As surging COVID-19 cases lead to new restrictions in the San Francisco area, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said the treatment of churches is discriminatory and violates the right to worship.
“[W]orship is both a natural and a Constitutional right. My people want to receive the Body and Blood of Christ; they need it, and have every right to be free to do so,” the archbishop said in a November 28 statement.
He criticized a new health order from the state of California placing San Francisco and San Mateo Counties into a more restrictive tier of coronavirus restrictions, resulting in a ban on indoor worship services.
The health order treats religious worship as a “non-essential” activity, while allowing hair and nail salons, massage parlors, and tattoo parlors to remain open, Cordileone noted.
“This is precisely the kind of blatant discrimination to which the Supreme Court gave injunctive relief in New York,” he said, referencing a decision Wednesday which blocked New York from similarly closing houses of worship while allowing secular retail venues to remain open.
Cordileone criticized the government for “demoting worship” by designating it as “non-essential.” He stressed that the archdiocese has been meticulous about following regulations regarding masks, social distancing, ventilation and sanitation measures. He said indoor worship services have not resulted in any known cases of COVID-19 transmission in San Francisco.
Full story at Catholic News Agency.