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St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican CitySteve Jalsevac / LifeSiteNews

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is refusing to let pilgrims enter to attend Mass because they’re wearing the wrong type of face mask.

On Monday morning, pilgrims seeking to attend a Mass scheduled for their private group were turned away because the face masks they wore were not the specific FFP2 masks (similar to N95 masks) stipulated by the Italian government. The new enforcement comes as the Vatican City, which is its own independent country, follows a tightening of COVID rules by the Italian government, requiring FFP2 masks in all indoor and outdoor public spaces in Italy.

Vatican City, though not subject to Italian law, has decided to enforce the same regulations in this case.

The Code of Canon Law, the Church’s internal body of legislation, strictly forbids the refusal of admittance to the sacraments if the faithful are properly disposed. The Code states (can. 843), “Sacred ministers cannot deny the sacraments to those who seek them at the proper times, are properly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.”

In particular, such faithful have a right derived from baptism to admittance to the sacrament of the Eucharist that cannot be set aside for trivial reasons that are not related to the sacrament.

According to can. 912, “any baptized person not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to holy communion,” and can. 214 confirms that “the Christian faithful have the right to worship God according to the prescripts of their own rite approved by the legitimate pastors of the Church.”

Refusing admittance to attend Mass excludes the Christian faithful both from the worship of God according the prescripts of their own rite and from the reception of Holy Communion.

Regarding open access to churches, canon law (can. 1221) stipulates that “entry into a church is to be free and gratuitous.” Conditioning entry upon a specific kind of face mask runs contrary to such open access.

The Italian government has also attempted to impose the “Green Pass” on those wishing to attend religious services, with the exception of attending Mass. So far, this has not been enforced in the city of Rome.

Medical studies show that masks are ineffective at reducing the spread of COVID-19, including the popular FFP2 mask. Studies also show that masks can cause both physical and psychological harm, reducing oxygen intake and increasing social fear and anxiety.