Vienna. The Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference has relaxed the rules for church services because of the corona pandemic. As of Friday, the 10-square-meter rule per worship participant in closed rooms will no longer apply, “Kathpress” reported on Thursday. From then on, more participants are also allowed at baptisms, weddings and funerals.
The new framework rules of the Bishops’ Conference replace the previous guidelines for church services. This was preceded by the decree of the Ministry of Health published on Wednesday, which brings further relaxation for public services and religious life. The changes concern the wearing of the mouth and nose protection and the number of participants at weddings and funerals, which will be significantly increased
The guidelines of the bishops happen “in the knowledge of the required responsibility which we continue to have for one another”, is fundamentally recorded in the framework order. Further adjustments are to be made according to the course of the pandemic. “Believers who have concerns or are unsettled for health reasons will remain exempt from Sunday duty until further notice”, it says.
Minimum distance of one meter
The framework regulations also prescribe a minimum distance of one metre to persons with whom one does not live in the same household. The minimum distance may be undercut only for short liturgical acts of short duration. When entering and leaving church premises and when moving within the church premises, the wearing of a mouth and nose protector is prescribed; children up to the age of six years are excluded.
There are detailed and modified rules for receiving Communion: for example, the hostie must be covered during Mass until the Communion is administered. After the prayer “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you….” the celebrant can now speak aloud the words: “The Body of Christ”. The faithful respond together with “Amen”. In any case, these words continue to be omitted in the immediate act of administering Communion.
There is a clear relaxation in church weddings. The number of participants is now no longer limited to the “immediate family circle”. A maximum of 100 persons may participate. Also for funerals at the cemetery, the maximum number of participants is now 100 persons. There are no longer any numerical restrictions for baptisms.
- Hector Pascua, Source: Kathpress and www.bischofskonferenz.at
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