Q2-Should a Priest use Hand Sanitizer and Wear a Face Mask During Holy Mass?


Bishop Athanasius Schneider: Is this a prescription for hygiene? The priest can, of course, purify his hands. When I see the priest wearing a mask during mass while giving Holy Communion I think it’s not worth it to the holiness of this moment. It is decreasing the seriousness, in the worst conditions, of giving Holy Communion because when people are kneeling down, the priest is standing. There is no danger of contagion. He does not have to wear a mask. It is most dangerous, in this case of health security when the priest is on the same level as the people when they are standing. It is evident that it’s better while kneeling, so then the priest does not need to wear a mask because he is on a different level than the Communicants. We have to really look in from one side to apply all the necessary measures of health and security and the other to keep the mercy and the dignity of the Liturgy. We cannot make a kind of masquerade with the masks. 

Christopher Wendt: Your Excellency, just to follow up on that question. The first part of the question said, “should the priest put sanitizer on their hands immediately before giving out Our Lord in the right of Holy Communion.” What would you say to that?

Bishop Athanasius Schneider: It depends on the prescriptions. If the Bishop prescribes these, he can do this, but it’s not for everybody necessarily. When he’s touching the lips of people, he can purify his fingers. If he does this, he has to first purify his hands in water because there could be some particles of the Body of Christ. You cannot put the Body of Christ in a liquid of disinfectant; it’s impossible. So first in water, then in the liquid for disinfection, and then once more in water because this liquid can have a smell, or alcohol, and so on. It is complicated, but if the Bishop prescribes these in this case, we can obey the Bishop, provided he permits us to give on the tongue. If it’s an emergency then the priest can follow these prescriptions.

This Originally appeared in the following live broadcast, https://www.livefatima.io/december-qa-with-bishop-schneider/

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