"I am considering the high number of new COVID cases in our area and the growing number of congregants, and the ability we have of safely social-distancing in our churches. These factors create a large number of situations that bring us back to the very reason why we lifted the obligation in the first place," he said.
The other four dioceses in the state moved forward with lifting the dispensation at various times in September, while clarifying that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass does not bind those who are sick, have compromised immune systems, or live with a family member with a vulnerable health condition.
Amy Grau, communications director for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, told CNA the archdiocese is not currently planning to reinstate the dispensation following Green Bay's decision to do so. She said the archdiocese continues to monitor the data from its local counties.
The Diocese of Madison is not currently planning to reinstate the dispensation either, chancellor William Yallaly told CNA. He added that the diocese is "more likely to remind people firmly of the conditions under which they are already liberally dispensed under the law, rather than issuing a new blanket dispensation."
The Diocese of Superior did not respond to CNA's request for comment.
Other bishops throughout the country have largely allowed the dispensation from Sunday Mass attendance to remain in place, although some have discussed lifting the dispensation before the end of the year if conditions permit.
Public health officials have cautioned that the fall and winter could see new surges in COVID-19 cases, as colder weather moves people indoors, where the virus can spread more easily.
In late August, three doctors published an article in Real Clear Science pointing to evidence that church services can be conducted safely when public health guidelines are followed. The doctors said that no outbreaks had been linked to worship services several months after churches had reopened, even in cases when contagious, pre-symptomatic parishioners took part in church events.