The Rev. Robert Sirico, president of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, told "Your World" Friday that churches have been prepared to combat coronavirus and have been planning how to mitigate the risks as parishioners slowly begin returning to the pews.
"[There] are two levels of authority," Sirico, a pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Grand Rapids, Mich., explained to host Neil Cavuto. "The first and most serious for me is my bishop. Our bishop has said we will open next week [while] the bishops of Minnesota have defied their governor and are opening the churches, as far as I understand, this weekend," he said.
Sirico said that even prior to Friday's release by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of guidelines for religious institutions, churches were taking actions to safeguard their buildings and parishioners.
Sirico said churches in his area will be instituting "special risk masses" for those in categories susceptible to COVID-19. They will also suspend the use of hymnals and take other protective precautions when it comes to celebrating the Eucharist.
"All those kinds of things that are being recommended are already in place," he said. "I mean, it's not as if our churches are not social organizations who have their own set of concerns and knowledge of what's going on.
"Not that I've ever been in a tattoo parlor, but I have a suspicion that what goes on in my church is a lot less intimate than [in] a tattoo parlor."