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Manila bishop seeks end to limits on religious services amid GCQ

Manila Archdiocese Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick Pabillo on Sunday urged the national government to lift the limitations on the number of persons allowed in religious services in areas under a general community quarantine.

In his homily in a Mass held at the Radio Veritas Chapel, Pabillo maintained that religious services cannot be construed as mass gatherings because the Catholic Church will strictly impose safety protocols.

"Religious activities should not be necessarily considered as mass gatherings because we have safeguards to control the people who come to our religious services," Pabillo said.

He added that Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases’ guidelines that only five people could attend a religious gathering in areas under GCQ and 10 people in places under modified GCQ is unjust.

Pabillo pointed out that the church has a wider area and can impose physical distancing among its attendees.

Further, Pabillo said online masses are not enough to provide for the spiritual needs of the public.

"Online masses are not the same as the real Eucharist; For this, we clamor to the IATF to consider religious service as essential services and not just consider us in the category of entertainment, among movies and beauty salons," he said.

On May 17, Pabillo said the IATF’s restrictions on religious gatherings in terms of the number of persons allowed was “impractical.” — DVM, GMA News