BY Ryan McDougall | April 27 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

pm italy

Italian bishops criticise government for refusing to lift ban on public Masses

The bishops' conference of Italy have criticised the country's prime minister for keeping a ban on public Masses, though he assured Catholics they will resume in 'the coming weeks.'

Yesterday, Italian bishops released a statement in response to PM Giuseppe Conte’s phase two of lockdown restrictions, stating it ‘arbitrarily excludes the possibility of celebrating Mass with the people.’

In a press conference held yesterday where Italy’s next phase of coronavirus measures were discussed, which will begin on May 4, the prime minister revealed that funerals will resume with 15 people allowed in attendance.

Christian community

The bishops stated: “The presidency of the council and the Technical-Scientific Committee are reminded of the duty to distinguish between their responsibility—giving precise indications of a health nature—and that of the Church, called to organise the life of the Christian community, in compliance with the measures prepared, but in the fullness of one’s autonomy.”

The prime minister’s office in turn stated ‘a protocol will be studied that will allow the faithful to participate in liturgical celebrations as soon as possible in conditions of maximum security.’

Dialogue

It has been reported that the Italian bishops have been in continuous conversation with the government over the last several weeks, during which ‘the Church accepted, with suffering and a sense of responsibility, the government limitations taken to face the health emergency,’ the bishops announced, adding: “It was explicitly emphasised that—when the limitations taken on to face the pandemic are reduced—the Church demands to be able to resume its pastoral action.”

The prime minister’s announcement effectively means that retail stores, libraries and museums will begin reopening next month, and in June, restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen.

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