Cleansing Fire

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Why Suspending Mass is VERY Bad News

March 25th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Background

On March 16th, 2020, when Rochester Bishop Salvatore Matano announced suspension of all public Masses (and by implication the laity’s receiving Holy Communion as well,) I used the following title for my post: “Very bad news.” https://www.cleansingfire.org/2020/03/very-bad-news/

At the time, I thought those three little words adequately described my reaction to the de facto privatization of Masses, and thought most Catholics who deeply love the Eucharist and Mass would feel the same. Loss of the daily Mass and Eucharist, to me, seemed to be tremendously “bad news.”

To be clear, I didn’t even question what had been my own immediate reaction and titling. So I was surprised when Ben Anderson challenged on a fortitude vs. prudence basis (I don’t know what I said that implied fortitude) and wanted me to defend what I said. (“Make an actual case if you’re going to take a stand like this.”) Our comments exchange can be found here:  https://www.cleansingfire.org/2020/03/very-bad-news/#comments

Since I have a great deal of respect for Ben, his understanding and intelligence, I decided to wait at least a week to consider all aspects before answering. So, it’s time now to reply. And there is enough that I want to say on the subject that I’ve written this new post: “Why suspending Mass is VERY bad news.”  The post is divided into seven sections. What would you add or change? I invite full participation in the discussion. (If it is too much to read at one sitting, why not try one section per day?)

 

Seven Reasons why Suspending Mass is VERY Bad News:

  1. Loss of a Physical and Spiritual Intimacy
  2. Confirming the Church’s Loss of the Moral High Ground
  3. Hiding behind Group Opinion
  4. What happened to “Fear Not”?
  5. What about the Visionaries? Is this the End of the World?
  6. Why we Need the Freedom to Worship Our God as He Intends
  7. What about the Precedent Being Created?

 

1. Loss of a physical and spiritual intimacy

To begin, I am not saying that I carefully laid out all the pro vs. con reasons that privatizing all the Masses is “Very bad news.” Nor do I intend to debate how other people may feel. I cannot judge. But in the first moments in which I read the announcement I felt sick to my stomach, sad, outraged, angry and already starving for the Body of Christ. And it was only a few hours since I had received Communion. I also felt fear. If I barely get by now, receiving Him every day, how can I possibly survive for an unknown period of time without taking and eating the Holy Sacrament each day? How can I stay focused on the great Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the re-presentation of Calvary, the Daily Bread for which we are invited to pray, and for which Jesus bends low to fulfill?

Of course there is a Spiritual Communion, and there are many holy exercises that can help, like Rosary, Stations of the Cross, prayer and Bible reading, but don’t let anyone say it is the SAME. Or that it is ENOUGH. It is not. When the God of the Universe, our Creator Himself, chooses to lie upon my tongue, how can anything else substitute? He is the One who knew what we would need, and gifted Himself to us. Now we are barred from responding to His Initiative. It cannot be clearer that we, God’s children, are being kept from Him:

And they were bringing children to Him, that He might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it He was indignant, and said to them, ‘Let the children come to Me, do not hinder them;  for to such belongs the kingdom of God.’” Mark 10:13-14.   See also Matthew 19:13-14 and Luke 18:15-16.

The Gospels also say we are to become like children: “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Luke 18:17 (See also Mark 10:15).

Perhaps we are never more like children, coming to Jesus, than we are when we open our mouths to receive His own Body from the hands of His priest, whom we call “Father.” Now a great stumbling block has been placed in our path, a wedge which separates us from what we need for life itself. We ask for bread and receive a stone.

So, my first response was more of a personal nature, a deep sense of loss, and then a foreboding. Very bad news, indeed. But there was a second reason — what it says about the Church’s position in today’s world.

 

2. Confirming the Church’s Loss of the Moral High Ground

The world used to beat a path to the doors of the Catholic Church, to hear the opinions and pronouncements based on nearly 2000 years of consistent teaching. When something new came on the scene, non-Catholics and Catholics alike waited, and valued the insight. That is partly why so many other Christians and even Jews listened to Bishop Sheen’s teaching on “Life is Worth Living” every Tuesday night.

