"Science alone is not enough: the Good Lord is also needed."
Italy's churches should be opened for Easter Masses, while respecting social distancing measures and limiting numbers, says Matteo Salvini, the leader of the far-right Lega party.
Salvini says that allowing Italians to go to Mass at Easter during the Coronavirus lockdown would represent a "moment of hope", adding: "Science alone is not enough: the Good Lord is also needed."
The Lega leader pointed out that people can still go to the tobacconist for cigarettes, or go grocery shopping in limited numbers during the nationwide quarantine, saying that: "we also need the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary."
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Milan mayor Beppe Sala, of the centre-left Partito Democratico (PD), attacked Salvini's proposal with a withering response in a Facebook video."If you really want to get the churches reopened as you say, and if you say it not just to make a headline in a newspaper then you have to do one thing very clearly: ask Lombardy or Veneto [regions which your Lega party governs] to sign an order in this regard. Otherwise we are as usual [talking about] words and not facts."
Disagreeing with Salvini's proposal, Sala said: "In these moments I believe that faith can and must be a personal and private matter."
Caro #Salvini, oggi le chiese sono chiuse, perché noi preti rispettiamo la legge del nostro paese. Obbediamo ai nostri vescovi e non a te. Non usiamo il nostro popolo, ma lo amiamo. Non ci sta a cuore il consenso ma il bene comune. #domenicadellepalme
— don Dino Pirri (@dDinoPirri) April 5, 2020
Don Dino Pirri, a high-profile priest from Le Marche, tweeted on 5 April: "Dear Salvini, today the churches are closed because we priests respect the law of our country. We obey our bishops and not you. We do not use our people, but we love them. We care not about consensus but about the common good. Palm Sunday."