For those looking for a sign from a "higher authority" on whether or not wearing a mask during the current COVID-19 pandemic is a good idea or not may have just gotten that sign. Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel has penned an open letter to Acadiana's Catholic community urging that everyone wear masks while in public, including while attending Mass.

Here's the context of the Bishop's letter as reported by KLFY Television.

The last week has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people testing positive for Covid-19.  The Acadiana area, which includes the Diocese of Lafayette, is among the highest areas in the State of Louisiana.

I wish to remind all the Faithful of the Diocese that we are still in Phase II of the guidelines for reopening set forth by the State of Louisiana and the Center for Disease Control.  Measures to prevent the spread of the virus remain the same: Good hygiene, especially frequent hand washing, staying home if you experience any symptoms, social distancing of six feet, and wearing a mask when in public gatherings.

When we gather for Mass, Funerals, Weddings, etc., we are in a public gathering.  While not mandated by the State of Louisiana yet, I join with my fellow Bishops in Louisiana to strongly urge everyone to wear a mask in Church.  This is protection for you and those around you.

Infection rates have been spiking in younger adults.  While they may not feel sick, they are nevertheless carriers.  Many complain that wearing a mask is uncomfortable and bothersome.  The temporary inconvenience is worth bearing to protect ones’ own health and those of others.

We don’t need a law or mandate to tell us of our Christian calling to Charity and care for the well-being of our neighbor.  I, therefore, appeal to everyone to wear a mask in public including during Church gatherings.  All are still dispensed from the obligation of Sunday Mass, but if you attend please wear a mask.

Many community leaders have gone on record in support of the idea of wearing masks in public, in fact, many communities such as New Orleans and now Shreveport are making masks mandatory.

The idea is certainly not without opposition. Those who oppose the idea cite claims that the wearing of masks doesn't stop the spread of COVID-19 and they are uncomfortable and make breathing difficult.


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