May 30, 2020
By Patsy McGarry
How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting religious beliefs, or the lack thereof?
[PHOTO: Clerical abuse survivor Marie Kane says when she was ill ‘I found comfort in my little ritual of lighting a candle and praying to a God I thought had no time for me as a young girl.’]
It’s over two months since churches, mosques, and synagogues in Ireland were closed for public worship. For Christians, Easter 2020 took place behind closed doors and online only with baptisms, weddings, and ordinations postponed. In the Catholic Church annual First Communions and Confirmations were also postponed.
Ramadan in Ireland this year was mainly a private affair with all related gatherings in mosques called off, as well as any large Eid celebration marking its end. For Jews in Ireland, Passover in April and Shavuot at the end of May were also mainly private.
This absence of public religious gatherings, as well as the lockdown generally over the past 10 weeks, has allowed people to consider deeply their most profound beliefs, or the lack thereof. The Irish Times asked on social media for people’s reflections on what impact the Covid-19 pandemic was having their beliefs. Here is a selection of the replies.
Marie Kane, a clerical abuse survivor who met Pope Francis at the Vatican Rome in 2014:
“I’m not a fan of the Catholic Church and my journey hasn’t been an easy road. Meeting Pope Francis really didn’t help me with my journey of finding my faith. However, having had Covid-19 and being extremely ill for four weeks, I have to say I prayed for my health. I admit it was out of fear but as days of isolation went by. It’s what got me through.
“I found comfort in my little ritual of lighting a candle and praying to a God I thought had no time for me as a young girl. Somehow, now recovered, back to work and having got my fitness back, I’m feeling very grateful and blessed to be still here.
“From being a young girl who wanted to die to an adult woman, mother, grandmother-to-be, daughter, friend, who is happy to be here still. So, my faith in the Catholic Church is gone 100 per cent, but my faith in God has been found.”
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