US archbishop told – follow science, don’t risk lives

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi encourages San Francisco’s Catholic archbishop to follow science instead of pushing for fuller in-person gatherings for Mass and worship.

Pelosi, a practising Catholic, says Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone should not be putting people’s lives at risk.

“With all due respect to my archbishop, I think we should follow science on this,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi made her views clear after Cordileone led hundreds of Catholics in a street protest through San Francisco Sunday to St. Mary’s Cathedral. He then celebrated an outdoor mass.

The demonstration’s purpose was to pressure city leaders to allow indoor services for all faiths amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

One woman said she was upset that the church still remained mostly closed to followers.

“We’re being persecuted,” she said.

“I mean it’s absolutely crazy. There are scores of people huddled together, bless them, on the streets and in the park and in the restaurants outside. We’re allowed one person in the church. I mean, really?”

“Churches are essential for so many of us, you know, for our mental health, for our spiritual well-being,” another protester said.

“You know, we want to be treated fairly.”

One participant feared that the closures turn people away from the faith, and make them “lackadaisical” in their faith.”

Others are upset that some counties in the area are beginning to allow places of worship to resume indoor services, while the San Francisco area is not.

The debate about the right to worship has become heated over state and local rules to stem the pandemic’s spread.

Cordileone said worshipers’ rights are being “unjustly repressed” by the government. Nationwide, several churches are suing to halt restrictions.

“We recognize that the government has a right to impose reasonable public health rules,” he wrote in The Washington Post. “But when government asserts authority over the church’s very right to worship, it crosses a line.”

Pelosi says she is “sure he must have meant if it is scientifically safe, rather than jeopardizing people’s health if they want to go to church.”

Faith and science are sometimes seen at odds, she commented.

“Around here, people say to me, ‘You’re a person of faith, why do you believe in science?’

“I say, I believe science is an answer to our prayers. It is a creation of God, and one that is an answer to our prayers.”


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