Minnesota archdiocese will not comply with governor's limit on religious gatherings

Is the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis doing the right thing?

I believe so. The state can only abridge freedom of religion for compelling reasons. Unless there is an equivalency everywhere (grocery stores, commercial business, warehouses, distribution centers, etc.) that limit them to 10 people, I would say the diocese has a solid case to challenge that particular law.

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We were further apart in our Masses in Church this week than I’m sure people in grocery stores were. Every other pew was empty and the pews occupied had people who sitting were only so on opposite ends.

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I commend these bishops for fighting back and standing up to the nonsense. There’s no reason to limit to 10 people when most churches are big enough to accommodate many times that amount.

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It’s about time! in my opinion these types of statements are about 2 months overdue.

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I think that defying the governor’s order is very selfish. Holding off on holding services is not like religion is being banned. True love of fellow man (and woman!) would include working to make sure those folks stay safe from the spread of disease.

And we know from the snake handlers and the chicken chokers that government can even constitutionally restrict some religious rites.

That is kind of an odd comparison. Having a snake bite you is not the same as sitting 50 people in a Church meant for 1000. And it is banning the most fundamental part of Catholicism, the source and summit of our faith. I get doing what is needed for public safety, but not more than is needed for public safety.

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Actually it is banning large group meetings of people, not making value judgments as to what is ‘essential’.

If it is still a ban on Churches distributing Holy Communion, then it is a violation of First Amendment nonetheless, even if it included bars, clubs and organizations, or at least it seems the court is requiring a higher level of need as time goes on. Individual opinions of what is selfish is not relevant.

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We’ll know in about a fortnight I suppose. The science shows that environments that require people to breathe each others air for more than 15 minutes at a time, are superspreader environments. It’ll be an experiment.

We have been going for more than three weeks here. New cases are holding steady. There are no cases yet of transmission at the churches which have reopened with caution. That is why it is not selfish, but selfless, on the part of priests. They are wanting to get back to serving people, but also are willing to be uncomfortable to keep others safe.

If new data comes in, I do not doubt they will all close, or make modifications, if that is an option.

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Is there a crowd limit in your diocese to be observed? The OP parishes are going for a 33% capacity which could mean quite a number sharing still breathing space in a confined building? That will be the experiment part of it.

It varies. we taped off every other pew, with one family at each end of open pews 60-80, depending on how many per family. That will be somewhere less than 25% capacity. Everyone wears a mask.

Time will tell is all I’m saying. In our archdiocese in Australia, Churches are conforming to the limit of 10 people. Some parishes who want to share a roster system can do so. The infection rate here is extremely low but there is a trust that experts have the health and welfare of people first and foremost. We don’t have that same sense that religious liberties are being attacked subversively which I think influences US religious congregations.

I think the Church can distribute Communion without a large gathering. People could drive by in cars or use some means other than congregating. If this were a flood and walking on the streets endangered a levee, no one would carp about a ban on folks in the street.

I can state my opinion on an issue and the fact that I made a value judgement is relevant. And that opinion has not been refuted, by the way.

The bishops and governor agreed on 25% occupancy. Crisis averted.

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