Dear Premier Berejiklian

As Catholics in New South Wales and across Australia, we would like to express our gratitude for the leadership of the government during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have been praying for our leaders during this time, as well as our health workers and all who have been affected by the virus, and assure you of our continued prayers.

We are grateful that the number of infections and deaths has continued to decline, and that the state is now in a position to begin lifting the restrictions that have been in place since March.

We are pleased with efforts to limit the financial impact on business owners and employees by easing limits on those allowed to gather in pubs and clubs, cafes and restaurants.

However, we see no reason that the same treatment should not be extended to those who wish to gather in churches.

Why are 50 people allowed to dine in a restaurant, but only 10 people are allowed to attend Mass, even though our churches are often much larger in size?

Why are people who attend churches for Masses or even for private prayer required to provide contact details, when this requirement is not placed upon those in cafes and restaurants or shopping centres, or undertaking any other activity?

Contrary to what has been said throughout this pandemic, we do not consider church attendance to be non-essential; indeed, nothing is more essential than the practice of our faith.

Premier, Catholics are not asking for special treatment, we are asking for equal treatment. 

This unequal treatment of religious worship leads us to ask whether the government is listening to the concerns of Catholics and other people of faith or indifferent to the effect the closure of our churches is having on people during these difficult times.

We know that restarting the economy and education are important to the functioning of a good and stable society, but so too is the restarting of religious services.  The freedom to practice faith is necessary for human flourishing and a great contributor to the common good.

Sign petition here: https://www.openourchurches.com.au