Austrian bishops discourage sacraments during lockdown

Austrian Catholics discourage sacraments

The Austrian Catholic bishops’ conference are discouraging Catholics from celebrating the sacraments of Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, and Marriage during the national lockdown.

Bishop Anton Leichtfried, the conference’s liturgy chair, said: “These celebrations are now to be postponed as much as possible in the interest of fellow celebrants.”

The bishops also clarified rules for attending Mass and other celebrations in response to the country’s full national lockdown.

The bishops have said that they will not exclude anyone from Mass. Still, they will follow the government’s directives ordering those who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 to remain in their homes. The order applies in all circumstances except to get food or medicine, emergencies, or for “basic religious needs.”

The bishops’ “framework regulations” for church celebrations say that attendees are required to wear FFP2 (“filtering facepiece”) masks at indoor or outdoor Masses and all religious rites and services.

The priest celebrant or other liturgical ministers will be required to show proof of vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or a negative test result.

Choirs will not be permitted to sing. However, up to four cantors can sing at the Mass only with proof of vaccination or recovery from the coronavirus.

Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said the lockdown, which started on Monday, would last a maximum of 20 days. Restrictions on the unvaccinated are expected to continue even after the national lockdown ends.

In addition, there would be a legal requirement to get vaccinated from 1 Feb 2022.

The Austrian lockdown is in response to record case numbers and one of the lowest vaccination levels in Western Europe.

Protests against COVID-19 regulations and lockdowns took place over the weekend in Austria. There were also protests in other European countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, and Italy.

Some Catholics have also expressed opposition to Austria’s restrictions, saying that they impinge on religious practice.


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News category: Palmerston, World.

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