Kalookan bishop questions ban on religious gatherings

Kalookan bishop questions ban on religious gatherings

By CBCP News

March 22, 2021

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic bishop criticized the government over the closure of religious gatherings during the “holiest time of the year” amid the spike of Covid-19 cases, while allowing markets to be open.

Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan questioned the decision that “came as an instant order and with not even a modicum of dialogue”.

“May God have mercy on your souls,” David, who is also the vice president of the bishops’ conference, said.

He lamented that while churches are “locked down”, fitness centers are allowed to operate at 70 percent capacity and 50 percent in establishments for personal care services, including spas.

David said he was hoping that the government would at least allow a 20 to 30 percent capacity of churches following strict protocol.

“But no, they would not even allow us to celebrate Easter on April 4,” he said.

Malacañang on Sunday placed Metro Manila under a stricter general community quarantine, wherein religious gatherings are banned.

Weddings, baptisms, and funerals are allowed but only 10 people can gather at a time.

The government issued the wave of restrictions ahead of the Holy Week, when many people tend to travel to provinces.

Also covered by the restrictions are the nearby provinces of Rizal, Laguna, Cavite and Bulacan and will run from March 22 to April 4.

“If this is not a return to ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) total lockdown situation, why forbid our religious gatherings? Isn’t this a violation of religious freedom?” he said.

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