My diocese is requiring us to wear masks at Mass and pull them down to receive Communion. This means touching your face at least twice! Do we really have to do this?
Ah, yes. We are all thoroughly sick of masks already, aren't we? :)
You are right about the inefficiency of masks protecting you against the virus, especially when you are touching your face to adjust them at Communion time.
However, let's think about this from the point of the view of your church.
While masks have proven to do very little to protect you from catching the virus, they are at least somewhat effective in containing the spread of any aerosol droplets coming from the wearer. Naturally no one who is ill should be coming to Mass at this time. But you could be carrying the virus and not know it. Therefore you will be helping reduce any likelihood that you might spread the virus unknowingly if you wear a mask.
So for now, we recommend that you "render unto Caesar" and offer this up for the intention of the liberty and exaltation of Holy Mother Church...
Are there chapters in other countries?
Would you consider having one in other countires?
So far we have limited our scope to the United States, due to the fact that 1) we live here; and 2) the US alone has 197 Dioceses to monitor, which is a lot of work.
However, our recommendations regarding Prayer Rallies and other ways of respectfully voicing dissent are based on the Civil Liberties enshrined in the US Constitution. It is complicated to determine what is permissible under the current circumstances, but we have confidence in our Judicial system to uphold our rights, as long as we are careful to observe proper protocols for social distancing, etc.
While we are happy to help be a resource in the fight to open churches worldwide, there may be serious consequences that are beyond our ability to predict. We could not in good conscience suggest doing things that may be illegal in your country.
We welcome any information our readers may have on this subject, and if it makes sense to add other countries to our forum, we will be happy to do this.
Can you help us negotiate with the authorities in our area? They are overstepping their authority and this is not right!
We wish we could, but unfortunately we are not in a position to help you with this. We are a group of laypeople who have been trying to help Catholics fight to restore the Mass and the Sacraments. We do not have a legal team to help anyone negotiate the various difficulties you may experience in your state or diocese.
If you have a legitimate legal complaint, we recommend that you speak with a law firm that specializes in this field, such as the Thomas More Society.
That being said, having spoken with an attorney from the TMS, please bear the following in mind:
1. There are so many violations of our Civil Liberties and Religious Freedoms taking place right now, that they are inundated with requests.
2. Protestant churches are bringing successful lawsuits against government authorities because there is nothing hindering them from addressing the main issue, which is the overreach of government authority.
Unfortunately, the government did not shut down our Catholic churches.
The Bishops did that, and we have no legal recourse against this fact, because it was within their authority to do so. So there is no one we can sue, and no court that can grant us relief. We can only appeal to our Bishops to reopen our churches.
To this end, petition after petition has been circulated, and people have flooded Diocesan Chanceries with letters. We should continue doing this, but petitions and letters are easier to ignore than 200 people standing outside the Cathedral.
This is why we are trying to motivate Catholics everywhere to rise up and go out into the public square and make their voices heard. There are 400 people allowed inside my local Costco. There is no reason why people cannot gather outside their church or Cathedral, with social distancing, to pray for a quick and sensible solution to this problem.
The "Diocese Information" page says "DO NOT travel outside your existing Diocese or Parish." Why?
Sometimes, due to geography or other reasons, it happens that people become registered members of parishes outside the established territory of their home parish or diocese. If this is the case for you, then you can disregard this warning.
The reason we were urged to add this warning is that you may be living in a diocese where Public Masses have been restored, but the congregation size is limited to a percentage of the seating capacity of your church. In many parishes, this means you may have to sign up in advance to attend Mass at a specific time.
If people from the Diocese next door are not yet allowed to attend Public Masses, and they decide to show up at your church, that's going to cause problems for everyone, isn't it? So please don't do this. We know everyone is anxious to return to Mass. But we need to have patience.