The vicar to Pope Francis has ordered all Catholic churches in Rome closed until next month because of the spread of the coronavirus:
All Catholic churches in Rome will be closed to the faithful, even for private prayer, until April 3, it was announced Thursday. It's the latest measure to reduce spread of the #coronavirus, which has killed more than a thousand people in Italy. https://t.co/ePz3J7813q
— Francis X. Rocca (@FrancisXRocca) March 12, 2020
Here’s more from US News:
Rome’s Catholic churches were ordered closed on Thursday because of the coronavirus pandemic, in a moved believed to be unprecedented in modern times.
The decree by Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, Pope Francis’ vicar for the Rome archdiocese, will remain in effect until at least April 3.
Previously, only Masses had been canceled because of the outbreak. The decree also dispenses Catholics in the archdiocese from their obligation to attend Mass on Sunday’s and Holy Days.
Closing churches down for weeks is a huge deal, especially in Rome, the heart of the Catholic church. But as Rocca points out, Italy is being ravaged by the coronavirus. Just within the last hour Italy has announced that the death toll from the virus has”risen to 1,016 from 827, with infections climbing by 21% to 15,113.”