(Headline USA) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed back Friday against the Catholic archbishop of San Francisco‘s criticism of COVID-related restrictions, saying he should “follow science” rather than advocate for fuller in-person gatherings for Mass and worship.
Asked about Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone’s recent op-ed protesting limits on larger public gatherings, Pelosi — a pro-abortion nominal Catholic who ignores its teaching on life beginning at conception — said he should not be putting people’s lives at risk.
“With all do respect to my archbishop, I think we should follow science on this,” Pelosi said.
Another ministry leader, evangelical Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church in the Southern California, has been in his own legal dispute with Los Angeles County. He has said he is “following the science.”
“In the state of California there are 40 million people, 8,500 of them have died with COVID. That is .002 (percent),” MacArthur said. “So in California, you have a 99.99 percent chance to survive COVID.”
The right to worship has become a fierce touchstone in the debate over state and local rules to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
The bishop said worshipers’ rights are being “unjustly repressed,” by the government.
Nationwide, several churches are suing to halt restrictions.
“We recognize that the government has a right to impose reasonable public health rules,” he wrote in the Washington Post. “But when government asserts authority over the church’s very right to worship, it crosses a line.”
Pelosi said she attended in-person service recently in her San Francisco hometown, and received communion — picking up the wafer from the priest, as is allowed, rather than having it placed directly on the tongue.
She said she regularly joins online services.
“I miss going to church regularly,” she said.
The California Democrat said she had to sign up in advance to attend, and found about a dozen people spread out once she arrived.
“Very, very, very spaced,” she said.
She questioned whether the archbishop’s message was misunderstood.
“I’m sure he must have meant if it is scientifically safe, rather than jeopardizing people’s health if they want to go to church,” she said.
Pelosi noted that faith and science are sometimes seen at odds.
“Around here, people say to me, ‘You’re a person of faith, why do you believe in science?'” she claimed.
“I say, ‘I believe science is an answer to our prayers. It is a creation of God, and one that is an answer to our prayers.’”
Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.