California priest sues Gov. Newsom, other officials alleging coronavirus restrictions violated religious liberties

Cleric claims social distancing, face-covering mandate precludes and radically interferes with Catholic worship

A Roman Catholic priest based in Southern California filed a lawsuit against Gov. Gavin Newsom and nearly 20 other state and local officials, alleging that coronavirus restrictions on places of worship are unconstitutional and a violation of religious rights.

In court papers filed Sept. 29 in Kern County Superior Court, Father Trevor Burfitt, argued public health guidelines that curbed religious activities are “no longer warranted” and “causing far more harm than good.”

This 200 year old catholic church is one of the landmarks of Silicon Valley.

This 200 year old catholic church is one of the landmarks of Silicon Valley. (San Jose California Saint Joseph Cathedral)

Burfitt, who oversees mission churches in Kern, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Los Angeles counties, said the social distancing requirements preclude “proper conduct of Catholic worship.” He also alleged that the face-covering mandate “radically interferes with Catholic worship” and “irrationally threatens individual health.”

Newsom's office did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.

SF ARCHBISHOP CALLS COVID CHURCH RULES A ‘MOCKERY’ AT PROTEST

The lawsuit is the latest in many filed this year against Newsom. In July, three Northern California churches sued the governor seeking to overturn his ban on singing during religious services.

And in August, Pastor John MacArthur decried what he called Newsom’s “draconian” restrictions and accused the Democratic governor of overstepping his executive privileges.

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"We feel like we are the most essential reality in the world," MacArthur told Fox News. "Look, Jesus is Lord ... He is the head of our church. Governor Newsom is not the head of the church. [Los Angeles] Mayor [Eric] Garcetti is not the head of the church."