Malta’s Archdiocese has published its COVID-19 directives for the quasi-lockdown period, confirming churches remain open for worship, with a maximum of 100 attendees allowed inside at any given moment depending on the size of the building.
“The new directives state that churches can open for public worship but mass or other religious activities cannot be held, except for funerals and small weddings with all the necessary measures,” the Archdiocese wrote.
“The amount of people who can attend varies according to the size of the church but cannot exceed 100 people.”
With regards baptisms, the Church is encouraging parents to postpone them until after 11th April. If a baptism has to take place before that case, then it must be limited to the actual ritual, without a mass and with only a few attendees allowed.
Anointing of the Sick at home has been suspended except in critical cases.
Parochial offices remain open to offer essential services, but people are being encouraged to carry out these services remotely where possible.
ONE News today published an email sent by Paola parish priest Marc Andre Camilleri to Auxiliary Bishop Joe Galea Curmi, which warned the directives don’t make sense.
“Can you stop taking us for a ride?” Camilleri wrote. “If there’s truly a risk to people, then churches shouldn’t open at all. If there isn’t a risk, then mass should take place like usual. I expect an answer or I’ll handle things by myself tomorrow.”
“Can someone prove to me that there’s a different risk between participating in mass and people gathered together, even if not an organised worship, or worse a funeral mass (when we know those are the hardest moments to control people)?”
“How will we respond to people who are asking for Communion? Will we tell them that the clergy have the privilege of receiving Communion, but the general public must get it through TV.”
Galea Curmi responded curtly, telling him he was arrogant and that he wasn’t allowed to breach the directives.