SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) – Hundreds of worshipers gathered at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco despite California’s COVID-19 health ordinance banning indoor services. The archbishop said a threat of violence prompted the move.
It was a strange sight in the middle of our pandemic when hundreds of believers gathered in the church for a special Saturday mass in front of the West Coast Walk for Life.
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The state’s COVID-19 health ordinance allows small outdoor services, but has banned all indoor worship.
“It’s wonderful to have mass inside. I know we’re not allowed to, but we’re very safe,” said parishioner Kennedy Ching.
“We had every plan, every intention, to hold mass outdoors,” said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.
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San Francisco Catholic Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said a security threat caused him to move the service inside. This is due to violence that can be traced back to an alleged protest and a counter-protest next door at the Chinese consulate.
“One group that was part of the capital storm, another left-wing group,” said the archbishop.
We saw a large police presence in front of the consulate on Saturday. Dozens of officers were also stationed around St. Mary’s Cathedral.
In a statement to ABC7 News, SFPD said, “There were no specific threats to the Church. Our presence was a precautionary measure to the safety of everyone in the area.”
“So it was a compromise between an extra step of caution and the safety of people because of the threat of violence,” said Cordileone.
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Cordileone was an outspoken critic of the indoor worship ban.
“To me, it’s unjust and unconstitutional,” he said.
The archbishop plans to hold smaller indoor church services with security measures in the future.
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