FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 16, 2020
STATEMENT FROM BISHOP NICHOLAS DIMARZIO ON FEDERAL LAWSUIT COURT DECISION
The Diocese of Brooklyn is extremely disappointed by today’s ruling, as we believe we presented a strong case in support of our right to worship. It is a shame our parishioners in the red zones cannot return to Mass when the judge acknowledged we have done everything right. We are now considering our appellate options.
There is nothing more important than the safety of our parishioners. That is why we have worked diligently to implement strict COVID-19 safety rules that go above and beyond state requirements. We will continue to require masks to be worn in order to participate in all our services. We will continue to voluntarily limit capacity in all buildings to 25% occupancy, and we will abide by social distancing guidelines as required. The proof of our compliance is the fact that we have not had any COVID outbreaks or significant cases in either our churches or schools. We continue to evaluate our procedures to build upon the safety we have so far achieved.
It is unfortunate the court has ruled against us, and as we will abide by these restrictions, the churches in the red zones are closed until further notice. The Mass attendance limits of 10 people are extremely difficult to implement because we never want to turn away worshippers. It is unfortunate that our inalienable constitutional right to worship is still impeded despite the efforts we have made.
Despite this loss, we will continue to press our leaders for policies that consider the individual circumstances of houses of worship. We will also continue to advocate for places of worship to be classified as essential, for there is nothing more necessary today than a community of believers, united in prayer, asking the Lord to end this pandemic.