Catholic churches across Rome have been ordered to completely close due to the spread of coronavirus and worshippers are exempt from attending Sunday mass.
Pope Francis’ cardinal in charge of the Diocese of Rome, Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, said on Thursday that all churches in the city, whether active parishes or just open to the public, will shut down until April 3.
A church historian in Rome has said this is the first time that all churches in Rome have been closed to the faithful.
In a statement on the Church of Rome website, the Cardinal said the shutdown was necessary due to a “sense of belonging to a human family exposed to a virus of which we still don’t know the nature of or how it propagates. The faithful are therefore dispensed from the obligation of fulfilling Sunday celebration.”
“We are living in a very serious health situation each one of us is asked to have the utmost attention, because any imprudence in observing health measures could harm other people,” he added.