"Interior of St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Roanoke, Virginia" by Joe Ravi / CC BY-SA 3.0

As country begins to open, Italian Bishops argue against continued ban on Masses

Apr 27, 2020

By Claire Giangravé

After nearly 50 days of a nation-wide lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Italian government is beginning to outline “Phase Two,” which will allow the opening of some businesses and freedom of movement for currently home-bound citizens — but which will not allow Masses.

The leading coalition in Italy has decided that starting May 4, citizens will be able to leave the house freely without documentation and hold small wedding and funerals. Restaurants and other shops will open at half-capacity in mid-May; nothing has yet been said about gyms, cinemas and parks.

But what emerged from the consultation between governments and private entities is that religious gatherings and Masses will remain forbidden, at least for the time being.

The Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, told reporters in a press conference on Sunday (April 26) that this was the result of “rigidity” within the scientific and technical committee charged with preventing the spread of the pandemic.

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