Reopening of Davenport Diocese Guided by "Faith and Reason"
Thousands of Catholics in southeastern Iowa are going to have to wait a while longer for the re-opening of their churches and public celebration of Mass. The churches opened for private prayer this week, but not yet for any larger events.
The Bishop of the Davenport Diocese, Thomas Zinkula, says he's taking a careful approach to re-opening, in several phases, and guided by "faith and reason."
"What I've been saying is that our process will be reasonable, responsible, and gradual. And so we're watching what's going on, paying close attention to the Iowa Department of Public Health data - we're looking at the indicators - the number of new COVID cases, deaths, hospitalizations - all those things."
The Davenport Diocese includes 77 parishes, and serves about 100,000 Catholics.
Once the data show a couple of weeks of improvement he will allow public Masses to resume, but with restrictions - including physical distancing, wearing masks, and without singing.
Bishop Zinkula calls this a balancing act.
"For Catholics the Eucharist is the source and summit of our Christian lives, so it's a huge thing for us. But we're also pro-life so we need to balance our concern for the health and life of ourselves and others, and be concerned about the common good."
And after more weeks of declining numbers, his phase three will relax some of the restrictions.
He says reports from other dioceses across the country where churches have reopened show people are being cautious and not rushing back to church.