What greater sacrifice than spending weeks locked up at home because of the coronavirus? The bishops of several dioceses in the United States must have asked themselves, who in recent days have lifted part of the restrictions of Lent. A bishop of New Jersey, with 600,000 faithful in his diocese of Metuchen, has allowed meat to be eaten on Fridays, except that of April 10 because it is Good Friday. The numbers of the epidemic in the United States have grown exponentially in recent days.
“Given the difficulties in obtaining some types of food and the many other sacrifices that we are suddenly undergoing, I have granted a dispensation from abstaining from eating meat on Fridays for the remainder of Lent,” Bishop James F. Checchio has published. , on the Twitter account of his diocese. Abstaining from eating meat is one of the precepts of the liturgical season that precedes Holy Week.
As collected The Washington Post, Many other bishops have granted dispensations. A Louisiana state bishop, Shelton J. Fabre, believes that the coronavirus has put “most, if not all” of its faithful in a situation that complicates making food, “including alternatives to meat.” In a pastoral message, he also pointed out that “the rise in the price of fish and shellfish, and even the risk of going shopping without putting health at risk” clearly “makes it difficult” to comply with the precept, and this has been stated in the website of the diocese of Houma Thibodaux. Of them, those who eat meat can compensate with charity or pious works, the religious recalled.
The American newspaper details other consequences in religious practice of the coronavirus crisis, such as the concern of numerous priests that, by imposing ash on the foreheads of their faithful as is customary on Ash Wednesday, they could facilitate contagion. Since the beginning of March, and in line with what happened in other countries, numerous Catholic churches in the United States, more than 50 million people, stopped allowing the wine consecrated during the Eucharist to be drunk from the chalice, a practice that, in the The case of the Greek Orthodox Church has continued to be practiced.