The government’s decision to retain the ban on religious services even after the lifting of quarantine measures in Italy on May 4 is an insult to “freedom of worship,” according to the Italian clergy.
“Italian bishops cannot accept the fact that the freedom of worship is undermined,” stated the Italian Episcopal Conference in announcement after the announcement of the timetable of a “phase two” of the lifting of containment measures by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
After weeks of negotiations, the decree “arbitrarily rules out the religious services with the participation of the laity,” denounced the Italian bishops, who remind the government that the role of the scientific committee is to issue precise health guidelines, while the church’s responsibility is “to organize the life of the Christian community, based on the observance of the prescribed measures, but within the framework of its full autonomy.”
The Italian Episcopal Conference in mid-April presented the government with a “package of proposals” for the lifting of bans on church services after May 3, with services held on a voluntary basis and in compliance with safety distance rules among the faithful.
In response to the bishops’ announcement, the Italian government announced that it would cooperate with it in the coming days on “a protocol that will allow the faithful to participate in religious services as soon as possible in conditions of maximum security.”
The Italian government announced yesterday the relaxation of the measures related to the funeral services. From May 4, the funeral services will be held in the presence of up to 15 people, if possible outdoors, in compliance with the rules of social distancing.