When was the moment that the high ground was lowered, beneath even the legalistic model for righteous civil governments? We might debate this matter incessantly, but I personally place it as happening thousands of feet in the air, on a media flight returning from World Youth Day in Brazil, when Pope Francis replied to a question about an active homosexual priest: “Who am I to judge?” It has been all downhill since then! At first many were delighted that a Pope might ‘ease’ the strictness of what had been taught for so many years. But other Christians certainly did not have in mind the worshipping of pagan statues in the Vatican Gardens or in Sacred Space. Slowly, since that ominous event, much more fear than delight has entered into the Vatican smoke. And watch what happens with euthanasia! (Even CV-19 might be an approach to euthanasia, attacking the older population as it does.)

The reason to make this point now is because civil governments have seized the moment to climb onto the higher ground, whatever is left of it, and make the effort to push the Church further down in the ‘world’s’ perception. Church hierarchy has enabled such demeaning of the Bride of Christ through its own misbehavior and sexual abuse perpetrated even at the highest levels. Now every state attorney general can find someone in any diocese to convict for sexual abuse of minors, and further wrest power from the Church through bankruptcy and dissolution of assets.

Thus emboldened, civil governments have gone after the inviolable Seal of Confession in a few court cases, with decisions at times against the Church. Christian bakers have been fined $100,000 for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. We are not far from treating spiritual counseling against homosexual lifestyle and even against transgenderism as being illegal, even felonies. Again, the priests in the confessional will be the target. Feminists also know it is an auspicious time to push for offices to which they have no right, all under the guise of civil rights. And governments at every level insist on funding the murder of the unborn, and even of the just born, ignoring completely matters of conscience based on Catholic Church teaching. So-called Catholics, like Biden and Pelosi, say they are Catholic but flaunt themselves as examples of being Catholic in spite of their obvious sins against the teachings of Christ’s Church. Supposed Catholics present their many sins as political rather than religious issues. Before there was the sexual abuse scandal, there was the utter failure of the Church to speak clearly and profoundly against abortion, and to excommunicate those who cause pubic scandal by their support of abortion. By 1973, the Church had already given up making a satisfactory moral effort to save innocent life. The worst of Vatican II was also exerting its influence.

The Catholic Church of the 1950’s would never have agreed to shut down Mass and Communion; proof is that they did not abandon Mass for the laity during the polio epidemic. That is not to ignore temporary shutting of Churches during the later part of the Spanish flu, in a country shaken over so much death, in and following WWI. The Catholic Church of the 2000’s seems not to have blinked an eye at being ordered by civil government to shut down the Mass and Communion. They appear to be paragons of facilitation and cooperation, except to their own laity. “Be obedient to government” has seemed to become a virtue in the current pandemic. The civil control over the Church is almost complete. No wonder Pope Francis was able to subvert the underground Catholics of China into obedience to the state. But Roman control of civil matters, in the first few centuries after Christ, shows clearly that obedience or lack thereof to civil authorities was an issue for which people died, often very cruelly. Rather than abandon their worship, they hid in the catacombs or became living human torches in the Gardens of Nero.

What are we afraid of in saying “No” to current civil government on matters of worship? This is not exactly a fire department inspection to make sure the extinguishers are current. This is about souls. It is ALL about souls. Look at what LifeSiteNews says about the Governor of Virginia’s using suspension of the Mass to persecute Catholics in particular:

What’s worse is that this is the same governor who has made it a Class 1 misdemeanor to go to Holy Mass.

That’s right — if you go to Mass in Virginia and there are more than 10 people in the church?  That is a maximum 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.

This oppression of people attending Mass is very bad news indeed.

