Essay: Why do restrictions on public worship cause “irreparable harm”?

My latest essay for the Canopy Forum elaborates upon two points raised by the U.S. Supreme Court in Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo (2020):

  1. that New York’s COVID restrictions on religious attendance would cause “irreparable injury” to Catholics, and
  2. that relaxing the restrictions “would not harm the public interest.”

The Court doesn’t explain the theology behind the first claim. And it doesn’t go beyond harm for the second. (What about virtue, for instance?) My essay attempts to fill these gaps with insights from the Catholic tradition.

In a well-ordered political life, individuals belong to both church and state. This dual citizenship sparks tension between both spheres. Yet both are necessary for the imperfect beatitude of politics and for the perfect beatitude promised by revelation.

A Catholic reflection on Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo

Published by Edward A. David

Responsible business. Law and religion. Ethics in public life.

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