TOGO: Bishops Caution Faithful Against Violence as Government Rolls New Measures

By Arnold Neliba

LOME, DECEMBER 7, 2021 (CISA)-The Conference of Bishops of Togo (CET) has asked faithful not to enter into confrontation and refrain from any reactions likely to cause unrest or violence with officers implementing the new Covid-19 regulations announced by the government.

“We invite you not to enter into a logic of confrontation, to refrain from any reaction liable to arouse disturbances or violence for which the responsibility would be wrongly attributed to the Church. We invite the faithful who have been prevented from accessing the interior of chapels and churches, to follow in calm and fervour the celebrations from outside,” reads a statement by CET released on December 6.

The bishops were responding to the government’s directive to restrict access to places of worship in Togo from December 10. Entry will be subject to a presentation of a vaccination pass or negative PCR test.

The bishops in the statement signed by Bishop Benoît Alowonou of Kpalimé and the president of CET disagreed with the government’s decision inviting faithful to observe three days of prayer; December 7, 8 and 9 and one day of fasting; December 10.

“We have clearly expressed our disagreement with all forms of obligation to present a vaccination pass to have access to the house of God,” the bishops said noting that the days of prayer and fasting “call for help to the Lord will include the celebration of Mass, the exhibition of the Most Holy Sacrament on Thursday, the Stations of the Cross on Friday and the prayer of the Rosary for these intentions,” he said.

On September 24, the bishops protested the closure of places of worship and opposed the compulsory vaccination and alleged coercive measures by the government terming them as violations of the basic rights of citizens.