By Christina Hermoso
Manila Apostolic Administrator Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo said on Monday that the small number of mass attendees allowed by the government under relaxed quarantine rules is simply “unreasonable.”
In a Facebook post, Pabillo said limiting mass attendees to five during the modified enhanced community quarantine or 10 people during the general community quarantine “was both unreasonable and even laughable.”
“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? Do they say that only 10 persons should be in an office, or that 20 persons work in a factory, or that only five persons can enter a store at a time? This would be preposterous!” Pabillo said.
“It is just another way of saying not to have religious activities,” he added.
The directive, the Church leader said, will also make the holding of holy masses in big churches like the Baclaran Church or the Manila Cathedral with only five or ten mass goers, ridiculous.
“Why not give instead the instruction that there be one meter or two-meter distance between persons in a church?” he suggested.
Pabillo said the government did not consult the religious sector prior to the release of the omnibus guidelines on quarantine restrictions including religious services.
“This is the problem with the government. They make arbitrary decisions without proper consultation with the sectors involved so they come out with unreasonable directives,” he said.
The Archdiocese of Manila had earlier sent a proposal to the Health department on the conduct of religious services with particular focus on precautionary and safety measures against COVID-19.
The proposal included holding more masses on weekdays, physical distancing inside the church, gaps between masses to give way to disinfection, placing foot baths and hand sanitizers at entrances, limiting the number of people during baptism, weddings, and funerals, among others.