Covid19 and religious practice. The Interior Ministry consults confessions other than the Catholic one

Negro (FCEI): "A constructive meeting in search of a balance between health security and the needs of worship"

Foto: Annie Spratt, da

Rome (NEV),  May 10, 2020 – An unprecedented procedure, dictated by the Covid19 emergency, the one that prompted the Ministry of the Interior to organize a video conference on May 5, with the representatives of the various confessional areas, to define a protocol of behavior able to allow the various faith communities to resume at least some activities, in compliance with the prevention rules indicated by the Prime Minister. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Union of the Jewish communities, the Baha’i and Sikh communities, the Orthodox and Anglican churches, the Islamic associations, the Mormon associations. The protestant churches  were represented by the President of the  Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI), pastor Luca M. Negro;  the pastor Gaetano Montante representing the Assemblies of God in Italy (ADI);  the pastor Michele Passeretti, for the Evngelical Council and the pastor Davide Romano, for the Adventist Christian Union.
The meeting was convened and chaired by the prefect Michele Di Bari, Director of the Department for Civil Freedom and Immigration who, bringing the greeting of the Minister of the Interior, Luciana Lamorgese, invited all participants to report any critical issues found in the religious practice of the different communities to make sure that the rules of safety and prevention were adopted and enforced in the interest of the collectivity, also in their places of worship.

“The member churches of FCEI – said President Negro – appreciate the initiative of the Ministry  which recognizes the importance of religious pluralism  and initiates a dialogue with the various confessional representatives. The churches also confirm their responsible attitude:  “We recognize the seriousness of the situation  and we support the measures taken by the national Government and the regional Administrations, to combat the spread of the virus. At the same time – Negro said – we point out the need for pastors to be enabled to carry out their activity by moving on the territory, also crossing regional borders and ask that, as we get closer to normality, it will be possible for the communities members to reach the places of worship  when these are far from their residences”.
As consultants to the Ministry, prof. Pierluigi Consorti of the University of Pisa and prof. Paolo Naso of the Sapienza University of Rome, participated in the debate appreciating and acknowledging the sense of responsibility with which the various confessions have reorganized pastoral and liturgical activities, in the name of the superior and universal principle of collective security. As for the issues still open – Paolo Naso said –  they will have to be tackled by adopting the analogy method, whereby to ministers of worship and to religious communities should be recognized the same freedom of movement and organization adopted for other professional figures and other social groups”.
For FCEI, therefore, it was “an undoubtedly positive meeting”, as prefect Di Bari also concluded, announcing the presentation of a protocol that will take into account the issues emerged during the meeting or that, in a very short time, the various confessions will send to the Ministry of the Interior.