Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s injunction issued late last night (2-5-21) in South Bay United Pentecostal Church, et. al striking down California’s blanket ban on indoor worship.
“This is a very significant step forward for basic rights. This decision makes clear we can now return to worshiping safely indoors without risk of harassment from government officials.
“As Christians we are members of a Church, which literally means an assembly of people coming together to worship God. This is our identity; it is in our very nature to gather in person to give honor and glory to God. And especially as Catholics we know that our worship cannot be livestreamed: there is no way to give Communion, or any of the other sacraments via the internet.
“That is why at Christmas I gave pastors permission to bring congregations indoors under the same conditions permitted indoor retail, if the weather or safety conditions required it. The Supreme Court has now made it very clear to California government that permitting this is a fundamental right and the law of the land. I trust and hope our state officials will appreciate the care we’ve taken all throughout this crisis to protect the public health with masks, social distancing and other reasonable measures.
“I want to thank all those who have worked tirelessly to affirm that the worship of God is the most essential service of all, especially the leaders of South Bay and Harvest Rock churches. I’d like also to thank warmly those Catholics who joined me in standing up against abuses of power by signing the petition at FreeTheMass.com.
“This is a breath of fresh air in dark times. I’m grateful to God and to the Founders who gave us the shining light of the Constitution of the United States. May God bless America.”
Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone heads the Archdiocese of San Francisco.