Individual parishes (together with the pastor and one or more parishioners) will file the suits, with the expectation that as parishes win the right to celebrate public Mass, it will be easier for other parishes to win under the same argument.
According to the organizers of the challenge, appeals lodged the week of Dec. 7 may be decided before Christmas, but it is not certain. The organizers said after the initial suit, which will be the most expensive, they expect each additional appeal to cost around 1,000 euros ($1,211). They are accepting donations to help pay for the legal process.
An open letter to the Belgian prime minister, written after the Nov. 29 decree and posted on the website “For the Mass,” has been signed by 10,000 people as of Dec. 7.
The letter, written by two abbots and a layman, notes that certain “non-essential” businesses, museums, and swimming pools were permitted to re-open with the new decree, while a change in the suspension of public Masses was not mentioned.
“From this Tuesday, we can go to do our Christmas shopping or go to the swimming pool on Sunday morning, but we will not be able to attend Mass! Not even that of Christmas!” it states.
“Like all Belgians and with all our parishioners, we have been involved since March 18 in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. The commitment of Catholics has been full and complete in the fight against this epidemic, as has our desire to serve the common good,” the letter continues. “Rigorous protocols have been implemented in each chapel, church or cathedral, adapting to the dimensions of the premises, so as to respect the instructions issued (wearing a mask, distancing, gel, etc.). We have been careful, faithful, and vigilant.”