FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 14, 2020
HEARING SET FOR THURSDAY IN LAWSUIT FILED BY THE DIOCESE OF BROOKLYN AGAINST GOVERNOR CUOMO
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn today announced that its request for an expedited hearing in the federal lawsuit filed against Governor Andrew Cuomo last week has been granted.
Judge Nicholas Garaufis has ruled in favor of an expedited hearing seeking a preliminary injunction to re-open 28 Brooklyn and Queens churches located in the red and orange zones. The hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, October 15, 2020, at 2:00 p.m.
“I am pleased that our case will move forward because going to Church should absolutely be considered essential. We should not be grouped with non-essential services like theaters and recreational facilities. Especially when you consider that we have been operating safely for months at a 25% capacity and have not had any issues because our faithful know that only with a mask can they attend Mass as well as strict adherence to all of our social distancing protocols,” said The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn. “I am hopeful we will not have to close or turn people away in the 28 churches in the red and orange zones. All we are seeking is for our faithful of Brooklyn and Queens to be allowed back to Church and the ability to receive the Holy Eucharist.”
“We look forward to presenting our case to Judge Garaufis, demonstrating that the Diocese has done everything right to provide a safe, COVID-free environment for worship and should therefore be permitted to reopen its churches for Mass this coming Sunday,” said Randy Mastro, a partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher who is representing the Diocese.
The decision by Governor Cuomo to reduce capacity at churches in the red and orange zones was announced last week without prior notification. The Diocese of Brooklyn immediately filed a lawsuit against this Executive Order on the grounds of religious freedom. The Diocese has also highlighted the safety protocols established since churches reopened on July 4th weekend, which have effectively prevented the spread of the Coronavirus in their parishes.