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Cardinal Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Washington, D.C.EWTN / YouTube

December 14, 2020 (FRC Action) — The D.C. mayor's office is only a half-mile from the National Archives. If Muriel Bowser (D) ever made that trek, she might have a better grasp on the U.S. Constitution. It's right there for everyone to read, including the First Amendment, which warns leaders like her against infringing on the free exercise of religion — something her COVID rules have done to every believer in the nation's capital. Now, one of the holiest days of the year approaching, Catholic leaders are done with the unfair treatment. And they're taking her to court to prove it.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, like a lot of churches, watched what the Supreme Court did in New York City, blowing away Governor Andrew Cuomo's (D) rules and opening the doors to in-person services. Now, with Christmas around the corner, they think it's time that D.C. did the same.

In a lawsuit against Mayor Bowser, the diocese points out that they've tried to be cooperative — even waiting to hold services until June. They've “demonstrated that people can worship God in a safe, responsible, and cooperative way,” their attorneys at Becket argue in the filing. “This has led to an exemplary safety record: thousands of masses, with zero known COVID outbreaks linked to the Mass. Yet as Christmas fast approaches, the District has imposed arbitrary 50-person caps on mass attendance — even for masked, socially-distant services, and even when those services are held in churches that can in normal times host over a thousand people.”

The 50-person cap is ridiculous, the diocese argues, when you consider that “public libraries, laundromats, retail stores, restaurants, tattoo parlors, nail salons, fitness centers, and many other establishments” are only limited based on their capacity. That's a slap in the face of local churches, they argue, especially when there are more than 650,000 D.C.-area Catholics who “at the end of this most difficult year — now face the chilling prospect of being told that there is no room for them at the church this Christmas.”

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UPDATE (5/21/2020) - 

The Catholic bishops of Minnesota along with state’s Lutheran leaders have informed their governor that they will defy his continued lockdown order for houses of worship and will begin public religious services in time for Pentecost.

The order allows malls, shops, and other retailers to open their doors at fifty percent capacity, and allows businesses—from pet-grooming services to medical cannabis operations—to resume in-person operations...but explicitly leaves in place bans on in-person worship services for more than ten people.

The bold move was announced in separate letters sent simultaneously to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison from Most Rev. Bernard A. Hebda, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis; from the presidents of the two Lutheran Church Minnesota districts; and from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the attorney group working on behalf of the reopening churches.

The religious leaders chose to act in defiance of the governor after he revealed his plan last week to reopen commerce in the state while keeping in place the limit for church services to ten people or less. Weeks of dialogue with the governor aimed at achieving equal treatment for houses of worship had reportedly gone nowhere.

And, although there are more than 85 archdioceses in North America, this is a good start.

Archbishop Hebda is to be commended for his courage and action in the face of discrimination by the state government.

While the "Mall of America" and casinos were allowed to reopen by the state at 50% capacity, churches were held to just 10 people per service.

And, thus, the Archbishop rightly judged the policy to discriminate against houses of worship.

Please READ THE FULL STORY by clicking on this link.

And if you haven't already, please SIGN this petition, which ask ALL the bishops of the Church to be courageous in restoring the sacraments to their flocks.


UPDATE (4/15/2020)

In the first instance of reinstating the sacraments to the faithful in the U.S., the bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico has lifted a diocesan ban on public Masses, stating in a letter to his priests that “depriving the faithful of the nourishment offered through the Eucharist” cannot “become the ‘status quo’ for the foreseeable future.”

Bishop Peter Baldacchino advised his priests in the April 15 letter obtained by the Catholic News Agency that they can resume offering the sacraments as long as they abide by state-order health directives.

Bishop Baldacchino stated: "While it is true that we need to take every reasonable precaution to reduce the spread of Coronavirus, it is equally true that we offer the greatest ‘essential service’ to our people."

Let us congratulate Bishop Baldacchino for this courageous step! And, let us also encourage his brother bishops to follow his example.

