“California’s limit of no more than 100 people inside of a house of worship regardless of the size of the building is still unjust,” he said in late September. “We want and we intend to worship God safely: with masks, social distancing, sanitation, ventilation, and other such safety protocols. But we will not accept believers being treated more severely than other, comparable secular activities.”
California’s church service limits earlier this year were challenged by a Pentecostal church, which argued houses of worship were being unfairly treated more strictly than other secular venues, including restaurants, hair salons, and retail stores.
In May, the U.S. 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 advocating for a safe reopening of indoor Masses, Cordileone has cited an article on Mass attendance and COVID-19, authored Aug. 19 by doctors Thomas McGovern, Deacon Timothy Flanigan, and Paul Cieslak for Real Clear Science.
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 been linked to the celebration of the Mass, despite more than 1 million Masses being celebrated across the United States since the lifting of shelter-in-place orders.
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.
“Do not show a lack of compassion for people who are afraid of catching a disease that is quite deadly to many people with comorbidities and the elderly, which we Catholics should particularly respect and protect,” he stressed earlier this year.