May 11, 2021

The Government does not order the closure of parishes, although it urges priests to avoid crowds at Masses

We have run into the Church. Even the coronavirus has not caused the government to order the closure of parishes, as is already the case in Italy or Belgium, to stop the spread of the pandemic in the temples. In the decree that declares the state of alarm, to which has had access, the Executive limits itself to asking priests to adopt “the organizational measures consisting of avoiding crowds of people” in “places of worship and civil ceremonies and religious, including funeral “so” that attendees are guaranteed the possibility of respecting the distance between them of at least one meter. “

The Government’s opinion, unlike what was expected, does not take restrictive measures before the opening of Catholic temples, which is especially serious considering that the majority of the parishioners (and the clergy) are older people and form part of the special risk group.

Containment measures

Specifically, article 12 talks about “Containment measures in relation to places of worship and with civil and religious ceremonies”. They are as follows: “Attendance at places of worship and civil and religious ceremonies, including funerals, are conditioned on the adoption of organizational measures consisting of avoiding crowds of people, depending on the dimensions and characteristics of the places, so that attendees are guaranteed the possibility of respecting the distance between them of at least one meter. “

A decision that is in line with what was announced last night by the Spanish Episcopal Conference, which in the same note in which it ordered “the suppression of the processions” while the pandemic lasts, did not do the same with regard to the closing of churches.

Avoid concentration of people

In their communiqué, the bishops pointed out that “in the event of celebrations open to the people, we recommend avoiding the concentration of people,” and during this time “each Bishop may dispense from the Sunday precept to those who do not participate in person in the Eucharist for these reasons.” At the moment, “the regular celebrations of the Eucharist can be maintained with the sole presence of the priest and a possible small group called by the celebrant,” the bishops point out.

With regard to the celebration of funerals and funerals, “it is recommended that only family members and those closest to you participate, maintaining the same precautions as in the previous sections. Postpone the other celebrations as much as possible.”

Vulnerable people

“Due to their vulnerability, it is advisable for people with chronic, elderly, weakened or potentially risky diseases, and those who live with them, to refrain from attending the celebration of the Eucharist. We are all being recommended to leave the house as less possible “, they add.

Finally, the bishops “show our willingness to collaborate responsibly in everything necessary to control this pandemic, attending to the indications of the health authorities, especially the specification of the state of alarm, so that these criteria may be updated as far as possible. that events evolve and new measures emerge from public administrations “.

Dioceses that prohibit mass in public

Anyway, some dioceses have gone further, and have ordered the suppression of public masses. The most important is Barcelona, ​​whose head, Juan José Omella, is the current president of the Episcopal Conference. In a note that has just come out, the diocese indicates that “all public celebrations of the Eucharist with the participation of the faithful, including Sunday, are suspended.”

In any case, Omella affirms that “it would be good to keep the churches open as far as possible, and that pastoral emergencies and sick people are attended to, also taking advantage of new technologies.” Along with Barcelona, ​​the Galician bishops have also decreed the end of public masses, following the pattern set last Thursday by the diocese of Vitoria. León, the Military Archbishopric or the diocese of Huesca are others that have chosen to ban public masses. Throughout the day, the vast majority of the bishoprics are expected to do the same, following the instructions of the government authorities.

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