'They are mocking God': San Francisco Archbishop leads march to protest COVID-19 worship regulations

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco's Catholic Archbishop is blasting City Hall over COVID-19 restrictions, prohibiting indoor worship services.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone says local officials are "mocking God" by refusing to let indoor masses take place.

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Hundreds of Catholics marched to St. Mary's Cathedral Sunday, to send a message: We are essential.

"I believe it's our right to worship God," said Liz Sommers from Oakland.

"Going to mass is like freedom of speech, without that, you take away our souls," said Stella Marinucci from San Francisco.

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These Catholics want the right to safely worship indoors, but COVID restrictions still prohibit that in the city.

"We're happy they're doing this, someone needs to step up for our churches," said parishioner Gerald Beaugez.

"This is mockery, they are mocking you -- even worse, mocking God. To City Hall, you don't matter," said San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

A firey sermon from Archbishop Cordileone sounded more like a political rally.

"We are tired of being treated unequally, discriminated against," said Cordileone.

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Currently, outdoor services are permitted with a maximum of 50 people, so recently the archbishop invited dozens of parishes to hold micro-masses on the St. Mary's Courtyard with masks and social distancing.

"It's not that we want to be reckless, we don't want to endanger public health, we want to be unimpeaded from doing so," Cordileone added.

Mayor London Breed's office says indoor worship services could resume by the end of the month, with 25% capacity.

In a statement, her office said: "We need to continue to follow the guidance of Public Health.. but with every step of reopening, we need to remember that the virus is still very much present and we have to move forward safely."

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is Caltholic, said this: "With all due respect to my Archbishop, i think we should follow the science," said Pelosi.

The Archbishop, wants larger groups of parishioners given permission to worship indoors and he's ready to keep fighting.

"I'm strategizing, but we're not going to back down," said Cordileone.

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