Why masses on in Catholic churches ? : HC asks Maharashtra Government

When the Diocese of Rome has cancelled the celebration of masses in countries affected by Coronavirus for over a month, what is the need for an advocate to file a petition in the High Court for banning masses ?

Hindus have closed all temples, small and big, along with centres of pilgrimage. In such a situation, how can other communities be careless about public health, which also includes their own brethren ?

Mumbai – The Bombay High Court on 19th March asked the Maharashtra Government why masses are still being held in Catholic churches across Mumbai.

A Bench of acting Chief Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Nitin Borkar took suo motu cognizance of a letter written by an Advocate Savina Crasto, a parishioner of ‘Our Lady of Seven Dolours Church’, Sonapur, Marine Lines, in which she urged the court to ‘help curb the spread of COVID-19 in the churches’. Savina Crasto said she has addressed the letter, including to Chief Justice of India, “With deep regret in my heart I bring to your notice the unhealthy practices taking place in the Catholic Church during a time when the spread of coronavirus is rampant”.

Savina Crasto’s letter said despite the imposition of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code prohibiting mass gatherings and efforts taken by the Government to control the spread of the pandemic, in few parts including the church where she belongs, it is said that unhealthy practices are taking place irrespective of the notifications on the ban on mass gatherings. Further, there are masses conducted daily in the morning and evening and numerous people come to the church. She referred to ‘distribution of Holy Communion’ which is received by people on their tongue which is totally not hygienic.

“There is no provision made in the church for the Eucharistic ministers (laypersons) distributing Holy Communion to wash their hands with soap before the distribution”, her letter added.

Hindus have closed all temples and centres of pilgrimage. In such a situation, how can other communities be careless about public health ?