The permanent council of the French Bishops’ Conference (CEF), which met Thursday evening, November 26, with the announcement of Jean Castex to maintain at 30 the number of people authorized to attend a religious celebration, filed this Friday, November 27 in the morning a summary-freedom to the Council of State.
“ The many reactions received from the faithful, including other religions, push us to ask that the law be said », Explains in a press release the permanent council, while announcing a meeting Sunday, November 29 at 6 pm with the Prime Minister. Mgr Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, President of the CEF, Mgr Dominique Blanchet and Mgr Olivier Leborgne, his vice-presidents, as well as two other bishops and the secretary general of the CEF, Father Hugues de Woillemont, will participate in this meeting with Jean Castex, and ” hope that this meeting will finally be a real moment of consultation “.
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Other bishops have announced their decision to seize the Council of State. This is the case of Mgr Luc Ravel, Bishop of Strasbourg, Mgr Michel Aupetit, in Paris, or even Mgr Éric Aumônier, Bishop of Versailles. Lay side, Jean-Benoit Harel, the initiator of the petition “For the Mass” which collected more than 106,000 signatures, has also announced his intention to file a summary of freedom. The president of the Protestant Federation of France, François Clavairoly, said Thursday to think about this possibility, without the decision to resort to justice being taken.
“Priests do not have to count the faithful in order to exclude them”
Pending the meeting with Jean Castex and the decision of the Council of State, the permanent council of the CEF recalls that “The rules set by the Prime Minister are in force even if we are all aware of the great difficulties in which these government decisions place the faithful”.
Deposit of a #ReferenceFreedom at the Council of State in the morning of November 27. The #bishops de France believe that they have a duty to ensure freedom of worship in our country and hope that recourse to the law will help calm the spirits. pic.twitter.com/nX5Nftwfgx
– Catholic Church (@Eglisecatho) November 27, 2020
Several bishops, for their part, asked their priests not to limit the entry of the faithful into churches on Sunday. This is the case of Bishop Pierre d’Ornellas, in Rennes, who considers that “ priests do not have to count the faithful in order to exclude them “And that they” will therefore welcome the faithful who will come, asking them to strictly respect barrier gestures “.
In Versailles too, Mgr Éric Aumônier, accompanied by his assistant Mgr Bruno Valentin, explains “ that they cannot ask the parish priests to apply inapplicable measures given the number of masses that should thus be scheduled on Sundays in the churches of Yvelines “And invited them” to welcome the faithful at the rate of 4 m2 per person according to the sanitary protocol proposed by the Conference of Bishops of France, that is to say one third of the usual capacity of the churches. “
“My patience was disappointed”
Mgr Norbert Turini, bishop of Perpignan, also asks the priests “ not to set themselves up as “accountants” of their Sunday meetings and therefore not to reject if this were the case, the 31st person and the following ones who would present themselves. “” I take full responsibility for it and if necessary I will answer personally to the public authorities. », He assures.
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” My patience was disappointed », Explains for his part Mgr Pierre-Yves Michel, bishop of Valence, who adds that« we are not above the law and we will try to come to terms with these directives », Not wanting« not be in the confrontation “. ” I trust priests and to their teams and I ask as many people as possible to respect barrier gestures and distance, and to come as close as possible to what is requested. The churches remain open and it is not possible for us to prohibit the entrto a person in a church », He adds.
“Everyone will take care to limit the filling of their church without leaving anyone at the door …”
In the Oise, Bishop Jacques Benoit-Gonnin instructed his priests not to proceed “ to no control “. ” They will not select the faithful admitted to come to the “House of God”, he adds. The priests will publish, for the faithful, the hours of the offices which will be multiplied, as much as they deem possible. The gendarmerie / police services can be informed of the times of worship and informed that there will be no control of the gauge by the assignee. The faithful will be informed of the risk of verbalization. “
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In Paris, where the implementation of a limit of 30 people is “ unachievable », Mgr Aupetit explains that« it is not in the spirit of the Gospel to kick people out or to exclude them. When the Church is at the service of the poorest, she does not sort. It will not do it either for the reception of the faithful. “
He offers two options to priests in his diocese. Is ” do not resume the public celebration of masses this Sunday and celebrate during the week “, is ” celebrate masses this Sunday in public by multiplying the schedules and ensuring compliance with the usual barrier gestures already recommended and on which it will be necessary to be really rigorous. Everyone will take care to limit the filling of their church without leaving anyone at the door … “