The Catholic Bishops in Minnesota announced their plan to resume public masses against government orders.
Minnesota bishops issued a press release stating that Governor Tim Walz ended the state’s stay-at-home-order “allowing more commerce, but prohibiting religious gatherings of more than ten people.”
Gov. Walz ended the stay-at-home order on May 13, allowing retailers to operate at 50 percent capacity. However, the bishops stated that despite working with the state government, they did not receive a “concrete timeline and roadmap” for resuming Masses.
The bishops said they will now resume public masses at 33 percent capacity, following safety protocols and considering each parish’s situation.
The Sunday obligation remains dispensed. Parishes are also not required to resume Masses if they feel it is unsafe to do so.
“Part of our faith is we want to respect all legitimate civil authority,” Apb. Bernard Hebda of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis said in a May 21 press conference.
“That’s one of the reasons we’ve tried reaching out to the governor and his administration to explain the needs of our church, which are kind of particular.
“As we’ve seen other openings and plans for other openings in the state, it makes us feel much more comfortable with what we’re doing, because we see a parallel that’s there, and we certainly see that we need to be treated equally.”
Abp. Hebda added that he will meet with Gov. Waltz after the press conference, saying he hopes he “changes his mind.”
Here’s the conference video below:
Minnesota Bishops reasoning for resuming public masses, according to the press release:
“Big-box stores have hundreds of people inside at any one time, and the number of goods that are being handled and distributed in one store by many people—stock staff, customers, cashiers—is astounding.
“Workers are present for many hours per day, often in close proximity.”
“In these circumstances, and given the well-researched protocols that we have proposed (and that are being followed successfully elsewhere in our nation) how can reason require us any longer to keep our faithful from the Eucharist?”
“We are blessed to live in a nation that guarantees the free exercise of religion.
“This right can only be abridged for a compelling governmental interest, and only in a way that is narrowly tailored to be the least restrictive means of achieving the desired end.
“That is why a large majority of states now allow in-person religious services, including many states that had previously suspended in-person religious services. We think that the executive order issued last Wednesday fails this test.
“An order that sweeps so broadly that it prohibits, for example, a gathering of 11 people in a Cathedral with a seating capacity of several thousand defies reason.
“Therefore, we have chosen to move forward in the absence of any specific timeline laid out by Governor Walz and his Administration. We cannot allow an indefinite suspension of the public celebration of the Mass.”