Man prays with a rosary in his hand © Fabian Strauch
The regulation of a minimum area of 15 square meters per worshiper in Schleswig-Holstein meets with criticism from churches and politics. The implementation of this rule is impossible for small diaspora congregations, it is said.
This is what the head of the Catholic Office in Schleswig-Holstein, Beate Baumer, told the Catholic News Agency (KNA) in Kiel on Monday.
Some churches in North Frisia would thus come to a maximum attendance of less than 15 people for their services, from which the church employees such as priest, sexton and organist would still have to be deducted. That comes de facto a prohibition equal.
Church surprised by regulation
In Schleswig-Holstein, after a ban lasting several weeks, public religious services are permitted again as of this Monday, subject to compliance with area limitations and distance and hygiene regulations. Such a surface default was not topic in the preceding discussions with the federal state government, so Baumer further. The church was surprised by the regulation, he said, and will now seek dialogue again.
Schleswig's Protestant bishop Gothart Magaard hopes for a quick clarification. "Of course, we want to ensure a minimum distance between churchgoers," he told the "Flensburger Tageblatt" (Monday). The 15-square-meter rule, however, leads to the fact that "in many smaller churches a church service will only be possible to a very limited extent – if at all."
Improvements also demanded by the government factions. The CDU church politician Tobias von der Heide suggested reducing the prescribed minimum area to ten square meters per person or finding individual solutions. The spokesman for religious policy of the FDP parliamentary group, Jan Marcus Rossa, pleaded for simply applying the general distance rule of 1.5 meters instead of an area limit. When wearing a mouth-nose protection, the distances could possibly even be reduced.
Archdiocese of Hamburg prepares recommendation for action
The Catholic Archdiocese of Hamburg and the Protestant Northern Church had announced that they would again allow church services in their parishes starting next Sunday. The archdiocese wants to publish recommendations for action for its congregations this week. The Northern Church had already done so on Friday, in which it prescribed a minimum distance of two meters between attendees. After that, more than 20 participants could gather in an area of 100 square meters. At 15 square meters per participant would be 6.
Schleswig-Holstein is the only federal state to prescribe a minimum area of 15 square meters per worshiper. In Lower Saxony and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania ten square meters per participant are to be applied. Other states, such as North Rhine-Westphalia, impose a guaranteed minimum distance between visitors of 1.5 meters