Thank you for continuing to SIGN this urgent and crucial petition.


Please SIGN this petition, asking our bishops to work tirelessly to find creative and safe ways to restore, to us, their flock, the sacraments through which our Blessed Lord's sanctifying graces flow.

We read in the Holy Bible: "As a shepherd tends his flock when he finds himself among his scattered sheep, so will I tend My sheep. I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered when it was cloudy and dark ... the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal (but the sleek and the strong I will destroy) shepherding them rightly." Ezekiel 34

During the first years of his reign, one of Pope Francis' most oft-repeated words was "accompaniment."

In Evangelium Gaudii, the word was used nine times, in Amoris Laetitia, five times. In many cases, the word was used in a challenging tone and in the general context of ambiguity that has come to define the Francis pontificate. Almost always, the word was meant to challenge the traditions of the Catholic Church.

But the tradition of Holy Mother Church is one of radical accompaniment, like that of a mother who would never allow herself to be separated from her child.

Now, more than ever, immersed as we are in a world threatened by the spiritual plague of secularism and the physical plague of the Chinese coronavirus, we need our shepherds to protect and feed their flock.

Please SIGN this petition, encouraging our bishops to be fearless and creative in their administration of the sacraments.

One need not be a medical doctor or a doctor of theology to know that if outdoor physical recreation and grocery shopping is essential and can be accomplished safely during this pandemic, so, too, can the exercise of religious services.

There is a battle raging all around us in which the secular world is seeking to eliminate all signs of Christ's presence among us.

The current pandemic, like all times of crisis, can be an opportunity to be the light of the world. But make no mistake about it, the enemy of God will use a time of crisis as well. He will use it to separate men from each other and from God.

SIGN this petition to implore the bishops to use all available safe and creative means to restore the sacraments to the faithful.

Thank you!


'WATCH: Sick woman in hospital begs priests to courageously minister to sick, dying': https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/watch-sick-woman-in-hospital-begs-priests-to-courageously-minister-to-sick-dying

'UK Catholic bishops suggest priests shouldn’t attend to dying faithful due to coronavirus': https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/uk-catholic-bishops-suggest-priests-shouldnt-attend-to-dying-faithful-due-to-coronavirus

'Expert says it could be 18 months before church services resume: Live COVID-19 updates': https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/police-state-grows-expert-warns-america-it-could-be-18-months-before-church-services-resume

'WATCH: Priest in Italy bravely processes with Eucharist to bless coronavirus-stricken country': https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/watch-priest-in-italy-bravely-processes-with-eucharist-to-bless-coronavirus-stricken-country

'Spanish police shut down Palm Sunday Mass on church rooftop': https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/spanish-police-shut-down-palm-sunday-mass-on-church-rooftop

'Police fine priest and quarantine him for carrying crucifix through the streets': https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/police-fine-priest-and-quarantine-him-for-carrying-crucifix-through-the-streets

**Photo: Fr. Tomaso Jozef Jochemczyk processes with the Blessed Sacrament in Italy, March 20, 2020. Taken by: Sister Marie

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“We here in the Archdiocese of Washington have received no [COVID] cases — at least none that we know of, where people are infected for attending church… We just think we should not be treated any differently and certainly not unfairly in comparison to other public places for attendance, Archbishop of Washington Cardinal Wilton Gregory insisted.

A federal judge has already put Mayor Bowser in her place once for these attacks on religious freedom. Her decision to stop Capitol Hill Baptist Church from meeting outside was a huge injustice to the local congregation — one that led Trump-appointee Trevor McFadden to quote Hebrews 10:25. “It is for the church, not the District or this court, to define for itself the meaning of 'not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,'” he insisted. Now that the Supreme Court has spoken to the matter, the ripple effect is only getting bigger. Let's hope that includes the nation's capital, where the Constitution's freedoms should have a safe and permanent home.

Published with permission from FRC Action.

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