by Caterina Gagliardi
The Covid-19 approach to the health emergency of Muslim countries may prove to be of considerable interest if one considers their specific social and legal connotations. For this reason, even though without any pretension of exhaustiveness, the following analysis proposes, on the one side, to understand to what extent the governmental dynamics of prevention of contagion – some of which are still in progress – have affected the systems of guarantee of liberties and fundamental rights; on the other side, it is intended to verify what has been the role of the Islamic religion in the process of adoption of the institutional responses to the crisis.
by Stefano Picciaredda
In the universe of religious worlds, reactions to the spread of the pandemic have been very different. As it has been observed, there have been examples of underestimation, exploitation, or even radical denial of Covid-19 harmful effects. Interpretations based on millenarianism have also flourished. Some examples of such conceptions in Africa and Latin America, are examined in the following pages.
by Daniela Tarantino
This year’s period of Lent, among the tribulations that have marked it, has also been characterized by the impossibility to participate in the liturgy and the sacraments, making the situation even more difficult for believers.
by Cătălin Raiu
Even if during the actual pandemic all states have imposed general restrictions regarding the conduct of religious activities, Romania is among the few democratic regimes in which the public authorities addressed liturgical recommendations. Fascinated by its despotic power, the state forced itself in the Chalice recommending abstention from the Eucharist. It did not do so for theological reasons, but from lack of democratic culture. Both international and national legislation are extremely precise regarding the regulation of worship: citizens are empowered with religious freedom, a right set at the base of the pyramid which is the rule of law and which is exercised also by taking part in the religious ceremonies conducted according to norms established by the religious organizations, based on their autonomy towards the neutral state from a religious standpoint.
by Stefano Picciaredda
The pandemic has not spared the lands in war, where “worst is yet to come”. For this reason, the General Secretary of the United Nations Organization Antonio Guterres re-launched on April 3rd 2020 his appeal for a global ceasefire, which received support from many religious leaders, including Pope Francis. “There should be only one fight in our world today, our shared battle against Covid 19”, added Guterres. In the appeal of March 23rd he had used similar explicit, direct and effective expressions. He recalled that “the virus does not care about nationality or ethnicity, faction or faith because it attacks all, relentlessly”. Moreover, “women and children, people with disabilities, the marginalized and the displaced pay the highest price”. In summary, therefore, “the fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war”.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Peace be with you!
For several weeks now, we have all been living through something we did not expect and for which we had no time to prepare ourselves, no real precedents to guide us, no previous experience to reassure us. A microscopic virus has thrown the whole world into disarray, including our normal Catholic life.
We want to support you and are very aware that you know the situations within your own
parishes. Therefore, you are well placed to provide the circumstances in which your church can
resume activities within infection control recommendations. In addition, we want to provide an
avenue for you to ask questions and provide feedback about where you would like further
In short, we advise that, at present:
1. cleaning and disinfecting of church buildings must be observed
2. 2m physical distancing must be observed
3. increased hand washing should be observed and hand sanitiser should be available and
4. face coverings must be worn at all times within church buildings (except by the priest
within liturgical services when at least 2m of physical distance is possible.
Towards Re-opening Church Buildings: Covid-19 Risk Assessment Checklist for Parish Churches
This document provides a template risk assessment, with links to the relevant advice notes. It relates to situations where there is limited access to church buildings the purposes of private prayer, livestreaming, construction, carrying out of contractual work, building maintenance and cleaning. This template relates exclusively to Covid-related risks, not general risks. If you would like more information about your responsibilities under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations then information and templates can be found on the HSE website.
A further version of this will be produced when small services such as weddings and funerals are allowed, then for private prayer, then for some form of public worship. At present no public access is permitted to church buildings under government guidance.