Catholic Diocese of Madison calls on Dane County officials to change 50-person limit for mass


MADISON, Wis. — The Catholic Diocese of Madison has called on Dane County officials to take action with the limitations for places of worship set in place as part of the county’s Forward Dane plan.

Attorneys who are representing the Diocese sent a letter to Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and Public Health Madison & Dane County Director Janel Heinrich, stating that the Forward Dane plan’s 50-person limit for mass is “discriminatory.”

Dane County’s reopening plan originally listed places of worship as an essential service, meaning churches could reopen at a 25% limited capacity. An emergency order issued on May 22 would later limit places of worship to 50 people or less.

“This unequal and unfair treatment violates the Church’s cherished constitutional freedoms and, more importantly, hobbles unconscionably its pastoral mission,” the letter said.

Attorneys compared the capacity limit to gyms and grocery stores, establishments which can have more than 50 people.

The Diocese said it has plans in place to ensure their places of worship are both clean and in line with social distancing.