Churches Reopened in ‘La Belle Province’, Quebec Canada

The Bishops of Quebec, a province in Canada have published a letter celebrating the official reopening of churches in the province of Quebec.

Newsroom (07/02/2022 09:30 AM, Gaudium Press) The Catholic Bishops in the province of Quebec have published a letter celebrating the opening of churches. The opening took place yesterday, February 7.

The letter, which is addressed to the faithful, celebrates the fact that the authorities have understood that religious engagement and activities are important aspects for many citizens.

The bishops say that this is another opportunity to remember “the duty of the State to respect, promote and protect religious freedom.” The letter quotes a paragraph from the Second Vatican Council (Dignitatis Humanae):

“6. It belongs essentially to every civil authority to protect and promote inviolable human rights. The civil power must therefore effectively ensure, by means of just laws and other convenient means, the protection of the religious freedom of all citizens, and provide favorable conditions for the development of religious life, so that citizens may really exercise their rights and fulfill their duties, and society itself may benefit from the goods of justice and peace which derive from men’s fidelity to God and His holy will.”

Opening of churches was the fruit of much effort

The Bishops recalled that the opening of the churches was the result of a great effort with the government. They also pleaded for the exemption of the vaccination requirement, because they consider the negative effects of such an imposition.

In addition, they understand “that many believers believe that this requirement constitutes an intolerable discrimination that deprives unvaccinated people of their right to religious freedom,” they explain. Which is incompatible with the very notion of community.

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However, the Bishops affirm the responsibility of all the faithful to society and to the health of all, especially during a pandemic.

Government restrictions may exist

Therefore, after noting that the Vatican Council declaration recognizes the ‘due limits’ of religious freedom, the letter states that the freedom of the faithful “may exceptionally be subject to temporary restrictions for the common good” and that some measures may be imposed.

The missive asks for the understanding of the faithful in this exceptional moment in history because: “This is the duty of the State, even if the decisions taken are imperfect and questionable, made at the cost of scientific and political compromises,” the Bishops explain.

Vaccine obligation vs. proximity to the faithful

In effect, the obligatory vaccination pass will be maintained. However, the Bishops express their closeness to all those who will not be able to attend religious services because they have not been vaccinated and affirm other means of reaching those individuals.

The church authorities say they will continue to be in contact with government authorities to remind them that this requirement contradicts the beliefs of the faithful and that the requirement should be lifted as soon as possible.

In order to ensure greater closeness to the faithful, the Bishops ask that pastors throughout the province promote celebrations outdoors, by broadcast or by any other safe means “we want all the baptized to be welcomed and accompanied.”

The letter ends by urging the faithful to join Pope Francis’ prayer: “I ask God that each of us contribute with our small grain of sand.” (FM)

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Compiled by Camille Mittermeier

 

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