The closure of church buildings is "management, not instruction" – archbishop

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has responded to criticism that the churches should remain closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some pastors have challenged the leadership of the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England to keep the doors closed while the block continues.

Churches of the Church of England were first instructed to suspend all public services when the blockade began last month, forcing the services to go digital.

This was followed by additional guidance in which the churches were asked to close their doors completely, including for private prayer and live streaming of services by pastors.

Father Marcus Walker, Rector at Great St. Bartholomew in London, had questioned whether the bishops had the right to order the clergy not to say daily prayers and to offer communion in their church buildings.

Archbishop Justin Welby was asked about it on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

He called Father Walker a "wonderful priest" when he tried to clarify the instructions given to the churches.

He insisted that the bishops did not violate any canon law when they asked the churches to remain closed.

"We gave instructions, not instructions," said the archbishop.

He continued: "Frankly, Andrew, in the Church of England, the only way to get someone to do the opposite of what you want is to give them an order. It works for all of us. Someone said it was like herding cats.

"So no, we have not given instructions, so we have not violated canon law. We said: So take care of your herd and share the herd's privations and share the suffering of the nation and give an example, take care Take care of others and take care of them and stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.

"It's not complicated," he added.

Father Walker said on Twitter that he was "very grateful" for the clarification.

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