Brooklyn Diocese Asks Supreme Court to Intervene and Open Churches

St. Francis of Assisi school in Astoria
NBC New York

The Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn is seeking relief from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's micro-cluster strategy at the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing his pandemic restrictions unfairly target houses of worship.

The diocese, in an emergency application, said Cuomo's COVID-19 rules violated the 1st Amendment's guarantee of free exercise of religion.

At issue are the "red zones" and "orange zones" in the micro-cluster strategy, which restrict attendance at churches (among other rules).

The rules "effectively shutter all of the Diocese’s churches in those zones," it said in the filing, singling out houses of worship but not secular businesses.

"Absent relief on an as-applied basis, thousands of the Diocese’s parishioners in Brooklyn and Queens will continue to be deprived of their core Free Exercise rights on a daily basis until the matter is resolved in the lower courts—even though it is undisputed that the Diocese has complied with all prior public health regulations and operated safely without any COVID-19 spread since being permitted to reopen several months ago," the church added.

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