Archbishop Cushley has shared his thoughts on what the gradual easing of lockdown might mean for Catholic churches in Scotland.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Sunday Morning programme (14 June) he said many Catholics were pleased that the reopening of churches for private prayer had been brought forward to Phase 2 in the Scottish Government's routemap out of lockdown. Listen to a clip of the interview below.

He told presenter Tony Kearney: "I don't think the opening of churches was something that we could be looking at in Phase 2. But now we are, because we were able to make it known to people in Government and decision makers that simply being able to go to church for private prayer was something that we would love to be able to do.

"So we're very grateful to see that they were prepared to see that come forward to Phase 2."

'Dramatic' impact

Asked about the effect that church closure have had on priests and parishioners, he said it had been "dramatic", adding: "The very name 'church' means assembly.

"A lot of good things have happened - many things have moved online, but we all know deep down somewhere that it's not quite the same as getting together, especially for Sunday Worship.

"We haven't had many people complaining about this, we've been quite forebearing and patient about it. The people who have been making representation to me have been saying 'please, if only we could have our churches open, even just for private prayer, that would be something', and so we've been keen to see that happen."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to make an announcement about a potential date for the beginning of Phase 2 on Thursday 18 June.

Listen to the full interview on the BBC iPlayer. Click here (interview starts at 1:23:20). Keep up to date with the latest news on our coronavirus updates page.