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."

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Sunday, January 24, 2021
SF cathedral holds indoor service despite COVID-19 rules
A Catholic Mass was held at St. Mary's Cathedral on Saturday and hundreds of worshippers gathered inside despite California's COVID-19 health order banning indoor services. The Archbishop said a threat of violence prompted the move.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.