The archbishop of San Francisco said the city is "targeting the church and discriminating against us" by not allowing indoor masses and limiting outdoor masses to small numbers because of the coronavirus pandemic.
During an interview with Newsmax TV Monday evening, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said on "Greg Kelly Reports" that San Francisco's leaders are allowing retail business and services such as massage and tattoo parlors to open, but churches are being severely restricted.
"This is clearly targeting the church and discriminating against us. They're allowing other people to operate," Cordileone said. "In May we submitted a safety plan. The city asked faith communities to do that for when they return to worship. The health officer told me himself that he liked the plan, but they have not responded.
"In the meantime, stores submitted their safety plan and the city responded, approving the plan, and they went into operation at 50 percent capacity for indoor retail."
Cordileone said that churches were allowed to resume public worships in June, but those were limited to 12 people outdoors — which he called "a continued ban on worship."
Last week, the restrictions were relaxed so that 50 people could attend an outdoor mass or service, but Cordileone noted that the gatherings could not take place in the same location. His church held 20 masses last Sunday for 50 people at a time in order to comply with city guidelines.
Meanwhile, only one person is allowed in the church at a time to pray.
Cordileone said the city of San Francisco has allowed "street protests to continue, and not only allowing them, they actually participated in them. They allowed them to use the City Hall, they used the city podium, the mayor herself spoke at one of these protests."
Cordileone was asked about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying that, as a Catholic, she would like to return to mass, "but with all due respect to my archbishop [Cordileone], I think we should follow science on this."
Cordileone responded by referencing a recent study: "We do have solid scientific data that shows that our services are safe. One million masses and not one infection."
He added, "My people are suffering. They've been deprived for months of in-person worship.
"There's a petition drive urging the city of San Francisco to lift their burdensome, severe restrictions: freethemass.com."
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