SF archbishop calls COVID church rules a 'mockery' at protest

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The Catholic archbishop of San Francisco on Sunday criticized why indoor retail shops are open but not houses of worship during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report.

"The City continues to place unrealistic and suffocating restrictions on our natural and constitutional right to worship. This willful discrimination is affecting us all," Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in his remarks posted by the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption online. "Yes, discrimination, because there is no other word for it. We ask: why can people shop at Nordstrom’s at 25% capacity but only one of you at a time is allowed to pray inside of this great Cathedral, your Cathedral? Is this equality?"

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California’s death count from the coronavirus surpassed 15,000 on Sunday even as the state had widespread improvement in infection levels.

A tally by Johns Hopkins University put California’s death toll at 15,026, the fourth highest in the country.

California, which is the nation’s most populous state, has the most confirmed virus cases in the U.S. with about 775,000, but key indicators have fallen dramatically since a spike that started after Memorial Day weekend prompted statewide shutdowns of businesses.

San Francisco allows outdoor church services with a maximum of 50 people or one person to be in a church at a time.

Cordileone said at his protest: "One person at a time in this great Cathedral to pray? What an insult. This is a mockery. They are mocking you, and even worse, they are mocking God."

He thinks Christians should be able to worship inside churches.

"It's not that we want to be reckless," he told ABC 7 News. "We don't want to endanger public health. We can do it safely and we just want to be unimpeded from doing so."

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The office of Mayor London Breed told ABC indoor worship services may start at month’s end with 25% capacity.

"We need to continue to follow the guidance of Public Health, but with every step of reopening, we need to remember that the virus is still very much present and we have to move forward safely," the mayor's statement read.

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