 

3. Hiding behind group opinion

It is reasonable to admire and support the rapidity with which President Trump closed borders to protect America from the coronavirus. He had the power to do so, and took action. However, that should not be extended to any admiration for the rapidity with which the Catholic Church implemented secular demands voluntarily, and without the slightest show of resistance, input, negotiation or dispute from even a small minority of bishops. The bishops of the U.S. find it hard, even in an almost week-long meeting, to decide whether or not to make alterations to the so-called but illusory seamless garment by an unequivocal stance against abortion, as being the most important priority. So how did so many bishops, in about 48 hours, agree on the suspension of Masses in all dioceses in all 50 states, with remarkable uniformity of policy? I just do not “buy it” as being a perfect or even obvious solution.

Dioceses are unique – regarding style of leadership, geography, economics, political environment and so much more! Right in NYS the difference between the diocese of Ogdensburg and the archdiocese of New York would suggest one size does not fit all. Even in the same diocese, churches in a major metropolitan center may coexist with churches in more open and rural areas. But it does not follow that every single church in such a diocese should have the same policy. In some cases, the solution might be just to spread people out more throughout the church to minimize transmitting the virus. In other cases doubling or tripling the number of Masses to be said might be all that is needed to thin the crowd, especially during the week, allowing any of the Masses to satisfy for Sunday Obligation, and of course excusing from such obligation on the grounds of age and relative health. And there would be nothing wrong with insisting attendees at Mass wear face masks to protect others. So many good ideas and accommodations might have been made with dialogue and much more transparency.

The point is s not to get fixated on any particular strategy. The point is that it is just not ‘natural’ for these bishops to virtually agree with each other on such matters, all within 48 hours. It is difficult to believe that bishops didn’t just “Swallow the Kool-Aid” rather than push back against government which has come to dominate them; i.e. to which the bishops have given dominion. In the Ratzinger Report, Josef Cardinal Ratzinger pointed out the weaknesses of the national bishops’ conferences, especially in lack of courage and in watering down positions to the least common denominator.   See: https://www.cleansingfire.org/2018/09/dont-ask-the-usccb-to-act/

Furthermore, the USCCB has become infiltrated itself, and lost credibility, with scandalous connections like Catholic Relief Services and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (do a search for CRS and CCHD on this website.) The bishops have no authority as a group unless they all act together which is, in itself, a very difficult goal to achieve.

Personally, I do not believe that, behind the scenes, all the bishops of the USCCB voted to enact the same policies. I believe the policies were dictated by some ‘fraidy-cat’ committee without adequate thought or planning, or perhaps under undisclosed pressures from government or insurance companies. There seemed to be no preparation, which would have indicated a minimum of pre-planning. For example, hundreds of thousands of consecrated hosts remained in Tabernacles throughout the USA when the Monday, March 16th edict was issued; no planning had been made for how to handle the hosts which the laity were about to be forbidden to receive! Note the accompanying picture of a priest outside the church with a table holding a ciborium. Catholics are approaching one at a time to receive outside of the Church (under a canopy protecting from weather.)

Each bishop by virtue of his office has the ability to decide on his own how to implement policies specific to his diocese. That is his right as a bishop, a successor of the Apostles, not to be strong-armed by committees and other bishops. Those details in a diocese could then have been worked out by those who would know the parishioners the best – their own pastors! There is an irony in conferring upon a candidate for priestly ordination the power to forgive a mortal sin and protect a soul from hell, and the power to bring the Body and Blood of Christ to the altar, but not to decide how to handle these civil matters in his own parish!

The usurpation of real power from the bishops seems obvious, not just by government but also by other bishops, and that is very bad news, indeed.

 

4. What Happened to “Fear Not”?

So, at this point, I have shared some of what was on my mind when I saw the March 16th directive, but there was more. The “Be not afraid” and “Fear not” verses of the bible, seem to taunt church leadership which seems to be running scared. I’m not going to claim to not be fearful; that would be foolish. But there is a matter to be addressed about trusting in the Lord, Who also seems to have been left out of the decision. One quote which came quickly to mind in the ensuing hours of March 16th and 17th was:

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28. (See also Luke 12:4.) There does not seem to be any recognition that the disproportionality between our risk and Christ’s sacrifice has, in its heart, a challenge to pick up our own crosses, even in times of fear and plague. Instead there seems to be an assumption of being safe at all costs. If that is a requirement for pastors, to protect their parishioners from all calls for or expectations of heroic faith, no wonder so many homilies are just ‘feel good sonatas to our own sins.’ No wonder there is a vocations crisis.

