Editor’s note: Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, in partnership with the Benedict XVI Institute, has launched a petition calling on lawmakers to lift “extreme restrictions on public worship.” Below is an excerpt from his interview with Crisis Magazine:

Will the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops be as proactive in opposing Mass restrictions as the Archdiocese of San Francisco has been? 

San Francisco has been an extreme outlier. California is one of only six states flagged by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty as imposing greater restrictions on worship than other similar activities. And San Francisco is the strictest county in the state, far more restrictive even than the state-wide regulations issued by Sacramento. San Francisco has limited outdoor Mass to only 12 people (including the priest), regardless of the available space, for months (although the mayor now says she may allow up to 50 people for outdoor gatherings by mid-September, but even that is an arbitrary number, and too small to accommodate the need in most of our parishes).

We have parishes in San Francisco that occupy whole city blocks. The Cathedral of St. Mary’s could accommodate a thousand people, inside or outside, with proper social distancing and masks. Each bishop in each city and state is dealing with a different situation, health-wise and government-wise. This seems to me to be the proper job for the bishop, not for the USCCB.

In addition to signing the Benedict XVI Institute’s petition, what can lay Catholics do to help remove needless restrictions on Mass attendance? 

Pray. Fast. Say the rosary. One thing that heartened me: the idea of doing multiple Masses outdoors simultaneously was the brainchild of a priest from Kenya now working in San Francisco. He said they do all their Masses out of doors, because they are too poor to own buildings. If your bishop or local civil authorities are not allowing indoor Masses, you might take it to your priest and see if outdoor Masses could be permitted. People need the Body and Blood of Christ.

Full story at Crisis Magazine.