The Holy See has chosen not to follow the lead of many EU countries, including Italy, that are already easing their COVID-19 restrictions.
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While encouraging Catholics within the diocese to follow state guidelines, Bishop Tobin added that “no individual should be turned away from Mass or singled out if they choose to not wear a mask.”
Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston said Dec. 9 that the new policy “will provide an important and enhanced level of safety during the upcoming Christmas season Masses."
New Mexico and Washington are among the states that have recently reinstituted mask mandates applying to all indoor activities, but overall the restrictions in place remain less burdensome than they were a year ago.
The announcement comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 mitigation recommendations for schools.
As Some Churches Return to Full Capacity, Vaccination Status Complicates Lifting COVID-19 Restrictions
As US dioceses and parishes celebrated the Holy Spirit’s descent and the birth of the Church on Pentecost, many of them were able to reduce the curbs on worship that have been in place because of the pandemic.
On the same day the CDC published its new guidance, the Catholic Conference of Ohio announced that it would lift its general dispensation from the Sunday obligation on the weekend of June 5.
The statement followed the decision of Gov. John Bel Edwards, who ended mask requirements on Wednesday.
Pope Francis' general audience address, on “Love and the common good,” was part of a catechetical cycle entitled “Healing the World.”
Bishop Vergez said that all Vatican Museums employees have continued to receive their salaries during the closure at the insistence of Pope Francis.