The nutty archbishop rises again in opposition to COVID-19 precautions, this time holding mass indoors for hundreds of congregants, and saying some combination of Proud Boys and Antifa forced him to do so.
Since we’ve entered our 11th month of shelter-in-place, which feels like our 11,000th month of shelter-in-place, it was easy to forget that the annual January anti-abortion march was headed our way Saturday, and you can take a wild guess whether the Walk for Life West Coast crowd blew off mask requirements intended to, you know, preserve human life. But the pro-life marchers had a little pregame warmup mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral, the church known for a certain recurring lighting phenomenon, and its reigning archbishop who performs exorcisms for toppled statues, drenches homeless campers though who know maybe it was an accident, and hates COVID-19 restrictions as much as he hates gay marriage (which: a lot).
Was Saturday’s mass fully compliant with current DPH restrictions, including the ban on indoor gathering? KGO gives us a look below.
HUNDREDS of people inside St. Mary’s Cathedral for mass today, despite #COVID19 indoor worship ban. SF Archbishop says a poss. security threat from nearby protest rally prompted the move inside. @DionLimTV pic.twitter.com/hImPbHl049— Cornell Barnard (@CornellBarnard) January 24, 2021
In its report on hundreds of worshipers gathering for indoor mass, KGO spoke with the church’s rather notorious archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. “We had every plan, every intention to hold mass outdoors," he told the station. “So it was a trade-off between extra step of caution versus keeping people safe because of the threat of violence.”
UPDATE: Here's some footage of the police and counter protesters near the SF Chinese consulate sent in by a source ... pic.twitter.com/astwzX6iMO— Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez (@FitzTheReporter) January 24, 2021
The alleged threat of violence came from a rumored Proud Boys rally at the nearby Chinese consulate, which the Examiner describes as “a reported right-wing protest that failed to materialize.” Some 30 counter protesters did show up in probable hopes of mixing it up with the Proud Boys, so something was apparently scheduled, but not much of a legitimate protest ever came together.
"There were no specific threats directed toward the church,” the SFPD said in a statement to KGO. “Our presence was precautionary for the security of all those in the area.”
Archbishop Cordileone, whose public safety bona fides were established in his 2012 drunk-driving arrest, probably reveled in having an (unsanctioned) excuse to burnish his credentials as a pro-public gathering COVID-19 denialist. Add to that he had a slew of maskless out-of-town Catholics to impress, and this was probably a public relations win in his mind. And with restrictions on gatherings being loosened in just a few days, there’s unlikely to be any consequence, or time in the confession booth, for the archbishop.
Image: Steubenville Conferences via Wikimedia Commons