Washington State Catholic Conference bishops say "we will wait" rather than reopen immediately as President Donald Trump has urged state governors to do.
"We want to let you know the public celebration of Mass was suspended, not out of fear, but out of our deepest respect for human life and health," reads a statement signed by several bishops in a "unified response" and posted on Twitter.
In his own guidance Friday, the president urged governors "do the right thing" and reopen houses of worship immediately, warning: "If they don't do it, I will override the governors. America, we need more prayer, not less."
The Washington state bishops said they are not ready.
"While we share the desire to bring people back to Mass as quickly as possible, we will wait to schedule our public worship when it is safe and prepared to do so," the bishops' statement said.
It added the state conference follows guidance from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Thomistic Institute, along with public health experts, and is working to develop a plan with Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
"Parishes must create an environment that is not only safe, but is liturgically reverent," the statement said, adding there is no date yet established for Mass gatherings resuming in the state.
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