COMMENTARY: Justices’ writing the 5-4 decision in favor of injunction explained, that “even in a pandemic, the Constitution cannot be put away and forgotten.”
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Supreme Court Overturns NY Church Restrictions as Brooklyn Bishop Says Religion ‘Essential’ During Pandemic
In a statement Thursday, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said he is “gratified by the decision of the Justices of the United States Supreme Court, who have recognized the clear First Amendment violation and urgent need for relief in this case.”
In October, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order curbing some public gatherings in certain localities, due to the reported rapid spread of the coronavirus in those districts.
After the New York governor’s executive order restricted Catholic worship and closed schools that had followed health protocols, the Brooklyn Diocese continues to fight the order in court.
"Despite this loss," Bishop DiMarzio said, "we will continue to press our leaders for policies that consider the individual circumstances of houses of worship."
Bishop DiMarzio said that the diocese worked with public health officials over the summer to implement safety measures in reopening churches.
On Wednesday, Bishop DiMarzio said that “going to Church should absolutely be considered essential,” and that churches shouldn’t be “grouped with non-essential services like theaters and recreational facilities.”
Earlier this week, Gov. Cuomo capped indoor religious services in Brooklyn and Queens at 10 people in the areas deemed most seriously affected by the virus, and at 25 people in some other areas.
56-year old Mark Matzek alleges that Bishop DiMarzio and another priest, now deceased, repeatedly abused him when he was an altar server at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in the Diocese of Newark in the 1970s.