Modifications to COVID-19 measures in Rome

Modifications to COVID-19 measures have been announced in Rome after Pope Francis cautioned against “drastic measures” and Catholics complained on social media.

“My heart is in pieces,” Father Maurizio Mirilli, a pastor of a Rome parish tweeted.

“I have to close everything, even the church … I feel like a father whose children have been snatched from him.”

At least one senior prelate immediately disobeyed edicts closing churches in Rome.

The Polish cardinal opened his church saying: “It is the act of disobedience, yes, I myself put the Blessed Sacrament out and opened my church.”

“It did not happen under fascism, it did not happen under the Russian or Soviet rule in Poland – the churches were not closed,” he said.

“This is an act that should bring courage to other priests.”

Other critics said being allowed to pray in a church, albeit with precautions similar to those imposed on stores, should be seen as an essential service.

In Italy, customers must enter shops a few at a time, keep a safe distance from each other and wear surgical masks in some cases.

“Drastic measures are not always good,” Francis said last Friday in a statement broadcast on television and the internet.

He then prayed that God give pastors “the strength and even the capacity to choose the best means to help,” those suffering from the pandemic, “so that they can provide measures that do not leave the holy faithful people of God alone”.

Less than a day after the Diocese of Rome issued a decree to close all churches to the public, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, vicar general of Rome, revised his instructions.

He explained that banning access to all churches in the diocese for three weeks could create “a greater sense of insecurity” among Catholics during this time of crisis.

He will leave the decision about closing churches to the discretion of parish priests, he said.

As a result of Donatis’s change of instructions, many churches in Rome will now remain open.

Fewer than 300 will close. None of these have a parish community or are visited mostly by tourists.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , ,