The Catholic Church in South Korea has decided to suspend all Masses and religious offices of a public nature at the beginning of Lent, in order to fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus (commonly called coronavirus) epidemic in the peninsula.
The situation is taking a worrying turn in South Korea, which, as of March 4, 2020, has 5,621 cases of people infected with COVID-19 and 35 deaths linked to the disease.
The southeast section of the peninsula is the most affected, mainly Daegu—with 2.5 million people, the country’s fourth largest city—and the neighboring province of Gyeongsang.
40 cases have been identified in the Shincheonji sect alone, wrongly called “Christian” in the media.
For its part, the Catholic Church in South Korea decided to react on February 26, Ash Wednesday, which marks the solemn entry of Christians into Lent, by suspending all public Masses in the country—a first in the 236 year history of the Church in South Korea.
The 16 Catholic dioceses located in the land of the Morning Calm took this decision after the Diocese of Daegu, the city in the southeast most affected by the epidemic, suspended Masses the week before Ash Wednesday.