: 'Why Easter Day itself and not Easter Monday?' for example."
Archbishop Jackson said the Church of Ireland had adopted a pragmatic approach. He will now celebrate Easter with the congregations of Christ Church Cathedral and Sandford Parish Church combined.
Afterwards, he still intends to "take up the invitation of the Government to attend the ceremony of commemoration at the GPO on what is a very significant day in the history of the State".
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin told the Irish Independent that St Mary's Pro Cathedral was the only Catholic church that was likely to be difficult to access when the cordon was in place.
She said the archdiocese was "in discussions with the organisers to try and improve access" to the Pro Cathedral, which gave shelter to people during the week of the Rising, but said that "Mass will be definitely celebrated there on Easter Sunday".
But Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has already expressed concern about access to the Pro Cathedral.
Speaking on RTE's 'Marian Finucane Show' last month, he said: "Christians have a right to celebrate Easter."
He also criticised how the faith of many of the rebels was being "clinically wiped out" by a more secular interpretation of the events of 1916.
Dublin City Council failed to respond to the Irish Independent's request for comment last night.