Skip to content

We ask you, humbly: don't scroll away.

Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you.

Help Now >

Doctors' evidence finds Mass to be SAFE from COVID-19 when health guidelines are followed

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes
'This encouraging news should inspire confidence that the guidelines in place - based on CDC recommendations - are working to decrease COVID-19 transmission.'

Evidence suggests that church services following public health guidelines do not present a greater risk of spreading the novel coronavirus than other similar activities, doctors said last week.


Saints Fun Facts Coloring Book FREE PDF

Free PDFs: Hail Mary, Our Father, How to Pray the Rosary & more

PDF educational & learning resources for Students, Parents, and Teachers and it’s 100% FREE. How to Pray the Rosary, Hail Mary, Our Father, Saints, Prayers, Coloring Books, Novenas, Espanol and more. All FREE to download and faithful to the Magisterium. Download Now >


By following public health guidelines, these Masses have largely avoided viral spread.

By following public health guidelines, these Masses have largely avoided viral spread.

Highlights

By CNA News
8/25/2020 (1 month ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Mass, COVID, Coronavirus, Safety, Guidelines

CNA Staff (CNA) - Washing hands, social distancing, and mask requirements have helped prevent the spread of COVID-19, even in cases when contagious, pre-symptomatic parishioners took part in church events, three members of the Thomistic Institute Working Group on Infectious Disease Protocols for Sacraments & Pastoral Care concluded.

Doctors Thomas McGovern, Deacon Timothy Flanigan, and Paul Cieslak authored an article for Real Clear Science on Mass attendance and COVID-19 Aug. 19.

"For Catholic churches following [the] guidelines, no outbreaks of COVID-19 have been linked to church attendance, even though we have examples ... of asymptomatic, unknowingly infected individuals attending mass and other parish functions," they wrote. "Their attendance could have led to an outbreak if appropriate precautions were not followed, yet in each case, we found no evidence of viral transmission."

"This encouraging news should inspire confidence that the guidelines in place - based on CDC recommendations - are working to decrease COVID-19 transmission," the doctors continued. "While nothing during a pandemic is risk-free, these guidelines mean that Catholics (and public officials) may be confident that it's reasonably safe to come to Church for Mass and the sacraments."

Over the last 14 weeks, they said, approximately 17,000 parishes have held three or more Masses each weekend, as well as daily services, combining to equal more than 1 million public Masses celebrated across the United States since shelter-in-place orders were lifted.

By following public health guidelines, these Masses have largely avoided viral spread, the authors suggested.

Nick Schoen, an employee of the Archdiocese of Seattle, has initiated a contact-tracing protocol for Mass-goers in the area. Tracking individuals who have participated in church events shortly before testing positive for COVID-19, he found that none of these individuals launched outbreaks at churches.

The authors pointed to at least four examples of infected individuals attending Mass while pre-symptomatic, as well as three anointings of sick individuals by priests in poorly-ventilated rooms. In each case, they said, the sick individuals avoided infecting other people.

"During a July 3 funeral mass (45 attendees, capacity 885), two members of one household notified the parish that they had tested positive for COVID-19 and were infected and pre-symptomatic during the mass," they said.

"During a July 11 wedding (200 attendees, capacity 908), fresh air circulated from multiple open windows with the aid of fans. The following day, an attendee developed symptoms of COVID and on July 13 tested positive. The attendee was almost certainly contagious with pre-symptomatic infection during the wedding."

In April, the Thomistic Institute's Working Group on Infectious Disease Protocols for Sacraments & Pastoral Care released guidelines for reopening churches for Mass and other sacraments. These guidelines were incorporated by numerous dioceses into their protocols for reopening.

We ask you, humbly: don't scroll away.

Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you.

Help Now >

The guidelines were built on a multi-phase proposal for resumption and expansion of public Masses while remaining in conformity with public health guidelines in force in different places.

In "Phase 1" of the proposal, the institute encouraged the "Sunday obligation" to be dispensed, the elderly and those at high risk of COVID-19 to stay home, and those with symptoms to stay home from Mass. The institute also promoted social distancing, masks requirements, and the regular use of hand sanitizer.

The few churches that have reported a COVID-19 outbreak did not follow these regulations and in some cases engaged in discouraged actions such as congregational singing.

In some cases, these isolated incidents have led local government officials to restrict church services more than activities in restaurants, movie theaters, and casinos. This has prompted lawsuits alleging religious discrimination, which have often been successful.

The doctors said in their article that there is no evidence that church services are higher risk than similar activities when guidelines are followed.

"To date, the evidence does not suggest that Church attendance - following the current guidelines - is any more risky than shopping for groceries. And the spiritual good for believers in coming to Church is immeasurably important for their well-being," they said.

"Indeed, for Catholics, the Mass and above all the Eucharist are central to the Christian life. In a time like this, it is even more important that the faithful be able to come to Church and receive Holy Communion."

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.



15% OFF Sterling Silver Sale

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!