As the number of people becoming seriously ill or dying from Covid-19 continues to fall given the mildness of the Omicron variant relative to earlier strains of the virus, states and local governments are gradually lifting some of the more onerous restrictions on normal life. In the Church, individual bishops’ conferences are obliged to respect the requirements of the secular authorities, but bishops also have some discretion about what restrictions to place on individuals and congregations within churches, halls and schools in their dioceses.
The United States is, inevitably, diverse in Covid restrictions from state to state. The American bishops also vary in their approach to questions such as mandatory vaccinations for employees or even churchgoers, or the requirement to wear masks in church or to distance people in pews, or such simple matters as providing holy water in church stoups.
This article first appeared in the March 2022 issue of the Catholic Herald. Subscribe today.
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