Archbishop: Right to Worship ‘Unjustly Repressed’ by Coronavirus Policies

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone this week decried the city’s coronavirus protocols, which he claims have “unjustly repressed” the right to worship, in an opinion piece for The Washington Post.

“I never expected that the most basic religious freedom, the right to worship — protected so robustly in our Constitution’s First Amendment — would be unjustly repressed by an American government,” Cordileone wrote in the piece, which was published on Wednesday.

“But that is exactly what is happening in San Francisco. For months now, the city has limited worship services to just 12 people outdoors. Worship inside our own churches is banned,” he added.

“The city recently announced it will now allow 50 for outdoor worship, with a goal of permitting indoor services up to a maximum of 25 people by Oct. 1 — less than 1% of the capacity of San Francisco’s St. Mary’s Cathedral.”

“This is not nearly enough to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of Catholics in San Francisco,” Cordileone said.

He added, “We Catholics are not indifferent to the very real dangers posed by COVID-19. This is one of the reasons Catholic churches have developed rigorous protocols to protect public health in our facilities.

“We submitted our safety plans to the city in May along with other faith communities, and while indoor retailers had their plans approved and went into operation, we are still waiting to hear back.”

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