Australian bishops begin cancelling Masses to contain Covid-19
Catholic dioceses in Australia began cancelling Masses as the government limited indoor gatherings to fewer than 100 people in mid-March in an effort to contain Covid-19.
The Australian bishops’ conference said it would not put blanket bans on Mass, including for Holy Week, calling the issue a “diocesan matter.”
In a short statement on its website, the Australian government said new measures announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison for nonessential gatherings included religious services, even Mass.
Dioceses have increasingly placed bans and restrictions on Masses since 16th March, with a surge in announcements on 18th and 19th March.
Bishops in the state of Victoria said that suspending Masses was difficult, “and every encouragement is offered as clergy and parish staff seek to explain sensitively to our people the reasons why Mass will not be offered as a public celebration,” a note on the Archdiocese of Melbourne website said.
The Archdiocese of Brisbane suspended Masses and released Catholics from their Sunday obligation. It said it would livestream Masses from the cathedral.
Picture: A nurse speaks with patients at the door of a new Covid-19 clinic opening at Mount Barker Hospital in Adelaide, Australia, on 17th March 2020. (CNS photo/Kelly Barnes, AAP Image via Reuters).