Bishop Phillip complained on Twitter that when he went to visit churches outside his dioceses, he couldn’t because they were all closed.
Why oh why?! Just spent a few days outside the Diocese but every Catholic church I tried to visit was locked. One even had the utter hypocrisy to display a poster ‘From Maintenance to Mission’! Why is this, when every Anglican Church is welcomely open?
A spokesman for the Catholic bishops in England and Wales told the Daily Telegraph that there isn’t a country-wide policy about keeping church doors open, but the decision is up to each bishop.
The Church of England advises that best practice is keeping church doors opening even when services aren’t going on.
It said on its national resource website Church Care: “A church locked to keep thieves and vandals out is also a church closed to its community.
“Whilst it might seem hard to believe, more churches are attacked when they are locked than when they are open, possibly as criminals feel they are less likely to be disturbed in a closed church than one where anyone could appear at any time.”
It is not known which diocese the Bishop of Portsmouth was visiting.
A spokeswoman for the Catholic National Mutual Limited, the main insurer for Catholic dioceses in the UK, told newspaper: “Churches are places of worship and sanctuary, and it is important that they remain open and accessible to all.
“Accordingly, CNM Ltd does not interfere with or influence the opening hours of churches, nor does this have any impact on insurance premiums.”
In 2013 Pope Francis has said it’s important that churches keep their doors “wide open” adding : “One concrete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door.”
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Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth has said Catholic churches should follow the example of Church of England churches when it comes to opening hours.