Driven by our responsibility towards the ones committed to our care and due to the developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, taking into account the opinion of epidemic experts and the special characteristics of our Church, we enact the following measures valid until revoked:
1. Churches as a place of spiritual recovery and prayer are of special importance in the state of emergency declared due to the coronavirus; therefore, we keep our churches open. Holy Masses can be celebrated, but only in a way, which adheres to official curfew regulations. We shall act in a responsible and careful manner.
2. The provisions of the Catechism (CCC 2183) and of the Code of Canon Law (CIC Can. 1248 §2) remain in effect in this special situation. These stipulate that if participation in the Eucharistic celebration becomes impossible for a grave cause, it is specially recommended that the faithful engage in prayer – by reading the Bible, praying the liturgy of the hours or any other prayer and reflection – for an appropriate amount of time personally or in a family. Although, going to church in person cannot be replaced, Holy Masses are broadcast online or via TV channels to provide support, comfort and encouragement for those who cannot participate in Holy Masses on Sundays and on feast days. We inform you about these broadcasts on our portals.
3. General moral principles regarding the attendance of Holy Masses remain valid. Please, if you feel ill, you shall consider seeing a doctor and avoiding public places your moral obligation to protect yourself and others. Our elderly, endangered or ill brothers and sisters and those who are performing their duties, caring for the sick, live together with an elderly or endangered person or who are in official home quarantine are rightfully afraid of going to public places; therefore, they are exempt from the obligation to attend Holy Masses in person. We insist strongly that they shall remain at home.
4. We also grant a dispensation for everyone, who consider attending the Holy Mass in person dangerous (CIC Can. 87 §1, Can. 1245).
5. Parish classes and community gatherings shall only be organized in an online form except for some justified cases, where current pandemic provisions and rules for gathering shall be adhered to.
6. We shall still adhere to relevant state provisions in our churches, Church institutions and parishes, during the administration of Sacraments and in our educational, social and health care institutions at all times.
7. We are still encouraging parish and monastic communities to keep praying for those affected by the epidemic, while adhering to the provisions of the public health authorities.
According to Canon 838 of the Code of Canon Law, the diocesan bishops and others made equivalent to them, may enact different measures.
This disposition concerns the Latin rite dioceses of Hungary.
Let us strengthen our trust in God and in each other with our prayer and example, while paying close attention to each other, especially our ill and elderly brothers and sisters. We respectfully ask our elderly brothers in priesthood to especially protect their health in this situation, and we encourage younger priests to help them.
Budapest, 9 November 2020
Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference