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Croatian Archbishop: Easing of measures for religious services doesn’t mean less caution

Church of St Elijah, Metkovic

ZAGREB, May 1 (Hina) – The head of the Croatian Bishops’ Conference, Zadar Archbishop Zelimir Puljic, on Friday expressed satisfaction with the relaxation of some restrictive measures for religious services involving worshippers.

He, however, warned that making the measures less stringent does not mean that participants in the services should be less alert to the threat of the spread of the virus.

On Thursday, the bishops of the Croatian Conference of Bishops issued a letter to priests and the faithful on the conducting of Masses and other liturgical celebrations during the COVID-19 epidemic, which stated, among other things, that each bishop would adopt specific provisions for his diocese, based upon the recommendations of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, the Croatian Catholic news agency IKA reported.

“In regard to the prevention of contagion, caution and the safeguarding of human health, we, the bishops of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, urge all of you, dear brother priests and all of you, dear faithful, to continue to adhere to the recommendations of the Croatian Institute of Public Health on physical distancing, enhanced personal hygiene, enhanced cleaning and disinfection of common areas, and monitoring personal health, which will be published and concern church premises and religious gatherings. This is a matter of expert opinions and recommendations, which must be taken seriously by all of us, respected and conscientiously followed,” the bishops say.

Thanking all those who have cared and continue to care for the health of our citizens, the bishops thanked priests and the faithful, “for having responsibly accepted and complied with the Directives of the Croatian Conference of Bishops, issued on March 19, 2020, with regard to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19.”

“With your discipline and sacrifice, you have demonstrated Christian responsibility for the common good and helped prevent the pandemic from spreading to more people in Croatia, in order to avoid overburdening the health care system and prevent greater suffering and dying, unlike the case in some other countries,” said the bishops.

On Friday, Archbishop Puljic called on the faithful to adhere to preventive measures.

For instance, during the sacrament of confession, priests and believers are supposed to wear protective masks.

Also, believers with symptoms such as a cough and higher body temperature are advised to refrain from attending Masses in places of worship

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