Bishop applauds U.S. Supreme Court ruling that expands options for religious worship

SAN DIEGO (Feb. 6, 2021) – Bishop Robert W. McElroy, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, released the letter he sent to the priests of the diocese today following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling lifting the ban in California on indoor worship services. The text of the letter follows:

My dear brother priest:

Last night the U. S. Supreme Court overrode the decision of Gov. Newsom banning indoor worship services in most of California. Starting immediately public worship can take place in our churches and other buildings as long as occupancy is limited to 25 percent of the building’s capacity. Each pastor may make the decision as to which Masses will be celebrated indoors.  Other worship services may also be indoors. Choral singing remains prohibited in law.

In all of our services, universal masking and social distancing remain required for the safety and health of our people and the suppression of the pandemic. Social gatherings are still not permitted at this time, indoor or outside.

I am delighted that the Court has taken this judicious step that expands the options for religious worship, while recognizing equally the health imperatives that are required in this moment.

Bishop Dolan, Bishop Bejarano and I will be praying for you this week as you carry out the decision-making and implementation steps related to the Court decision. We recognize that this, like so many decisions you have faced during the last 15 months, will require balancing competing pastoral realities, and will not result in policies that please everyone. I thank you profoundly for all you are doing.

In the Lord,

Bishop Robert McElroy