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CALUMET . intercultural law and humanities review
ISSN 2465-0145 (on-line)
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Fede interdetta? L’esercizio della libertà religiosa collettiva durante l’emergenza COVID-19: attualità e prospettive
Fuccillo A., Abu Salem M., Decimo L.
In response to the Covid-19 epidemic, the government and local authorities have adopted measures which restrict religious freedom. The Italian authorities have imposed urgent and binding ordinances suspending all religious ceremonies, and have limited access to places of worship. These measures are justified by an emergency decree aimed at the protection of public health. Is such banning of religious practice entirely legitimate? The Italian Constitution stipulates that religious freedom can only be limited in certain manifestations and under specific conditions. Precise time constraints must be adhered to, and restrictions must be balanced against other constitutional rights including, of course, the right to health.
The adopted measures taken by the government are applicable to religious denominations that have cooperated with the State. These denominations, in fact, have anticipated the needs of the State towards the protection of public health by closing places of worship and encouraging the faithful to practice autonomously. This state of emergency has ultimately strengthened the cooperation and understanding between State and denominations in important ways.
The extraordinary health emergency that our country is experiencing, however, must lead the jurist to ask some fundamental questions. Will it happen again? Could there be other future events which will call for the limitation of individual and collective religious freedom? Might the State and religious denominations collaborate together in advance of such events in accordance with the principles of bi-laterality? These questions must be answered promptly in order to safeguard the right to religious freedom and the autonomy of religious denominations from possible regulatory circumvention


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