January 17, 2021

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Bishop of Arecibo demands prudence from the government before possible closure | PRESENT

The bishop of the diocese of Arecibo, Monsignor Daniel Fernández Torres, today demanded prudence from Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced when evaluating new closure measures to stop the spread of Covid-19, as this could threaten, as far as to the churches, "against the good of souls, in addition to being unnecessary and arbitrary."

Monsignor Fernández Torres recalled that religious freedom is a fundamental right that covers every citizen, for which he exhorted the government to respect it and be reasonable at the time of imposing new restrictive measures to address an upturn in the cases of Covid-19 reported on the Island.

He demanded that the service provided by the churches be recognized as an essential one.

“We have established and implemented a protocol with more restrictive measures than what is established in the Government Guide for the reopening of churches and we have demonstrated our willingness to collaborate with the government to avoid the propagation. ", clarified the Catholic hierarch.

He explained that, this, together with the reality that" they have not been sources of infection, makes an order for the total closure of the churches an unreasonable and unjustified measure. " 19659002] "We invite the government to make a careful, balanced and fair analysis that does not impose measures that are more onerous than necessary, especially when there is a fundamental right protected by our constitution involved," said Fernández Torres.

The prelate assured that there are other ways to ensure the health of the faithful and prevent the spread of the virus without having to close the churches.

In this regard, he pointed out that the protocol of the Diocese of Arecibo establishes the measures on taking temperature , mandatory use of masks and social distancing.

In addition, a letter issued by the Vicar General of the diocese provides that in the case of a person who has participated in a celebration, test positive for Covid 19, will proceed to the immediate closure and certified disinfection of the temple, social isolation and notification to the parishioners. "This protocol has been followed and even though we cannot predict the actions of all citizens who voluntarily attend a celebration, there is no evidence that the parishes have been the focus of infection," he added.

Fernández Torres urged "to the faithful believers to pray for the wisdom of our rulers and we hope that the measures to be taken in the near future are in accordance with the principles of religious freedom and public health. "

" One thing is certain, faith is not a pathology as some try to imply. On the contrary, it is the soul of a people in its struggles, and its strength in trials, ”claimed the Bishop of Arecibo.

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