A criminal investigation was opened in Reims after two traditionalist masses which would have been held without barrier gestures. Allegations refuted by the Canon of Reims of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICRSP), requested by AFP.
The Reims public prosecutor’s office on April 7 opened a criminal investigation for “non-compliance with barrier gestures during a pandemic period” after two traditionalist Easter masses organized by the Institute of Christ king sovereign priest and bringing together nearly 200 faithful in the church Saint Joan of Arc of Reims.
The prosecutor Matthieu Bourrette explained to AFP to rely on the “general directives of penal policy sent by the Minister of Justice on April 3” to open this investigation, “in particular for non-compliance with the wearing of a mask”. The investigation was entrusted to the Reims police station.
The prosecutor’s decision follows the publication of an article in the newspaper l ‘Union relaying the anger of an Ardennes mayor.
The elected official had discovered on Facebook the images of two masses celebrated in Latin on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 April in a church in Reims, without masks, without barrier gestures or social distancing.
“This is not true”, according to the words of protest of the Canon of Reims of the Institute of Christ King Sovereign Priest (ICRSP), requested by AFP.
If Jean Maïdanatz admits “removing his mask when he speaks”, he nevertheless affirms that “the majority of the faithful, 90 on Saturdays and a hundred on Sundays, have respected barrier gestures and distances”.
“Masks and hydroalcoholic gel are distributed. But I do not have the means to force the faithful to the masks ”, he underlined.
Asked by AFP, the Archbishop of Reims, Bishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, did not wish to react to the opening of this criminal investigation. “He lets justice do its job,” explained Sixtine Rousselot, communications officer at the archdiocese. “He reminds us on this occasion of the need to respect the wearing of a mask from 11 years old [ainsi que la règle] of the two seats of difference between the faithful in the churches ”, she insisted.