By Melissa Butz
Italy’s bishops are complaining that religious freedom is being stifled in the country as the government makes plans to get back to normal.
Italian bishops are demanding religious freedom be respected as hair salons, museums and restaurants are opening, instead of churches, during the second phase of Italy’s lifting of restrictions.
“The Church asks to be able to celebrate Mass with the people again, organizing safely, without recklessness or superficiality, the life of their communities,” said Italian journalist Vincenzo Morgante.
Entering into phase two, Italians seem torn as to if Masses should be permitted once again.
“The churches need to open, also as a matter of faith and what is happening in this period,” said one resident, Emmanuale.
“I believe the churches need to remain closed to avoid that a lot of people will be all together in the same place,” explained Mohammed, who also lives in Rome. “Just because it’s a religious motive, doesn’t make it a good reason to open.
“From a safety point of view, maybe it’s better that all churches are closed,” said resident Valerio of Italy during the lockdowns.
Pope Francis has not held a public audience since March 1. When the lockdown began, he asked that churches remain open for faithful to pray in this difficult time.
The Vatican has not announced when they will resume public events, but has been following Italy’s recommendations on most COVID-19 matters. We’ll see if the pontiff will intervene on this religious matter.