Agreement in the Easter dispute
In Bavaria, the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior, the State Chancellery and representatives of the Protestant and Catholic churches met on Wednesday evening. Then the government said that everything had gone well. But the result suggests otherwise. Believers are allowed to go to churches at Easter, but no recommendation is made to do so.
The Evangelical Regional Church in Bavaria announced that it will further increase its online offer of church services for the Easter days. Unlike at Christmas, the regional church does not prescribe a general registration requirement for attendance services for its parishes. This is only compulsory for church services “where visitor numbers are expected that lead to capacity utilization”.
Evangelical church services in the open air
The Augsburg and Swabian church district recommends that all those responsible for participating in the church services offered have themselves tested beforehand – and offer reimbursement for the costs. Meanwhile, the Deanery Schweinfurt points out that many church services take place outdoors on Easter Vigil and on Easter Sunday, although there is no legal distinction between indoor and outdoor services. “Wherever more than 200 participants are expected to take part, you should contact the regulatory authorities,” says the Protestant regional church’s website.
In Nuremberg, the Office for Community Service and the Divine Service Institute have meanwhile developed a special “sign of closeness” for elderly and old people in parishes and institutions. An “Easter basket” contains, among other things, the service CD “Easter at home” so that believers can also celebrate Easter at home.
Increased online offer, but still on-site trade fairs
The Catholic dioceses in Bavaria also want to upgrade online on the one hand, and on the other hand to hold on to face-to-face services – taking into account the respective corona situation on site. “It goes without saying that we will keep the risk of infection as low as possible with our tried and tested protection concepts,” said the chairman of the Freising Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, in a press release.
In the Archdiocese of Munich-Freising, however, the traditional washing of feet on Maundy Thursday does not apply. The Easter masses with Cardinal Reinhard Marx from the Liebfrauendom are streamed on the archbishopric’s homepage.
Diocese of Würzburg requests municipalities to register in advance
The diocese of Würzburg asked its parishes to introduce a registration procedure should they expect more believers than allowed by the distance rules. When scheduling the celebrations, it should be ensured that any night curfews are observed. Because the curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. in regions with an incidence over 100 also applies to church services in Bavaria, so the Easter Vigil celebrations on Holy Saturday in hotspot regions have to end earlier.
In the Archdiocese of Bamberg, worshipers must register in advance for the Holy Mass and Easter services. How that looks in practice is left to the parishes. If the incidence value of 100 is exceeded in municipalities and the emergency brake applies with curfews, a decision will be made on site to bring the church services forward on Easter Vigil, said Archbishop Ludwig Schick in an interview with Bayerischer Rundfunk.
Moving forward the Easter vigil
Due to the curfew that will probably still apply, the Diocese of Augsburg is already expecting Easter Vigil to be celebrated on Holy Saturday in Augsburg Cathedral at 7.30 p.m. “I would like to encourage those who are unable to attend a present-day service to take advantage of the wide range of offers on radio and television as well as via livestream,” said Bishop Bertram Meier. With the exception of Easter Monday, all services would be broadcast live on the diocese’s homepage and Facebook page.
In the diocese of Regensburg, discussions are still ongoing after the state government has given its definitive assurance that services can in principle be celebrated. The diocese wants to provide more details “as soon as the stipulations of the Free State have been discussed internally,” says the diocese homepage. The services on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and on Easter Vigil (at 7 p.m.) have already been announced as a live stream.
Passau’s Bishop Stefan Oster is also relieved about the agreement with politicians. The Easter message, the “victory of life over suffering and death”, is “especially important in this pandemic time – especially for a believer”.