Many of us try to give things up during Lent. Usually it is alcohol, or biscuits. Who would have thought that this Lent we would have to give up each other, and distance ourselves even from those we love most and from all those activities upon which we have relied so much. Even church.
In order to slow the spread of Covid-19, our buildings are closed for public worship and even for private prayer. Nothing like this has happened since 1208. The reason then was power, not plague. King John had refused to accept Pope Innocent’s appointee, Stephen Langton, as Archbishop of Canterbury. The pope responded by placing England under an interdict between March 1208 and May 1213, thus preventing the clergy from celebrating the sacraments.