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A priest and another member of the clergy were held for questioning Thursday during a busy Easter mass held in Paris in defiance of Covid restrictions, prosecutors said.
Church leaders and the government have expressed outrage after images showed the crowded church of Saint-Eugène-Sainte-Cécile with few in the congregation mostly elderly wearing masks.
Le Parisien newspaper published a video of the service held on Saturday showing the faithful wrapped together, unworn masks and priests placing communion wafers directly into the parishioner’s mouth.
He said the service lasted four hours.
Paris prosecutors quickly opened an investigation into charges of knowingly endangering the lives of others.
They said Thursday that the two men were also being questioned on charges of not wearing a mask and rounding up more than six people without following the rules of distancing.
Deputy Minister of the Interior Marlene Schiappa this week described the conditions of the Mass as “unacceptable”, while Karine Dalle, spokesperson for the diocese of Paris, said she was “stunned” by the lack of distancing social service, and “such disrespectful behavior”. .
The rules state that masks must be worn by all worshipers over the age of 11 with two seats left between each person or family group, as well as an empty bench between each row of people.
In addition, the Archbishop of Paris said Wednesday that the church had opened internal proceedings against the parish priest of Saint-Eugène-Sainte-Cécile which could lead to sanctions.