The Council of State, the highest French administrative court, ordered the government on Sunday to review its decree within three days limiting the number of faithful who can attend religious ceremonies to 30 people, on the same day the places of worship reopen. in France after a month of closure due to COVID-19.
Four Catholic associations and organizations seized the Council of State on Friday to denounce the government's decree. They felt it was a measure
unnecessary, disproportionate and discriminatory.
The plaintiffs argued in particular that the freedom of trade and industry and the freedom of worship were not guaranteed in the same way and that the imposition of a maximum of 30 people in a place of worship did not take into account the size of religious buildings.
The Council of State agreed with them, saying that the ban contained
a disproportionate nature with regard to the objective of preserving public health.
"(It) thus constitutes, in view of the essential character of the component in question of the freedom of worship, a serious and manifestly illegal attack on the latter", he added.
The Council of State estimates that imposing a quota of 30 people for religious ceremonies
will lead, in many places, to the fact that the faithful cannot take part in them on the day of the week when the main ones take place, despite the increase in the number of these.
The French Bishops' Conference (CEF) welcomed the decision in a statement, saying that
the law had thus been re-established and the reason recognized.
Rather than imposing the same maximum number of worshipers at all places of worship, she advocates instead allowing a crowd equivalent to 30% of the building's overall capacity.
In order to discuss new rules, representatives of the CEF have an appointment Sunday at 6 p.m. with Prime Minister Jean Castex.
France relaxed the restrictions in force on Saturday to fight the coronavirus pandemic, notably allowing the reopening of stores. Bars, restaurants, sports halls and nightclubs, however, remain closed.
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