Lawyers for the French Bishops’ Conference (CEF) denounced Saturday before the Council of State the limitation to thirty of the number of people who can attend religious ceremonies, believing it to be a measure “Unnecessary, disproportionate and discriminatory”. “Freedom of commerce and industry and freedom of worship are not guaranteed in the same way”, lamented Me Guillaume Valdelièvre, lawyer at the Council of State representing the CEF.
“Non-essential” businesses reopened on Saturday but the government has maintained the gauge by limiting participation in religious ceremonies to thirty people, while Catholics celebrate the first Sunday of Advent this weekend. For mee Antoine Delvolvé, also lawyer of the Council of State on behalf of the diocese of Paris:
“The ban on religious ceremonies of more than 30 people in places of worship is manifestly disproportionate in that it does not take into account the size of religious buildings. La Fnac des Ternes (in Paris) put up a sign: “You can be 604 in the store”. But (this store) is smaller than Saint-Sulpice. This is discrimination that is obvious. “
According to Jean-Benoît Harel, president of the association “For mass”, the decision to limit the number of people attending services to 30 “Has no scientific basis”.
Pascale Léglise, representative of the Ministry of the Interior, tried to defuse these criticisms. According to her, France is “Not the only one” to have taken this type of measure. She therefore denies any “Stigma” believers from the French government.
Comparing the situation of shops and places of worship would not be relevant, she also stressed. “In a store, people pass by, don’t talk to each other, don’t stay seated next to each other”, she noted, noting that theaters, cinemas, bars and restaurants remained closed. “Thirty people (in a place of worship) is not a lot”, a admis Mme Church, but “We can have more masses, not just on Sunday mornings”, she added.
Mr. Harel asks: “Why this figure of thirty people? “ – without getting an answer. “Why doesn’t the thirty-first person come in?” “, he insists. “Compared to other activities, places of worship are open, while – for example – universities continue to be closed”, answers the representative of the ministry.
The decision of the Council of State is awaited ” by this evening [samedi] a little late, or tomorrow [dimanche] a little early “, concludes Mr. Harel.
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