- May 25, 2020
The Italian bishops have appeared to threaten that if they don’t get a satisfactory response from the government on a date for restarting public Masses, they may be prepared to assert the authority afforded under religious freedom provisions of the Italian constitution and act on their own.
On Monday the Italian bishops criticized the government’s omission of a date to restart public Masses in its new week-by-week plan for the return to normal life after the coronavirus, threatening to act autonomously.
The apparent simplicity but actual complexity of “cacio e pepe” may be an apt metaphor for the recipe Catholic bishops in various parts of the world appear to be trying to follow with regard to the resumption of ecclesiastical life after coronavirus lockdowns.
Even in times of strict quarantine when prayer is not a legitimate enough reason to leave one’s house, in Italy expressions of popular piety and devotion are still driving the Catholic Church’s spiritual reaction to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, at times at the explicit request of the faithful.
Father Ivan Maffeis, spokesman for the Italian bishops’ conference, has said officials Friday met with representatives of the Italian Interior Ministry to discuss the gradual return to a normal
sacramental life, with specific regard to Mass and funerals, though no date has been projected.
Now that Italy has begun to relax some of its restrictions, allowing bookstores, stationary shops and stories for babies and children to reopen today, there are signs the compact between church and state over church closures may be fraying.