Belgian bishops approve ban on Christmas in-church celebrations
There will be no Masses in Belgian churches on Christmas Day or on the days that follow. This is a consequence of the government's decree of the 29th of November to extend the ban on public religious ceremonies in places of worship until the 15th of January.
In Tuesday’s communiqué, the Belgian Catholic Bishops expressed their “solidarity with the actions taken by the government to contain the pandemic, [alleviate] the plight of as many victims as possible and relieve pressure on our healthcare system.”
In the meantime, “bishops, like many of the faithful, perceive this lockdown in public celebration as a limitation for the living of our faith.” Therefore, the episcopate asks that competent government offices seek dialogue on the possibility of an early resumption of the rule of religious celebrations, which would be enshrined in a protocol ensuring safety measures preventing the spread of COVID-19.
In the same message, the bishops appealed to the people responsible for parishes to ensure that churches remained open for as long as possible, welcoming the faithful who individually or with their closest family would come to pray, light a candle or give some money for the needy. They also recommend that the faithful visit the nativity scene in the church on Christmas Day, with the observance of precautionary measures against the coronavirus.