Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of the  Catholic Archdiocese  of Abuja  says that  the Catholic Church cannot administer its rites called Sacraments through phone or technology despite the restriction on religious gathering.

The Federal and some state governments across the country  had for some weeks now  ordered a lockdown on social and religious gatherings  as part of measures to contain  the  COVID-19 pandemic.

Kaigama told the New Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday that technology could not substitute for the presence of a priest or a minister  of God who should administer the various sacraments on the faithful.

A sacrament,  such as baptism or the Eucharist, is a Christian rite  that is believed to have been ordained by Christ and is held to be a means of divine grace or to be a sign or symbol of a spiritual reality on the faithful.

The  Seven Sacraments in the Catholic Church are:  Baptism, Eucharist (Holy Communion), Confirmation, Reconciliation, Anointing of the sick, Marriage and Holy orders.

Kaigama said: “There are other things you can do through modern technology but the Sacraments are a bit different, you cannot receive  the Holy Communion through the television or by proxy.

“The same with other Sacraments, it has to be  on one-on-one basis; the sacraments of marriage and holy order for instance, you cannot receive  them by proxy or through the Skype.

“You have to be physically present to receive them.

“It is just like when you are sick, you go to the doctor.

“You do not just say; Doctor, I am at home, this is my sickness and then he stays in the hospital and gives you prescription.

“No! He has to examine you; check your temperature, he has to know what the problem is before treatment. The sacraments are administer on the faithful in the  same way; they are like  medicines.’’

The archbishop also said  that the faithful could still have access  most of the Sacraments in  the Catholic Church in a controlled manner and still  keep safe  and maintain  social distancing.

“We are obeying the guidelines by the Federal Government  and we have not been gathering physically but we are  having Sunday live telecasts of Masses.

“We have also adopted the  reception of Holy Communion by hands  and not on the  tongues to avoid contact for the few people that have been attending Masses.’’

The archbishop said that a priest could still pray for a sick person and anoint him in line with  the recommended health guidelines.

NAN

Leave a Reply