Just like last year, there will be no midnight masses in the Roman Catholic Churches this year. The Dutch bishops have decided this because of the corona measures. All other church services that would be held after 5 p.m. are also canceled for the time being.
“The decision not to allow public celebrations after 5 p.m. on Christmas is a matter of great concern to the bishops,” the denomination said in a statement. “They reiterate that the church should not be a source of contamination.” The bishops are calling on parishes to “make full use of” the opportunities to celebrate Christmas during the day.
With their decision, the bishops say they want to prevent a mass movement of people who would go to the Christmas night celebrations at the same time. “The importance of good ventilation has also been emphasized and that is difficult to achieve with multiple celebrations in one evening.” The church points out that this decision has already been made because preparations for the Christmas Eve celebrations are about to begin or have already begun.
Mouth cap and 1,5 m rule
The mask and the one and a half meter rule have already returned within the Roman Catholic Church. In churches where more people are expected than the capacity allows, believers must reserve their place from now on. Evening celebrations that were supposed to start after 5pm are brought forward to end at 5pm.
According to the rules of the national government, churches do not have to comply with the mandatory closure at 5 p.m. At the press conference on Friday, outgoing Prime Minister Rutte called on the churches to show “solidarity” with the rest of the Netherlands and to also adhere to the rules.
After the press conference, the interdenominational consultation CIO made an “urgent appeal” to the affiliated denominations to start earlier or to hold a service digitally. Only in very serious cases should a service continue after 5 p.m.