Sri Lankan cardinal calls for lifting of restrictions on religious gatherings

The archbishop of Colombo has called on Sri Lankan authorities to allow public attendance of religious activities after months under strict quarantine measures due to the new coronavirus pandemic.

“We ask that those who are eagerly waiting to attend Holy Mass should be allowed to do so under certain conditions and with a limited number of people under quarantine laws,” said Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith reported Asia News.

The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka suspended the public celebration of Masses and other religious services in March in response to the government’s efforts to quell the spread of the new coronavirus disease.

In his message during the celebration of an online Mass on June 7, Cardinal Ranjith said Catholics have supported the government during the lockdown by suspending public Masses and closing churches across the country.

The prelate said the Catholic Church is not asking for “special treatment” but for the government to allow Christians to resume religious services. “Other religions should also be given the same opportunity to do so,” he said

As of June 7, Sri Lanka’s health ministry said the fight against the new coronavirus disease “has been so far successful” with only 1,835 confirmed cases since March.

At least 880 people have been admitted to various hospitals for treatment while 941 people have already recovered from the disease. Only 11 deaths were recorded.

Churches in Sri Lanka have been live-streaming Mass for the past three months. Church-run television network Verbum TV also broadcasts church activities, religious programs, and official messages.

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