A D.C. priest who was heavily critical of closures due to the coronavirus pandemic has had to close his church for two weeks after contracting the virus. As a result of him testing positive for the virus, NBC Washington reports that health officials in D.C. have told anyone who attended the church recently to quarantine for two weeks.

59-year-old Monsignor Charles Pope of the Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Roman Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. was the priest who contracted the virus, the D.C. Health Department confirmed. Pope downplayed the risks of COVID-19, and suggested that anyone who didn't come to the church due to concerns regarding the virus weren't good Catholics.

As NBC reports, he said that parishioners should "resolve to never again allow a governor or mayor to dictate whether, when or how we may give the sacraments." He added, "I'm just saddened at how fear has so gripped the entire world." Anyone who visited the church on July 25-27 has been advised to quarantine while the church remains closed.

"I deeply regret any inconvenience that i have caused you. I am getting better," he said in a video he shared from the hospital. So far local health officials have said that multiple people who visited the church have tested positive, but the exact number remains unclear. On the church's official website, the staff claim that the premises is currently being professionally cleaned and sanitized.

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