Denver Newsroom, Jun 22, 2021 / 16:01 pm
The bishop of Oakland, California on Monday said that Catholics fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not have to wear masks at Mass, adding that those not vaccinated will not be forced to wear a mask.
“The mask rules for offices, schools, travel, public transportation and businesses are still being worked out by government health officials. But churchgoers may dispense with the mask if they have been vaccinated,” Bishop Michael Barber, SJ wrote in a June 21 column. He added that no one should be “forced or requested to prove their vaccination status to participate in worship.”
Those who are not yet vaccinated against COVID-19 are asked to continue to wear masks at Mass, Barber said, but the new protocols are based on the “honor system.” He cautioned that “no one should be criticized if they choose not to be vaccinated, and/or wear a mask inside our churches.”
“Our ushers and greeters should extend a warm welcome and answer questions about the new policy, but they should never be used as ‘mask police,’” the bishop wrote.