ITALY: Police shoo away people outside a church hearing Mass through the open doors

The shape of things to come?

I was texting with The Great Roman™ today.  He’s fine and so is his family, but he’s frustrated, as you can imagine.  Everyone is in lockdown.  You can’t go anywhere except a nearby church or store without written permission.

He told us of a situation in the nearby Diocese of Porto.  I found a news story about it HERE

Police disperse Catholics at Sunday Mass in Italy

Italian police on Sunday dispersed Catholics attending a Mass being celebrated in a parish outside of Rome. The Italian government has prohibited public gatherings in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Mass was being offered at St Francis of Assisi Parish in the Italian town of Cerveteri, some 27 miles northwest of Rome. Earlier this month, the Italian bishops’ conference confirmed government measures against public gatherings, effectively prohibiting the public celebration of Mass anywhere in the country.

Some 15 people were present at the March 15 Mass, several of them seated outside of the church, whose doors were opened as Mass was offered. The Mass was being live streamed on Facebook.

Police entered the Church after the distribution of Holy Communion, and before the final prayers of the Mass. The priest was permitted to conclude the Mass after parishioners dispersed.


The priest was at the altar in church and the people were outside the church.

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  1. LeeGilbert says:

    Fr. you write, “the people were outside the church.” This reminds me.

    Back in the day, 1966, there was an outbreak of spinal meningitis at Ft. Polk, Louisiana. The command came down that all the windows in the barracks had to be opened two inches. It was late November and we might as well have been sleeping outside.

    Yet no command has come down that the windows of the Church should be opened for Sunday morning Mass, or the doors propped open to permit a free flow of air. Would not something so simple permit the Mass schedule to be maintained? Even in northern climes where people bundle up for football games, surely they would be willing to do so to attend Mass. For that matter, they may welcome such a challenge thrown down by their bishops. Am I being naive? Maybe, but at least imho our bishops make a fatal mistake in asking so little of us as they do. The greatest leaders have not been shy of asking the supreme sacrifice: Churchill, Eisenhower, Patton, . . . Jesus Christ. That was and is a major component of their leadership.

    Secondly, with the Wuhan virus on the prowl we should get to Confession, of course, but as an old timer I am utterly unwilling to enter such a stale and compromised atmosphere as our Confessional box offers. In a discussion with my wife this morning I find I am not the only one. Would it not be more healthy both for priest and penitent to set up temporary confessionals in the body of the Church? with the windows open, of course.

  2. Charivari Rob says:

    If the article is correct in saying distribution of Communion, then it sounds like people went inside for that or the priest came outside. Then again, it’s not entirely clear from the short clip, but it looks like there might have been a server or somebody inside (making the responses, perhaps?) and I suppose “distribution” would accurately apply even when to only one.

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