Boston Archdiocese Mandates Masks in Churches Despite Widespread Vaccinations

Boston Archdiocese Mandates Masks in Churches Despite Widespread Vaccinations

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has mandated the wearing of masks for all church services, including weddings and funerals, despite a vaccination rate of nearly 90 percent.

The new mandate went into effect Saturday and will remain in force until January 17 in anticipation of greater church attendance during the Christmas holidays.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts is currently experiencing fewer coronavirus-related deaths and hospitalizations than it did during the same period of 2020. There are currently 1,261 people hospitalized with the coronavirus in the state as opposed to 1,885 this same time last year.

At this time last year, Massachusetts was averaging just over 50 coronavirus-related deaths per day, whereas today that number is 33, a drop of 35 percent, Johns Hopkins revealed.

A Catholic church staff disinfects seats during a break in an Easter Sunday mass service on April 04, 2021 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo by Annice Lyn/Getty Images)

Nearly three quarters (74.29 percent) of the population of Massachusetts is fully vaccinated and some 87 percent have received at least one vaccine dose.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of the Boston Archdiocese, said that he was instituting the mandate in light of a rise in coronavirus infections.

“With the recognition of recent increases of COVID-19, we believe this policy will provide an important and enhanced level of safety during the upcoming Christmas season Masses,” O’Malley said in a statement.

“We continue to encourage all who are eligible to get vaccinated,” he said. “With care and concern for our parishioners and the wider community, we hold it important to make extra efforts to limit the exposure and transmission of this deadly virus.”

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Thomas D. Williams Ph.D.