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PA Gareth Fuller
PA Gareth Fuller
PA Gareth Fuller
World News

'I'm not sure I got that right': Archbishop of Canterbury reflects on church closures during Covid

by Sophie Drew

The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he "isn't sure" that closing churches during the pandemic was the right decision. 

However, he's defended his actions by saying it wasn't just him at the helm, but that the decision was made by a number of senior clergy, and that he isn't "a Pope". 

Most Rev Justin Welby said he would be more cautious about closing the churches in the future, should restrictions return. 

He told the Radio Times: "It wasn't just me. It's not a dictatorship. I am not the Pope. But I had an influence and I'm not sure I got that right."

"If I had the time again, I would be more cautious about closing the churches," he continued. 

"At the time, we were being told the virus can stay on surfaces for ages and that it could kill 30% of the people who caught it."

Churches were closed in 2020, when the pandemic first began to take hold in the UK. Government-enforced restrictions meant churchgoers were unable to attend places of worship over Easter. 

Church of England clergy were banned from entering the premises to record live sermons.

Once churches were able to reopen, people were unable to sing aloud, and mask-wearing returned in the lead-up to Christmas. 

Now, churches are largely able to enforce their own rules, but the Church of England official guidance reminds church leaders 'that everyone is known and loved individually by God and that as many members within one body we are called to be responsible to and for one another, respecting the more vulnerable whose suffering is our suffering.’

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