A Roman Catholic priest who publicly questioned whether coronavirus restrictions have gone too far has been diagnosed with COVID-19, prompting local health officials in Washington, D.C., to instruct some parishioners to quarantine.
Monsignor Charles Pope, of Holy Comforter St. Cyprian Catholic Church, was diagnosed with COVID-19 on July 27, the church said in a statement last week. As of Saturday, Pope was reported to be recovering and self-isolating with fellow priests and a seminarian at his rectory.
The priest insisted in a YouTube video Saturday that he had followed all the protocols required of him during services, such as wearing a mask and using alcohol to sanitize his hands. He said he’s not sure how he contracted the coronavirus.
He continued to voice skepticism about the extent to which normal life has been disrupted to try to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Somewhere along the lines, we have to accept the fact that we live in a world that is risky,” Pope said in the video. “We can take necessary and prudent precautions, but we’ll never completely be able to prevent ourselves from catching a disease, even one that will eventually kill us. We’re all headed eventually for the tomb.”
The priest added that he’s “very sorry for the inconvenience” that his illness has caused to his parishioners. He said he’s upset that the church has to temporarily shutter as a result of his diagnosis.
“That causes me the greatest pain,” he said.
Pope did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.
The District of Columbia’s health department director, Dr. LaQuandra S. Nesbitt, said in a Friday letter that parishioners who received communion at the church during certain services from July 25 to July 27 were exposed to the virus and should self-isolate for 14 days.
“DC Health is continuing to work with church leadership to ensure that the guidance and best practices are followed to minimize the risk of COVID-19 among...