Portuguese government refuses to allow public worship to resume
The Portuguese government did not agree on Monday to allow public religious celebrations to resume because of the coronavirus epidemic. According to an announcement by the head of the socialist cabinet, the faithful are to be deprived of being physically present at liturgical celebrations for "many months to come."
“This ban is maintained not only in the case of the Catholic Church but also in relation to other religious associations” explained Prime Minister Antonio Costa after meeting with the President of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Manuel Clemente.
The head of the socialist government announced that similar talks would take place in the coming days with representatives of other religious associations to communicate the need to continue the mandatory quarantine.
“In the near future, we will not return to the normal life we had before the epidemic (…) We cannot allow it to increase, so many restrictions will continue until a vaccine is invented,” Costa added.
The Prime Minister praised the authorities of the Catholic Church in Portugal for supporting state authorities in the fight against coronavirus. He recalled that in mid-March the National Episcopate banned the organisation of community Masses and other services.