Chicago archbishop relieves Catholics of 'Easter duty' due to coronavirus

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The Archdiocese of Chicago has issued a decree dispensing Catholics from Easter obligations in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decree Sunday from Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, removes the obligation of Catholics to receive communion during Easter and asks that they offer “an Act of Spiritual Communion” and to attend a confession at the next available time.

Fox 32 Chicago quoted the archdiocese as saying that Cardinal Cupich made the decision after taking into account the state’s stay-at-home directive, advice from medical professionals and understanding that social gatherings may help spread the virus.

US CATHOLIC BISHOPS EASE LENT OBLIGATIONS ON EATING MEAT AMID CORONAVIRUS

Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago Catholic Archdiocese.

Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago Catholic Archdiocese. (Archdiocese of Chicago)

The archdiocese has canceled Masses to prevent the virus from spreading. Other religious institutions around the country have done the same. Some have turned to live-streaming services online.

Other Catholic dioceses have also announced suspensions of “Easter duty” due to the virus.

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They include the Diocese of Lansing in Michigan.

“While the basic requirement of the Church is for all Catholics to ‘confess…grave sins at least once a year,’ it is not essential that this take place during Lent,” Bishop Earl Boyea Jr., head of the Lansing Diocese, said. “And, while the ‘Easter duty’ of receiving the Holy Eucharist should be done during the Easter season, the Code of Canon Law specifies that ‘for a just cause’ this obligation can be fulfilled ‘at another time during the year.’”

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“Protecting the health and well-being of the most vulnerable in a time of global pandemic is certainly such a just cause.”