Manila Bishop calls gov’t restrictions on religious services “unreasonable” and “laughable”

Manila Apostolic Administrator Broderick Pabillo aired his grievances with government policies on religious services in a Facebook post this Sunday.

The Catholic Church leader clarified that while the Church is happy for the permission of religious gathering in areas under either Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine or General Community Quarantine, he finds restricting religious gatherings to a maximum of 5 to 10 participants to be problematic.

(Are Quarantine Passes Still Required During the MECQ?)

“The limitations they set to religious activities are unreasonable – 5 persons for MECQ and 10 persons for MGCQ!” he exclaims. “It is just another way of saying that you do not have religious activities.”

“Where did they get these numbers? Why is it that they do not give the absolute numbers of persons who can enter a store, or work in the office, or in the factory?” Bishop Pabillo questions. “Do they say that only 10 persons should be in an office, or that 20 persons work in a factory, or that only 5 persons can enter a store at a time? This would be preposterous!”

“There are many churches with different sizes,” he justifies. “Five persons for such a big church as Baclaran or the Manila Cathedral is laughable! The one-size-fits-all directive is really unreasonable! Why not give instead the instruction that there be one meter or two-meter distance between persons in a church?”

Bishop Pabillo ends by saying: “This directive on religious activities was surely taken without any consultation with the religious sector. This is a problem with the government. They make arbitrary decisions without proper consultation with the sectors involved. So they come out with unreasonable directives!”

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