HomeInternationalWashington archbishop whose archdiocese sued over pandemic restrictions tests positive for COVID-19

Washington archbishop whose archdiocese sued over pandemic restrictions tests positive for COVID-19

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misstated the date of the D.C. archdiocese’s lawsuit over COVID-19 restrictions. 

The archbishop of The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington announced on Friday that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

“This morning, as part of my regular pandemic routine, I took a rapid antigen test given by a lab-technician, and I tested positive for COVID-19,” Cardinal Wilton Gregory said in a statement.

Gregory added that he was fully vaccinated and boosted and that as of Friday he was experiencing no symptoms.

As the cardinal quarantines at home, he has canceled his participation in Masses celebrating the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on Jan. 1 and the Solemnity of the Epiphany on Jan. 2. He added that he would miss a spiritual retreat for bishops and would plan to work remotely as needed.

“As the omicron variant of Covid sweeps through our area, I ask that you please continue to be extremely cautious: using appropriate facemasks, getting vaccinated and boosted, and following the guidance of our public health officials,” his statement also said, adding that “we must not lose hope or our commitment to continued safety precautions and kindness for our loved ones and neighbors.”

In December 2020, D.C.’s archdiocese sued the city over COVID-19 restrictions, alleging the measures went beyond what public safety required.

Specifically, the archdiocese said that limitations on church attendance were a violation of people’s First Amendment rights.

The lawsuit argued that the 50-person limit for all houses of worship was “arbitrary” and “discriminatory,” especially considering some of the Catholic parishes in D.C. can accommodate hundreds of people.

“The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception — the largest Catholic Church in the United States — could accommodate thousands of worshippers. Indeed, the Statue of Liberty would fit inside with room to spare,” the lawsuit stated. “Yet under the Mayor’s orders, all of these churches are subject to the same cap of 50 people.”

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