Edit: While grocery stores, liquor stores and big box department stores have been packing people in for months, Minnesota Catholic Churches will remain mostly empty according to the Progressive Governor's easing of restrictions. That Catholic bishops will continue to do what they're told, or pro-actively serve the power of the state, even when it adversely impacts their own authority and the sanctity of their flocks, is practically guaranteed. The Catholic Church has a habit of losing in conflicts like these. Catholic Bishops are pleading with the governor for the right of public worship much as they have acquiesced for decades ceding areas to the consensus which should have been bastions of Catholic authority ever since the fateful days of Vatican II. The Catholic hierarchy is programmed to lose in all of its conflicts with the state and cultural leaders.
From the Catholic Bishops of Minnesota
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Catholic Bishops of Minnesota, along with many people of faith [cringe], were disappointed in Governor Walz’s May 13 announcement that he would end the Stay-at-Home order to allow more commerce but prohibit religious gatherings of more than ten people. We have attempted to work collaboratively with the Walz Administration up to this time, seeking the guidance of the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Public Health to help us strengthen our specific safety protocols based on the statewide plan. Along with some Lutheran colleagues, we submitted a plan to the Governor on May 8 that detailed the sanitation measures we would take and proposed a cap on occupancy limited to 33 percent of building capacity. Our proposed protocols are based on the work undertaken by a group of national medical experts and theologians, the Thomistic Institute, and they are consistent with the practices that have already been put in place in many dioceses throughout the United States. We continue our willingness to make any necessary adjustments to our safety protocols upon review.
The Life of Faith is Essential
Edit: if there's a perception on the part of the godless elected officials and lab coats that the public practice of religion isn't essential, that's a perception that has been cultivated for decades by Church officials themselves for one thing, by making many of the prescriptions of Catholic religion optional for "Catholics in good standing" for years, even before the Council. This malaise touches everything from salvation (Non-Catholics can be saved) holy days of obligations, days of fast and abstinence, matrimony, penance and the reception of Communion. (There are even Mass options that allow for the godless humanist to feel more at home at a Catholic Mass, if Catholic Mass it is.) In some cases, the actual practice of Catholicism is opposed by those who have taken oaths to protect it. Witness Dr. E.Michael Jones' public witness in opposition to abortion that led to him being fired from his job.
Given our willingness to coordinate with the Governor, we are especially disappointed that his most recent order (20-56) does not address both the vital importance that faith plays in the lives of Americans, especially in this time of pandemic, and the fundamental religious freedom possessed by houses of worship that allows our country to thrive. The Governor’s remarks today further underscored a failure to appreciate the role of our Church and other faith groups in serving the community. The human cost to this pandemic has been extraordinary, not just in terms of lives lost to the virus but the rapidly growing problems of job loss, depression, crime and violence, and substance abuse. As Pope Francis has said, the church must be a field hospital, ministering to all, but especially the poor and vulnerable. He has cautioned that overly drastic measures that limit church life will have a disproportionate impact on “the little ones” and those who have no one to rely on.
The bishops of Minnesota are united in our conviction that we can safely resume public Masses in accordance with both our religious duties and with accepted public health and safety standards. We can worship in a way that reflects both the love of God and the love of our neighbors (cf. Mark 12:30-31). Therefore, we are giving our parishes permission for the resumption of the public celebration of Mass on Tuesday, May 26, which will give us time to be ready for the celebration of Pentecost on May 31. Parishes will be required to follow the strict protocols we have published for sanitation and social distancing and will have to limit attendance to one-third of the seating capacity of the church. No one will be obliged to attend, as the bishops of Minnesota will continue to dispense from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.