Brooklyn bishop: Restrictions for Mass in red zone areas don't 'make any sense’

A bishop with the Diocese of Brooklyn called a federal judge's decision to deny a temporary restraining order on new coronavirus restrictions for religious groups “disappointing” in remarks to News 12 Saturday.

News 12 Staff

Oct 11, 2020, 2:05 AM

Updated 1,318 days ago

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A bishop with the Diocese of Brooklyn called a federal judge's decision to deny a temporary restraining order on new coronavirus restrictions for religious groups “disappointing” on Saturday.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio says the new restrictions to limit the capacity in houses of worship will affect about 28 churches in the Brooklyn Diocese, which covers Brooklyn and Queens.
Houses of worship in orange zones have a 25-person limit. Red zones have a 10-person limit.
Bishop DiMarzio says with those limits being so small, they will likely end up live streaming services on Sunday.
The diocese filed a lawsuit Thursday against the state, claiming a violation of their First Amendment right to exercise religion freely. They also claim that the Catholic churches are being singled out when there have been relatively no cases of coronavirus from congregants attending masses.
Bishop DiMarzio says that there are strict safety measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and the churches are large enough for parishioners to social distance.
"We think we've followed the rules. We see no contagion happening in our churches and we believe that this blanket prohibition against using our churches and diminishing the number to so few, it doesn't make any sense," he says.
The judge denied their restraining order because, according to court documents, the right to freely exercise a religion does not exempt worshippers from complying with neutral, regulatory laws.
Bishop DiMarzio  says the doors at Brooklyn diocese churches located in red zones will be closed rather than only allowing so few people inside. He says they will be consulting with their attorney about how they should move forward.


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