Catholic Diocese responds to new mask mandate in Shelby County

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FILE — In this Feb. 2, 2021 file photo, Pope Francis celebrates a Mass with members of religious institutions on the occasion of the celebration of the World Day of Consecrated Life, in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. The Vatican has decreed, Monday, March 15, 2021, that the Catholic Church cannot bless same-sex unions since God “cannot bless sin.” The Vatican’s orthodoxy office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a formal response to a question about whether Catholic clergy can bless gay unions (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, pool)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Catholic Diocese sent out a letter Friday in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases as well as the county-wide mask mandate.

The letter, penned by the Bishop David P. Talley, encourages congregation members to wear masks inside public spaces as well as observe Centers for Disease Control’s guidance on the use of Holy Water.

The Bishop has said individual Pastors and administrators will decide which restrictions from previous Diocese decrees they will encourage.

Given high infection rates in Shelby County, however, Bishop Talley has asked that, “all Pastors and Administrators withhold the offering of the cup of blessings (Chalices of Holy Communion) until further notice.”

The Bishop strongly encourages face coverings while attending Holy Mass as well as recommending regular hand sanitation for those receiving or giving the Rite of Communion.

Bishop Talley sites the decisions, “for the good of all” by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and current Pope Francis, to get vaccinated as an act of love, and encourages those who can to get vaccinated.

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