A Los Angeles County church is being repeatedly harassed by the county public health department. Thomas More Society attorneys are preparing to challenge the actions of two county “environmental health specialists” who surveilled Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church in Arcadia, and slapped the parish with citations on October 15, after observing women in prayer veils leaving the building. Five days later, on October 20, the same two workers returned to threaten church personnel with more citations – compelling staff to eject the two masked worshipers who prayed inside the 500-capacity sanctuary. The harassment comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed by Father Trevor Burfitt, prior at Our Lady of Angels, charging California Governor Gavin Newsom and 19 other state, county, and municipal officials for violating his religious ri
“It’s ironic,” Thomas More Society special counsel Paul Jonna observed, “There are dozens of churches in Arcadia – and hundreds in Los Angeles County – yet the parish of Father Burfitt, who is suing Los Angeles County, happens to be a church that these county workers choose to spy on and harass.”
The county “specialists,” who make annual salaries of between $47,000 and $87,000 have job descriptions detailing health inspection, investigation, and enforcement duties that revolve primarily around food sanitation and proper rubbish disposal.
“The county has apparently decided that food and garbage inspectors are qualified to police worship activities,” stated Jonna. “Heaping this harassment on Father Burfitt at the same time that he is asking the California Superior Court to uphold his religious rights and prevent the county from continuing to violate them is unacceptable. The constitutional right to petition for grievances includes the right to file a lawsuit, without retaliation or targeting.”
Fr. Burfitt’s lawsuit challenges Newsom’s “State of Emergency” and the constitutional violations incurred with the resultant lockdown. Thomas More Society attorneys filed the complaint in California Superior Court against Newsom and the others in September.
In addition to serving as prior at Our Lady of Angels, Fr. Burfitt, a Society of Pius X priest, oversees mission churches in Kern, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Los Angeles Counties, and hosts popular podcasts.
See the citation issued on October 15, 2020, Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church in Arcadia, by Los Angeles County Environmental Health Specialist I Alennie Del Rosario Romero and Los Angeles County Environmental Health Specialist II Brenna Santiago, with $1,000 in levied fines – which the church paid, and the inspection report submitted by specialist Santiago, here.
The above comes from an Oct. 22 release from the Thomas More Society.
For a religious leader, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, or whatever, to protest the county’s shutdown of gatherings is loony toons. Folks, without playing “chicken little,” the country is in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic that is infecting 80,000+ each day and killing millions across the world and nearly a quarter of a million in the US. The statistics are pretty clear, with only 4% of the population we have about 25% of the deaths from the virus. Asking houses of worship to not gather a bunch of people too closely is not religious persecution, but public health precautions. Wear a mask, watch your distance, wash your hands. Those are the suggestions of the Trump administration to the people of the US. Those religious houses that have had large gatherings have had cases traced back to them.
Bob One, none of us really believe the 80,000+ figure you posted, We all know it is inflated to include people who might have contacted Covid but no one is sure, and who really died from other causes..
I have never been to an SSPX Mass, and when I mentioned before having to kneel on the cement in debris in a skirt at an outside traditional Mass, I meant ordinary outside debris, such as leaves, twigs, and other things that blow into the area while one is there. none of which contributes to Covid, and I doubt any of the things mentioned in the citations in the story did either. It sound like a case of retaliation.
“None of us really believe the 80,000 figure youposted”. Dear Anne TE, can you please for the love of God speak about yourself for once insteat of presuming to speak for the rest of us?
Oh stop the nonsense. I did not say we should not take normal precautious, and my wording is no different than those men and women who are for abortion, who say how much they have done for all women when what they are advocating leads to more cancers and other physical problems in women and more irresponsibility in men. There are even healthcare workers who have said the figures were inflated in many cases.
By the way, I do not know personally one person who has died of COVID, but I do know some who have survived it without serious problems, so excuse me for not panicking.
And one of the women I know who survived it was a close relative of my husband in her eighties, or at least her doctors told her that was what she had.
A) The U.S Constitution guarantees the right to assembly and the right to free worship. Therefore, the mere existence of a pandemic doesn’t negate these rights unless for good reason. This is not “loony toons.”
