A Catholic parishioner in the Nelson diocese of British Columbia was told by his Priest and Bishop that he should not attend Mass without a mask on.
The province of British Columbia does not have a rule mandating the wearing of face masks in places of worship, and the Nelson diocese does not have an official policy on masks.
LifeSite interviewed the parishioner about the incident:
“It started with our parish priest telling us to wear a mask, that it’s mandatory,” the man, who wishes to remain unnamed for fear of reprisal, told LifeSiteNews in a telephone interview. “So I looked up the bishop’s letter, and when I read the letter it said to make exceptions for people who can’t wear masks,” he told LifeSite.
“So I just continued going to Mass (without wearing a mask) and the parish priest got a little more mean about the way he was going about it. He included us in homilies about how we weren’t being obedient to the government by not wearing masks, and he also said we were not raising our children properly to obey Caesar,” he said.
The Catholic social belief in subsidiarity teaches to look first to local authorities to tackle local issues before moving up the chain of command.
Seeking further assistance, the parishioner got in contact with local Bishop Gregory J. Bittman for help. But the Bishop agreed with the Priest about the mandatory masks, encouraging the parishioner to abide by the policy.
When he pointed out that the bishop’s own directive was to “make allowances for those who come to Mass or prayer and cannot wear a mask,” Bittman told him that he was going to amend that. “He said ‘You have to wear a mask, because COVID cases are going up in B.C.’”
The man says that while he objects to the mandate, he will continue to attend Mass whenever possible: “I’ve got to pick and choose here.”