Fr. Raymond J. de Souza: With Church Reopening Plan, Minnesota Bishops Model Solidarity and Subsidiarity

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May 22, 2020
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The Cathedral of St. Paul is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Paul and Minneapolis. (Aaron of L.A. Photography /

COMMENTARY: The state’s role is to support social institutions such as churches in their operation, not to supplant their decision-making.

By Father Raymond J. de Souza, EWTN News, 5/21/20

Father Raymond J. de Souza is the editor in chief of Convivium magazine.

As bishops decide about reopening churches and the public celebration of the liturgy, the case of Minnesota shows two key principles of Catholic social teaching in action, solidarity and subsidiarity.

Minnesota’s Catholic bishops have decided to permit the reopening on May 26 of those churches that are capable of doing so. The churches that will reopen for Mass must operate at one-third capacity and have various sanitation protocols in place. Minnesota’s Lutheran bishops are doing the same.

Insisting on Religious Freedom

The Catholic bishops acted after the governor amended the state’s “stay-at-home” order to open restaurants and nonessential retail and big-box stores to operate at 50% capacity. The Mall of America is open for business. At the same time, however, the governor chose to keep in place the order limiting religious assemblies to 10 people, even in the cavernous Cathedral of St. Paul. The bishops made repeated proposals to the governor for reopening churches, but they were not accepted.  ….

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