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Vatican: Catholic churches across Rome to shut until April 3

/ 03:31 AM March 13, 2020

A man wearing a mask walks in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Friday, March 6, 2020. A Vatican spokesman has confirmed the first case of coronavirus at the city-state. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Friday that non-emergency medical services at the Vatican have been closed so they can be sanitized following the positive test on Thursday. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

ROME — The Vatican on Thursday took the unprecedented step of closing all Catholic churches across Rome to stem the spread of a coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 1,000 people across Italy.

The papal vicar for Rome said the churches would reopen when a broader Italian government crackdown on public gatherings expires on April 3.

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“The faithful are consequently exempt from their obligation to fulfill the festive precept,” a statement from Cardinal Angelo De Donatis said.

The Vatican statement said access to “churches of the Diocese of Rome open to the public — and more generally to religious buildings of any kind open to the public — is forbidden to all the faithful”.

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The statement added that monasteries would remain open to “communities that habitually use them as residents”.

“This provision is for the common good,” De Donatis wrote.

Edited by JPV

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TAGS: Catholic, Church, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Italy, pandemic, Rome, Vatican
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