Bishop Cordileone called a demonstration yesterday, ending at the City Hall and with the celebration of the Eucharist.
Washington DC (September 21, 2020, Gaudium Press) — It is not common for an Archbishop to call his parishioners to a public demonstration. But in this case, there were valid reasons.
Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco wanted to denounce ‘Unrealistic’ limits on public worship as ‘willful discrimination”
The reason for the demonstration was the extreme restrictions that are being applied to Catholic worship. In the march, Catholics were asking to be able to exercise their right to worship in public, at a “level consistent with other activities” in the city, like shopping, protesting, and gathering in a public park.
“Months ago, we submitted a safety plan to the city including masks and social distancing, just like indoor retail stores did,” Cordileone explained in his homily. “The city said yes to indoor retail, but we Catholics are still waiting to hear back.”
Therefore, in a memo sent to all the pastors of his diocese, the prelate announced that three parishes would organize Eucharistic processions starting in different points of the city but all converging at San Francisco City Hall, the beautiful neoclassical-style building in white marble, where the city government is based.
After arriving at the City Hall, people would attend mass outside the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, as happened yesterday, in the demonstration that was titled “Free the Mass”. More than 1,000 Catholics participated in the archdiocesan “Free the Mass” demonstration.
“Right now”, Archbishop Cordileone said, “people can 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? No, there is no reason for this new rule except a desire to put Catholics — to put you — at the back of the line.”
The Archbishop did not hesitate to call this reality discrimination: “Yes, discrimination, because there is no other word for it.”
“Now in San Francisco, all of us here are being put at the end of the line,” he said. “No matter how rich or poor, no matter whether newly arrived or from families that have been here for many generations, it is our Catholic faith that unites us, and it is because of the Catholic faith that we are being put at the end of the line.”
In his Sunday homily, the prelate also highlighted the social work that has been done during the pandemic by the local Caritas Agency, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
He also thanked the work “of the sacrificed lay faithful, for what they are doing to keep Christ’s love alive and visible in these distressing times. This is what it means to reach the end of the line”.
With information from CNS