Minnesota’s Catholic Churches Will Resume Public Masses in Defiance of Ongoing Stay-at-Home Order
Minnesota’s Catholic bishops are preparing to reopen their churches to public masses and liturgies, citing the state’s Democratic governor’s refusal to commit to a specific reopening plan as just cause to disobey the state government’s stay-at-home order.
A letter on the resumption of church operation from the statewide conference of Catholic bishops authorizes parishes to resume public gatherings on May 26th. The bishops cited the draconian nature of Governor Tim Walz’s ban on gatherings, pointing to its prohibition on any religious gatherings that have more than ten people present.
“An order that sweeps so broadly that it prohibits, for example, a gathering of 11 people in a Cathedral with a seating capacity of several thousand defies reason,” stated Minnesota’s six Catholic bishops. “Therefore, we have chosen to move forward in the absence of any specific timeline laid out by Governor Walz and his Administration. We cannot allow an indefinite suspension of the public celebration of the Mass.”
The bishops are retaining a broad set of safety-oriented restrictions on church operation, including a limitation of parish capacity at one third of maximum. The faithful are still dispensed from their normal obligation to attend Sunday mass as a result of the health pandemic.
Religious organizations throughout America were generally among the first institutions to suspend their congregations as a result of the epidemic, but religious leaders and pastors are increasingly skeptical of remaining closed indefinitely at the whims of largely progressive governors who are unwilling to stake out an exit strategy.
More than 1,200 Christian pastors in California are vowing to hold in-person religious services in spite of the state’s broad restrictions on gatherings, suggesting that the state’s Christian community has all but had it with Governor Newsom’s hardcore stay-at-home order.