France’s Council of State ends religious gathering ban

France’s religious gathering ban must be lifted within eight days, says the French Council of State. The Council is France’s highest administrative court.

Currently, all gatherings in places of worship are banned except for funerals, which are limited to 20 people.

After receiving many complaints, the Council ruled on Monday that the ban on religious gatherings is a disproportionate response to the coronavirus (COVID-29) pandemic “…and therefore constitutes a serious and manifest violation of the freedom of worship.”

There has been a religious gathering ban in France for eight weeks, since the country’s shelter-in-place lockdowns were put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Council’s decision overturns the country’s 11 May policy that banned all indoor religious gatherings except for funerals for funerals.

It remains to be seen what move the government will take to respect the decision while retaining a safe environment in churches, mosques and other places of worship.

It is not yet clear how many people will be permitted to attend Masses and other religious gatherings in France as a result of the decision.

It is also not clear whether French Catholics will return to Mass.

Although 41 percent of people in France identified as Catholic in a survey last year, fewer than five percent say they attended Sunday Mass before the pandemic struck.

Nearly 180,000 people in France have tested positive for the coronavirus, and more than 28,000 died from the disease. Among those, were many who became infected from a cluster in February that originated at an evangelical church. Thousands of people gathered in Mulhouse for a week of activities. More than 2,500 cases are said to have been linked to it worldwide.

Although France has one of the highest reported death rates from the virus in the world, new diagnoses and fatalities have slowed in recent weeks.


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