Bishop Castillo of Celaya. Bishop Castillo of Celaya.

Priests who hold public Mass to face repercussions in Celaya

The bishop has ordered the celebration of Mass without any congregation

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, President López Obrador has faced backlash for his apparent lack of concern, appearing at large public gatherings where he touched or even embraced attendees. 

But in Celaya, Guanajuato, religious leaders are taking a different approach.

The bishop of the Celaya diocese, Benjamín Castillo Plascencia, has ordered the celebration of Mass without any parishioners. He’s also suspended pastoral activities and all Holy Week events. Castillo warned that he would penalize any priest who violates the rules.

The measure became mandatory on March 17 and applies to all churches throughout the Celaya diocese. This new regulation, Castillo emphasized, has been implemented to protect church-goers in the wake of the spreading coronavirus.

The announcement came just hours before Mexico confirmed its first death from the coronavirus: a 41-year old with diabetes passed away from the disease on Wednesday. 

Castillo said weddings can be celebrated, but only in the presence of the couple and the witnesses. “They should celebrate behind closed doors with a minimum presence of guests.”

The bishop explained that he decided to take the measures in response to the recommendation of the Mexican Episcopal Conference, the highest authority of the Catholic Church in Mexico. “Awareness of the danger is real and it’s a situation that we must take with seriousness,” he told the newspaper El Universal.

There will be some celebrations during Lent, but they will be limited.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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