Severe restrictions on indoor worship services because of COVID-19 protocols has meant the most basic religious freedom, the right to worship, was being “unjustly repressed”, according to the Catholic archbishop of San Francisco.
Writing in The Washington Post, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said that for months now, the city of San Francisco has limited worship services to just 12 people outdoors, while worship inside churches is banned.
The city recently announced it will allow 50 for outdoor worship, with a goal of permitting indoor services up to a maximum of 25 people by October 1st, less than 1 per cent of the capacity of the city’s Catholic Cathedral.
“This is not nearly enough to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of Catholics in San Francisco,” he added.
The archbishop’s op-ed came a few days after he called on parishes to hold eucharistic processions to the main square in front of the City Hall “to witness to the city that faith matters.”
After reaching the plaza, the entire group will process together to the Cathedral of St Mary of the Assumption for the celebration of multiple outdoor Masses. Participants will be wearing masks and following “proper social distancing,” he added.
He also asked priests to encourage all of their parishioners to go to the website FreeTheMass.com and sign a petition calling on San Francisco mayor London Breed to lift her “unfair restrictions” (over 3,500 people signed it the first week it was posted); and to display prominently at their churches a banner with the motto “We Are Essential: Free the Mass!”