A Catholic bishop has paid tribute to gardaí enforcing social distancing guidelines who risk being spat at “just as Christ was”.
Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran said:"Today in Ireland, and around the world, sacrifices are being asked for what would not have been thought possible three months ago. Nurses, doctors, chaplains and other healthcare workers place their lives on the line in a way that might never have been imagined. Gardaí serving the public, risk being spat at in the street, just as Christ was."
His comments followed recent reports of court proceedings in Dublin and Sligo involving people who spat and coughed at gardaí attempting to ensure social distancing guidelines protecting people from coronavirus were adhered to.
"For ordinary men and women who work in shops, or drive delivery vans or public transport, going to work involves taking a risk for others. Older people, who have to stay in the cocoon; children who miss their friends, students who worry about their courses and their exams; workers who have had to take a substantial cut in their wages; all of them are making sacrifices," Bishop Doran said.
“And of course, many of our brothers and sisters have been seriously ill and hundreds have died. In the final analysis, it is not what happens to us that makes the difference; it is the generosity and the freedom with which we give ourselves.
“There are many people today, including people who would not necessarily think of themselves as particularly religious; who are not Christian perhaps, but who are making enormous sacrifices. It is in them that we meet Christ today, whether or not they realise it,” he said.
“I can’t help thinking that there is a great learning in all of this,” he said.
Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy has spoken of what is "a difficult and unprecedented time for all of us. For the bereaved, it may be the worst of times. But for all that, there are elements and learnings we cannot leave behind."
However, he added: “the coronavirus should not be allowed strike us in vain. Our combat shouldn’t just be about getting through all of this alive, important as that is. Hidden in this storm of threatening darkness are signs of resurrection because out of this virus, if we name and own what’s deep-down going on within us at this time, a new world might be emerging.”