When religion gets creative: Drive-in mass and holy water from a squirt gun

In the Press
In the Press © screengrab France 24

IN THE PAPERS - Monday, May 18: We look at the lockdown extension in India, the lack of women in Italian government despite them being on the frontlines of fighting coronavirus and how religion around the world is getting creative in these strange times.


India has extended its national lockdown until the end of May, and while it has had more confirmed cases of Covid-19 than China it’s had fewer deaths. The lockdown was extended following clashes between citizens and police. According to the Hindu, some rules will be relaxed with transport, hairdressers and online shopping deliveries resuming.  The Hindu’s editors, however, are calling for vigilance as they say the death toll is likely to rise in the coming weeks. 

As Italy eases its lockdown today, Politico looks at the staggering absence of women in political decision-making despite their strong presence on the front lines of the fight against Covid-19. Women make up two-thirds of health workers, 80 percent of cashiers and teachers and 90 percent of home care workers.

The easing of lockdown measures in France prompted some to rush outdoors. But the French paper Liberation focused on those who were having difficulties leaving home. Some are worried about the spread of the virus, the paper says, but others are nostalgic for the moments of tranquility brought on by the lockdown.

Religious institutions, too, have had to adapt to the new normal. This weekend saw a drive-in mass service held not far from Paris where around 500 people in 200 cars gathered at a car park complete with a socially distanced priest for their Sunday morning mass. In the US, a priest performed an Easter service using a squirt gun to bless churchgoers in their cars with holy water. The photo of the priest in Detroit went viral this weekend, spawning memes and reportedly even reaching the Vatican. No response, though, from the Catholic Church about the rather unorthodox blessing.


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