Catholic bishop in Iceland appeals for lifting of 10-person Mass limit

Iceland’s only Catholic bishop has called on the government to lift the country’s 10-person limit on Mass attendance, arguing that it is an “unfair discrepancy” within the current coronavirus measures.

Bishop David Tencer of Reykjavik, the country’s sole Catholic diocese, issued a statement on Jan. 4 calling for the COVID-19 restrictions to be changed “where justice does not seem to be observed.”

“Our churches are not small. If it is possible to hold a funeral or even a concert with 50 people, how is it that only 10 people can attend Mass?” he said in the statement sent to CNA.

“How do I explain to our parishioners that many restaurants can accommodate more customers? How to explain that in Landakotskirkja there can only be 10 people but, for example, there can be more than 10 in a sauna?”

Landakotskirkja, also known as the Basilica of Christ the King, is the Catholic cathedral in Reykjavik. It has a seating capacity of 200 people.

Fr. Patrick Breen, the vicar general of Reykjavik diocese, told CNA Jan. 5: “The church is quite big enough so that even 50 people in the church could still observe social distancing.”

Police contacted the Diocese of Reykjavik on Jan. 3 to report that a Sunday Mass offered in Polish at the cathedral had exceeded the 10-person limit.

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