The French bishops’ appeal to continue public Masses during France’s national lockdown has been rejected. Source: CNA.
“The bishops deplore above all that the faithful will thus remain unable to participate in Mass, the summit of their faith and an irreplaceable encounter with God and with their brothers,” the French bishops’ conference said in a statement issued in response to the decision.
As France entered into its second lockdown of this year, the French episcopal conference filed a référé liberté, arguing that the most recent coronavirus restrictions “violate freedom of worship”.
A référé liberté is an urgent administrative procedure that is filed as a petition to a judge for the protection of fundamental rights, in this case, the right to freedom of worship.
The statement from the bishops on Saturday announced that the judge's dismissal of their appeal was “based solely on health grounds”.
It said that Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, the president of the bishops conference, and the bishops will “remain vigilant in the face of any limitation on freedom of worship at a time when, for security reasons, the public authorities want to strengthen their surveillance of all religions”.
The decision to reject the bishops’ appeal came on the same day as France’s national memorial for the three Catholics killed in a terrorist attack at the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Nice.
French bishops' appeal for public Masses during lockdown rejected by judge (By Courtney Mares, CNA)