'We should follow science on this,' Pelosi disagrees with Archbishop on easing COVID-19 restrictions

"I believe that science is an answer to our prayers," Pelosi said in response to her Archbishop in San Francisco. "It is a creation of God and one that is an answer to our prayers."

Updated: September 18, 2020 - 2:14pm

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she recently received communion at church among a small group of Catholic parishioners but disagrees with San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone's call for governments to "Free the Mass" during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cordileone recently argued that COVID-19 regulations should not be "so restrictive as to effectively ban public worship" and urged Catholics not to be "silent any longer." He has called for local public demonstrations to "Free the Mass."

Pelosi, who represents San Francisco in the House, was asked Friday for her reaction to Cordileone's stance on the issue and whether she thinks churches in San Francisco should be allowed to reopen with precautions.

"I have been to church in San Francisco recently, and I did receive communion. Just so you know what it was though. We had to sign up, and they only had two places left. So fortunately, I got in under the wire to go. And when we got there, the church maybe holds 250 people. There were probably 12 people here, there, very, very, very spaced. But that was it, no more would be allowed, so again, obeying the social distancing," she said during a Capitol Hill press conference.

"We did receive communion, and the priest washed his hands before he gave us communion. I took it in my hand. I miss going to church regularly. Of course, we have our virtual mass here, many masses in D.C. but all the other places. With all due respect to my archbishop, I think we should follow science on this," she added.

Pelosi, first elected to the House in 1987, said that "faith and science sometimes" run "counter to each other" in society.

"Around here, people say to me, 'You're a person of faith; why do you believe in science?' And I say, 'I believe that science is an answer to our prayers. It is a creation of God and one that is an answer to our prayers. So with all due respect to the archbishop, we have some areas of agreement and some areas of disagreement," she said. 

"So I don't know if he was speaking as our pastor or as a lobbyist advocate. But whatever it is, I'm sure that he must have meant if it is scientifically safe — rather than jeopardizing people's health — if they want to go to church," Pelosi concluded.

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