B) The evidence for the citation is that four or five people were observed leaving a large church building. There was no evidence that they were worshiping in close proximity to each other. There was also no evidence that the HVAC system was insufficient for proper COVID-reducing ventilation.
Lastly, as we all know, statistics can lie. The mere citing of “big” numbers without context can be misleading.
Here in San Diego, some of the pandemic statistics were an 81 year-old woman who followed county protocols (so likely a mislabeled death) and someone who died of a drug overdose. By factoring this stuff in, they were able to inflate our number of deaths by 66% since March. Very strange and dishonest.
This is just harassment pure and simple. I attend a local SSPX. The attendees suffered thru hot weather in the parking lot once Mass returned. Father has told us that there have been people walking the grounds during Mass with no apparent reason for being on premises. There is concern that these people were on site to report any possibe violation to social distancing and mask wearing. Father asked us to be especially careful.
Large gatherings? Sunday Mass has 25 people. Give me a break.
I’ve asked you this before and I’ll ask you again. What is more important a life or a soul?
The CDC statistics are clear that the mortality rates are only sligthly higher than the flu.
What’s wrong with you?? The church sits 500 and there were two TWO 2 women in there who were ejected. Please explain YOUR logic in defending the county cretins ??!
Bob One will not be happy until the government is complete control over everything…..burn the masks, burn the masks, burn the masks
Bohemond, the reason for wearing a mask is so that you don’t infect someone. You can be asymptomatic and still infect others. It is of lesser use to keep you safe from droplets in the air. It is about not infecting others. If we love our neighbors as ourselves, we should try not to infect them, don’t you think?
No behemond we should not burn the masks, but neither should churches be kept closed. Common sense needs to prevail. Masks probably make some people get more health problems, and those should be reasonable exceptions if there is distancing. One woman wore a mask so much, and probably did not wash it enough, that she got a severe facial infection. That is caring it to the extreme the other way.
This is so unfortunate. Among other things, it continues to undermine confidence in local government. As one who has issued numerous citations over nearly three decades, the second violation appears to be inappropriate. “Interfering with the duties of a health officer” doesn’t match what’s written on the citation.
Even as a peace officer, (unless there were “exigent circumstances”) a property owner could deny me access and that was entirely legal. I would have had to obtain an inspection warrant (or a search warrant) and return at a later time. That’s what the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is about.
Administrative law is NOT l plus … these clowns are cherry picking.
The article’s Oct 15 incident, “observing women in prayer veils leaving the building” is vague as to Numbers but the “Oct 20 visit by the health dept. states 2 women were seen exiting the 500 seat church.
This is hardly a danger, especially compared with for example smaller grocery stores admit @ 20 people in at a time in addition to the staff.
And the shops don’t have Tracers at the door to collect your personal data while there are Tracers at many churches. Also, the churches ask that the elderly and parishioners with chronic disease please stay at home.
It does seem discriminatory and retaliatory harrasment
And like Anne and Steve said, no one knows the Covid statistics: they are a combination of “presumed” cases, “provisional” count cases, “probable” cases, co-morbidity deaths,Flu deaths, and Covid deaths.
Counts have also been influenced by faulty test kits, faulty technique, duplicate testing (different sites didn’t check if patient was tested before, tested elsewhere, tested by antibody here and for the virus there, etc.
The death count was increased by forcing Nursing Homes to accept contagious cases (including NY and California, etc) and also by the inexpert use of complicated respirators.
In spring 2020, NY passed a law that no facility could be sued for use of a respirator.
High reimbursement rate for ICD diagnosis of Covid and for use of respirators encouraged
facilities to assign Covid as diagnosis.
Do locations get more funding with higher case counts?
(continued from above entry)
CDC reported “For 6% of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned.
For deaths with conditions or causes in addition to COVID-19, on average, there were 2.6 additional conditions or causes per death. ”
Many countries and states admitted their Covid statistics were incorrect.
So like the computer nerds say about data input, “garbage in -> Garbage out.
Nobody knows the Covid case or death stats – the stats have been manipulated politically and economically.
