Filipino bishop dismayed over new gov’t rule allowing just 10 persons inside church

Photo: Joshua Eckstein/Unsplash
Photo: Joshua Eckstein/Unsplash

A high ranking official of the Philippine Catholic Church today expressed dismay over a newly announced government policy that allows only up to 10 people to enter a church.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, complained over the inconsistencies of the Duterte administration’s COVID-19 quarantine policies. When the general community quarantine (GCQ) was imposed in Metro Manila in July, a church was allowed to accommodate up to 10% of its maximum capacity, but this was scrapped when the GCQ was re-implemented this month.

“The problem is, they keep changing their decisions. So we have to adjust. That’s what’s happening here, things keep changing, even the virus, so we have to adjust,” the clergyman said in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo. 

Read: PH Catholic Church pushes for resumption of masses during general community quarantine

The new rule means baptisms and weddings will have fewer people.

“Weddings and baptisms will only have the necessary people. We cannot baptize [babies] all at the same time. One child per baptism. That’s gonna be harder for the priest,” Pabillo said.

“We just want to ask [the government], if they are allowing business enterprises to increase their capacity, the church should be allowed as well. It’s not right that a restaurant can allow 30% [dine-in customers] but the church can accept just 10 people. A church is bigger than a restaurant,” he said.

The coronavirus is transmitted easily during crowded activities held in churches and mosques, as evidenced by what happened in South Korea’s Shincheonji Church of Jesus and the Greenhills Masjid in San Juan, Metro Manila.


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