Even though the COVID-19 protocol in The Netherlands allows churches to admit 50 worshippers, six parishes in one archdiocese remain closed. Source: Crux.
The decision led to angry reactions from parishioners and a letter from Cardinal Wim Eijk of Utrecht Archdiocese, who instructed the parishes to re-open their doors.
In the letter, which was sent to all parishes, Cardinal Eijk writes that the archdiocese received letters and e-mails “with very disappointed or angry reactions” from parishioners in the affected parishes. The archdiocese understands this, says the cardinal, who describes attending celebrations as “essential for the salvation of souls”.
According to spokesman Roland Enthoven, the long-term effects of such decisions also play a role.
“If you close churches completely for too long, it remains to be seen to what extent things will pick up again afterwards,” he said, referring to the letter. In it, Cardinal Eijk expresses his concerns about the progress of Church life “now and in the future.”
The cardinal warned the parishes of a “scarcely recoverable undermining of Church life” when the faithful are unable to attend physical celebrations in their parish churches for an extended period.
Certainly, the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to have a major impact on parish life, causing, among other things, a decline in Mass attendance. In his letter, Cardinal Eijk also says he is considering that the pandemic might continue for several more years.
He instructed the six of 42 parishes in his diocese to resume physical celebrations “as soon as possible, but in any case from Sunday, January 16 onwards”.
Dutch cardinal urges reluctant parishes to re-open for worshippers (By Francesco Paloni, Katholiek Nieuwsblad via Crux)