Total deaths in the U.S. in 2020 are on track to be lower than in the three previous years.
Kevin, there have been 299,000 more deaths so far this year than you would expect, based on previous years statistics. Two of each three excess deaths were by Latinx and Blacks, and the greatest increase has been by people 18-44 years old. Take a look at the CDC mortality rates for the past 20 years if you want sure data.
And a lot of those deaths Bob One were not caused by Covid they were just labeled as such for political reasons.
bohemond, I don’t buy the political reasons argument. But as to your other point … People with certain other medical conditions are more likely to die if they contract covid-19. For example, if I have serious lung problems but I have them under control because of the medicine I take, and then I get the covid-19 virus that hits the lungs, and I die. Will my death be labeled as caused by lung disease or covid? It likely will be pneumonia exacerbated by covid and counted among the covid deaths rather than as natural causes. Covid is what causes the deaths to mount in people with serious health conditions.
Let’s move beyond the terror.
Let’s talk fatality rates. How likely are you to die if you catch wuflu?
From the CDC:
Age Group Probability of Survival
The statistics also indicate that men are more likely to die from wuflu. In order to save more men, should we mandate masks or keep them out of Mass?
The statistics show that obese people are more likely to die from wuflu. In order to save more fat people, should we keep them out of Mass?
“Covid is what causes the deaths to mount in people with serious health conditions.” Again, so what? If you are afraid and have health problems stay home forever. I’m a 61 YO man in good shape and have no fears.
You are a fear monger.
Well of course you do not buy the political reasons argument is because you support it. Bob One I will give you an example man was killed in a motor cycle accident who tested positive for Covid his death was listed death by Covid. You support big government and bureaucrats who have been crushing businesses in the name of “safety”. This will go down as the biggest scam ever pulled by the oligarch and the ruling class.
Bob One, anyone with serious health conditions can ask their health provider for the pneumonia shot, which is ethical and not from an aborted fetal line, and should lightened the effects from getting COVID. They also need to lay off the junk food, eat healthier and lose weight. Oh, and get some exercise, even if it just walking or doing some in doors. Now I need to practice what I preach. Bye, bye.
Please stay in your basement.
I am 70 years old. My Mother, God rest her soul, is long deceased.
I do not need you to be my new Mommy.
Bob One, Your case statistics and “excess deaths” are irrelevant for this article of 2 people in a 500 seat church. You are misappropriating this thread.
Aside from that, the statistics are unreliable because their foundation is faulty. See Anonymous October 26, 2020 at 2:28 am who gave examples.
Also, e.g. Terminal hospice patients (already certified by MD to survive 6 m at most) were counted as Covid deaths.
Regarding Excess deaths, the lack of access to medical treatment or limitation to phone/video visits contributed to deaths. Many people were afraid to seek care.
Not done were: Surgeries ( Cardiac bypass, angiograms, cancer removal, cataract), cancer screening, cancer treatment chemotherapy, treatment of diabetes and chronic diseases, emphysema, Flu, medications adjustment, addiction treatment,
counseling, Also suicide – loneliness, job loss, hopelessness, homelessness) Violence. injury, accidents
An UCSF Geriatrician reported that only by 2018 did they report flu in patients over 65 yrs.
The CDC studies all include disclaimers and limitations which undermine their findings.
Anecdotelly, I know of people (over 70) whose death certificates assigned Covid and did not have Covid. They were denied Prayer Vigils (Wake) and Funerals and grave site religious services
Thankfully, a Priest told me though that a Mass intention for the repose of their souls would carry the full weight in Blessings as a Funeral (you know what I am trying to say)
Understand that COVID = CONTROL. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xe9MNQnSY6I&feature=emb_logo
May God bless you, Fr. Burfitt!
Thank you for your witness to the Faith!
Two state Legislators have received a favourable Superior Clourt Decision in their lawsuit against Gov. Newsom for overreaching his authority as governor and instituting a One-Man-Rule type of governance.
The legislators can do this because it is they who make the rules and regulations and pass the legislation in representing the will of the people. So, maybe go to your legislators, especially the Dems and insist that they rein-in their tyrannical governor.