Catholic Church Defied Orders To Hold Wedding, Ten Attendees Later Tested COVID+
Despite San Francisco’s city attorney warning Catholic leaders to stop holding illegal indoor events, leaders at SS Peter and Paul’s Church continued with an indoor wedding in earlyJuly that ultimately led to at least 10 COVID cases, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report.
- After a city official broke up the illegal gathering, the service moved to the church’s basketball court outside without the nearly 100 guests.
- In the days that followed, the bride and groom and eight other guests tested positive for the coronavirus.
- After the service, guests flew back to Nashville, Arizona, and San Diego, potentially spreading the virus to others.
The SF Chronicle reported,
For UC Berkeley infectious disease expert John Swartzberg, hearing about the nuptials “infuriated” him.
“This is the perfect example of why public health officials have been trying to convince people of the problems with getting together in crowds,” he said. “And I would be shocked if we didn’t see this consequence. This should be the poster child in why people should take responsibility.”
- Archdiocese spokesperson Mike Brown told the Chronicle that they are unable to monitor all 89 of their parishes. However, he said he was sure those arrangements were not made with the approval of the archdiocese.
- The bride’s father sent notices to guests explaining how social distancing would be enforced and certain precautions that would be taken to limit spread. However, on the night before the wedding, he informed guests that they must enter secretly through the back of the church.
- Father Sullivan of the church said the plans were not made to avoid detection but rather to stop others from entering the church.
- The church had repeatedly violated city orders by holding illegal indoor services.
- Just days before the July 4 wedding, City Attorney Dennis Herrera wrote in a letter to the archdiocese:
“Upon reviewing the reports of multiple San Francisco parishes holding indoor mass over the last few weeks, (San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón) has concluded that the archdiocese is putting not only its parishioners but the larger community at risk of serious illness and death