Jesuit Institute SA questions opening of religious institutions under Level 3
The Jesuit Institute South Africa has responded to government's decision to re-open religious institutions under Level 3 saying the "seemingly rushed move" is questionable.
On Tuesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that congregational worship would be allowed when the country moves to level 3 lockdown on 1 June, limiting the number of congregants to 50 people.
Director of the institute Father Russell Pollitt says he is not convinced that it is a good idea and that the current messaging from government is contradictory.
I am really not sure about the wisdom of this and I also think the contradictory messages we are getting all the time from government is problematic. How can you say to people that you can't go and visit your granny or your friend down the road and maybe there is just three or four of you and yet you can go into a gathering of 50 people....Father Russell Pollitt, Director - Jesuit Institute South Africa
Then there are other issues - who decides who gets into the church? The sanitising of these buildings, the equipment needed and personnel...who is going to do this and can churches afford the necessary equipment for the sanitising? In our country, we need to realise many people go to churches in areas of great poverty, what is going in those churches?Father Russell Pollitt, Director - Jesuit Institute South Africa
If there are more than 50 people in the church, are the police going to barge in there like they did in that mosque in the beginning of lockdown? We know that the police have not shone in glory in this whole lockdown period with what has happened.Father Russell Pollitt, Director - Jesuit Institute South Africa
I am very worried about why suddenly the rush, when I think a much better way of doing this would have been to phase things in, to get the economy going first because that is key to people's survival, to put food on their tables.Father Russell Pollitt, Director - Jesuit Institute South Africa
We can continue to pray and read sacred texts wherever we are. We don't have to be in a gathering for this temporary period to be able to live out our faith.Father Russell Pollitt, Director - Jesuit Institute South Africa
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