The Diocese of Brooklyn is suing the state of New York over a new order that restricts some indoor Masses in New York City to just 10 people.
The diocese alleges that the new health restrictions by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, put in place in Queens and Brooklyn amid a new spike in the coronavirus, “arbitrarily reduce capacity” at churches which worked with public health officials earlier in the summer to reopen safely after the initial wave of the virus.
“If this latest executive order stands, parishioners won’t be able to go to Mass this Sunday, even though the Diocese has done everything right to ensure safe conditions in its churches,” said the diocese’s attorney Randy Mastro.
“Thus, this religious community will be denied its most fundamental right — the free exercise of religion — for no legitimate reason whatsoever.”
Earlier this week, Cuomo capped indoor religious services in Brooklyn and Queens at 10 people in the areas deemed most seriously affected by the virus, and at 25 people in some other areas.
The Brooklyn diocese joined all other U.S. Catholic dioceses in halting public Masses in March to help slow the spread of the virus. The churches were closed for 16 weeks until July 5 when they were allowed by the state and city to reopen with precautions.
Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said that churches in the diocese faithfully abided by new precautions including that Mass attendees wear masks and sit at least six feet apart.
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