Prešov, Slovakia, February 18, 2022
It is completely unacceptable that anyone can go to stores without any restrictions, while the unvaccinated are barred from going to church, Slovakian religious leaders said on Wednesday.
The voices of religious organizations must no longer be ignored, they said in an address to Prime Minister Eduard Heger on Wednesday.
The appeal is signed by His Beatitude Metropolitan Rastislav of Prešov and various Catholic and Protestant leaders.
The Czech-Slovak primate and other Orthodox hierarchs serving in Slovakia have appealed to the authorities about overbearing COVID restrictions several times since the start of the pandemic. In March 2020, the Church was threatened with sanctions if it continued to hold services during the pandemic. The hierarchs responded by reminding its faithful of the need to provide for their spiritual needs.
The latest appeal reads in full:
We regret that spiritual needs remain relegated to the sidelines. It seems that the one who screams louder is heard. Whoever patiently and respectfully demands his rights isn’t taken into account. While all shops can be attended without restriction, worship services are still unavailable to many.
Top religious leaders recently called for church services to be reclassified as an essential service. The answer was the de facto equality of all essential trades, while leaving restrictions on church services.
We have repeatedly asked you to allow people who are not vaccinated against the coronavirus to attend services. All the more so as such a condition no longer applies to the provision of the material needs of the population.
We note with concern the coarsening of manners in political struggles. We urge that such manifestations not become endemic in public life. Practical materialism, unfortunately, encourages this roughness. Therefore, it won’t benefit any society if it adopts it as a decision-making criterion.