ROME (LifeSiteNews) — Last week, a police officer interrupted Eucharistic Adoration in one of Rome’s churches to ensure that Italy’s indoor mask mandate was being enforced.
The officer entered the church during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, unsolicited and without a warrant. He was in full uniform and approached individual adorers as they prayed to enforce the mask mandate. He then entered the sacristy and confronted the priest, who told him to leave and to have the courtesy to at least take off his hat in the church in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. When the officer retorted that it was his uniform, the priest countered that there were no uniforms in the church.
The confrontation occurred as Italy is set to end its current state of emergency on March 31, which has been in place since spring 2020. It is yet to be determined if this will mean lifting all Covid-related restrictions, such as the current indoor mask mandate.
Similar police interruptions of Masses, Eucharistic processions, weddings, and baptisms have occurred over the last two years throughout Italy, contrary to the country’s constitutional protections of the freedom of religion and its exercise.
Fr. Carmine Petrilli of San Giuseppe Artigiano parish in Rocca Priora, south of Rome, commented to Crux at the start of the pandemic that churches were allowed to be open, “but they say people can’t go because it’s not a ‘primary need.’ This is what they say. But the constitution guarantees freedom of worship in every situation.”