SF Archbishop says 'security threat' prompted moving worship service indoors, despite COVID-19 rules

In an interview with Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, he said they had "every intention to hold mass outdoors."
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Hundreds of worshipers were gathered inside St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco despite California's COVID-19 health order banning indoor services. The Archbishop said a threat of violence prompted the move.

It was a strange sight in the midst of our pandemic as hundreds of worshipers gathered inside the church for a special Saturday mass prior to the West Coast Walk for Life.

COVID-19 IN CA: Map shows which counties can, can't reopen under stay-at-home order, reopening tiers

The state's COVID-19 health order allows small outdoor services but has banned all indoor worship.

"Having mass indoors is wonderful, I know we're not allowed to do it, but we're very safe," said parishioner Kennedy Ching.

"We had every plan, every intention to hold mass outdoors," said Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

RELATED: 'They are mocking God': San Francisco Archbishop leads march to protest COVID-19 worship regulations
EMBED More News Videos

San Francisco's Catholic Archbishop is blasting City Hall over COVID-19 restrictions, prohibiting indoor worship services. Hundreds took part in a protest march. Hundreds of Catholics marched through the city Sunday, to send a message: We are essential.



San Francisco Catholic Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone says a security threat prompted him to move the worship service inside, possible violence due to a rumored protest and counter-protest next door at the Chinese Consulate.

"One group that was part of the storming of the capitol, another left wing group," the Archbishop said.

We saw a large police presence outside the Consulate 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 directed toward the church. Our presence was precautionary for the security of all those in the area."

"So it was a trade-off between extra step of caution versus keeping people safe cause of the threat of violence," said Cordileone.

RELATED: City attorney says Archdiocese of San Francisco is holding illegal gatherings, putting community at risk

Cordileone has been an outspoken critic of the indoor worship ban.

"To me it's unjust and unconstitutional," he said.

The Archbishop says he plans to hold smaller indoor services in the future, with safety measures in place.



RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.