Minnesota bishops defy gov’s lockdown order, announce they’ll restart public Masses By Doug Mainwaring for Life Site News
‘The order allows malls, shops, and other retailers to open their doors at fifty percent capacity, 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 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 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.
“The order allows malls, shops, and other retailers to open their doors at fifty percent capacity, allows businesses—from pet-grooming services to medical cannabis operations—to resume in-person operations, and even announces a phased plan for reopening bars and restaurants, but explicitly leaves in place bans on in-person worship services for more than ten people. Even Minnesota casinos are reopening starting May 26,” said the Becket attorneys in a press release.
“If malls, casinos, liquor stores, bars, and restaurants are reopening, why can’t Minnesota churches?” asked Eric Rassbach, vice president and senior counsel at Becket. “Our Constitution stands for ‘equal justice under law’ and imposing a special disability on churches is anything but. Governor Walz and Attorney General Ellison should ensure equal treatment for churches and houses of worship—especially because they are crucial to helping our nation overcome this crisis.”