The court majority noted in an unsigned order that the state’s “three households” rule did not apply as strictly to secular indoor gatherings, such as indoor shopping or businesses such as nail salons, as it did to private religious gatherings at homes.
‘Where the government permits other activities to proceed with precautions, it must show that the religious exercise at issue is more dangerous than those activities even when the same precautions are applied,’ the Supreme Court said in the 5-4 decision.
‘Religious organizations provide essential services that are necessary for the health and welfare of the public during a disaster emergency,’ the legislation reads.
Police officers had interrupted the Good Friday liturgy at Christ the King parish April 2, ordering worshippers to leave or face a fine or possible arrest. Officers addressed the congregation April 11.
According to critics, such provisions amount to forced vaccinations that will violate privacy and civil liberties and undermine trust in public-health authorities.
The Sunday Mass obligation will be restored for Catholics in the state next month.
While friars serve food, volunteers kneel in prayer in a simple chapel before the Blessed Sacrament.
While the original video of the Easter Vigil has since been removed by the parish, the live stream of the Easter Sunday Mass at the parish the following day showed priests and altar servers without masks standing close together.
For the past few months, Northern Ireland’s Executive Office and the public health authorities had requested churches move their services online.