The City of San Francisco has been closely monitoring Catholic churches in the city and has repeatedly issued warnings to the archdiocese for apparent health order violations.
Cordileone said he himself has noted "very few" violations of the city's health orders by parishes in the archdiocese, although the few that have occurred have garnered heavy criticism in the secular press.
While Cordileone said city officials have been "cordial and respectful" in their dialogue with the archdiocese, he added that the city still has not responded to the archdiocese's safety plan- outlining how churches could be safely opened for indoor services- which they submitted in May.
In advocating for a safe reopening of indoor Masses, Cordileone has cited a recent article on Mass attendance and COVID-19, authored Aug. 19 by doctors Thomas McGovern, Deacon Timothy Flanigan, and Paul Cieslak for Real Clear Science.
By following public health guidelines, Catholic Churches have largely avoided viral spread during the more than 1 million Masses that have been celebrated across the United States since the lifting of shelter-in-place orders, the doctors found.
They said in their article that there is no evidence that church services are higher risk than similar activities when guidelines are followed, and no coronavirus outbreaks have not yet been linked to the celebration of the Mass.
Even while protesting the city's apparent unequal application of health restrictions, the archbishop has encouraged his priests to lead their parishes in following the city's guidelines.
The Benedict XVI Institute for Sacred Music and Divine Worship, which provides liturgical resources in the archdiocese, shared a petition Aug. 31 in support of Cordileone's statement calling for the lifting of restrictions on the Mass. To date more than 3,500 people have signed.
A Pentecostal church challenged California's church service limits earlier this year, arguing that houses of worship were being unfairly treated in a more strict manner than other secular venues, including restaurants, hair salons, and retail stores.
In May, the Supreme Court sided with the state of California. In a 5-4 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts argued that the court lacks the expertise and authority to second guess the decisions of elected officials in the context of public health decisions during a pandemic.
In several other states, churches have successfully challenged restrictions against houses of worship, on the grounds that public officials were not able to justify the decision to treat them more strictly than other secular gathering venues.
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Correction: This report initially said Masses would take place outside San Francisco's city hall. They will take place outside the city's cathedral, after a Eucharistic procession passes city hall.