Fear is directly linked to a loss of Faith. Five times in the Gospel of Matthew, Christ calls one or more of the Apostles “men of little faith.” That is what Christ said to the Apostles in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee.

“And He said to them, “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”(Matthew 8:26) Christ identified the matter as insufficient Faith. We hear this verse often, but may not always see the incredible humor in the event. What we know of fishing boats in that age is that they were propelled by wind in their sails. When Christ stops the storm there is a “great calm.” A great calm means no propulsion for the boat. The apostles must now break out the oars and do the work themselves. When we don’t have the Faith to put it all in God’s Hands, we get the opportunity to “do it ourselves.” I imagine Christ’s going back to the cushion which Mark (Chapter 4, verses 38-40) tells us about, with a slight smile on His Face, letting them do the work of rowing themselves. Faith or blisters? A clear choice.
There seems to be lack of faith in this coronavirus situation being exhibited a fairly high levels. Whether the fear is for loss of health, or whether it is fear of the government taking over, is not the key issue. If there is ‘little faith’ what will restore it, except for more tests of our faith, restoring the strength of the salt? Weak faith is bad news, indeed.

 

5. What about the Visionaries? Is this the End of the World?

What is a bit unnerving in our times are the voices of multiple visionaries who warn some version of “When the Mass stops, the end is very near.” The idea that the Mass might stop, or morph into a form we don’t recognize, has not been much of a fear for those in our midst who are of ‘longer lifetimes.’ Besides, the Mass ‘stop’? How totally unlikely after two millennia! But, wait, isn’t that exactly what we are seeing since March 16th? Well, to be technical, the Mass didn’t stop; priests are still offering Mass (and probably with great attention in many cases) but the laity have ‘lost’ the Mass and we don’t know for how long or if ever. I wouldn’t parse the wording too much. This is an extraordinary event not seen in our lifetimes, except when government takes over and makes the Mass illegal.

We might wonder, then, what did Christ mean when He said to His Apostles: “… when the Son of Man comes will He find Faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8b) It doesn’t sound like something that might be said if Christ expects to find Faith on earth when He returns, which makes it even more difficult to expect to hold on tightly to the Faith we have, without sacrifice, especially The Daily Sacrifice. And isn’t that what the Israelites missed so much when they went into exile? And so, too, we are now in exile.

So, given we are to suffer through these times, one senses that we must be careful about seeing the loss of the Mass as one more Lenten offering (although the time does fit quite well.) Giving up Mass for Lent is not an admirable sacrifice. What saint was told to give up the Mass in order to deepen his spirituality, with any sense at all of credibility? I don’t know. But surely not many. What we can offer up is the pain of being victimized, not so much by coronavirus or even by the government, but of the pain of having our own Church take the Mass away from us. Then where can we turn for guidance? Most parishes have also ended confession, a horribly risky decision. If these are end times, we need confession more than ever. What priest wants to be responsible for holding back confession and the last rites from one of the souls in his care? To not be able to benefit from what Christ has given us is bad news, very bad news indeed.

 

6. Why We Need the Freedom to Worship Our God as He Intends

The battle between Moses and Pharaoh was about religious freedom for the Israelites, to go into the wilderness “a three days journey” and offer sacrifice. Moses links it also to the fear of plague:

“In Exodus 5:3 we read Moses words to Pharaoh: Then they said, ‘The God of the Hebrews has met with us; let us go, we pray, a three days journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.'”

They could not go where they wanted to go, because the Egyptian government wouldn’t let them, and so too for the government restrictions upon us. Can God intend any less toward us to whom He has given so much for our salvation, than being free to worship Him in the Mass and Eucharist? The Benedictus which is said in the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) each morning mentions something worth our repeating to God in prayer, when we beg deliverance from the current situation:

“He swore to Abraham our father to grant us,

that free from fear, and saved from the hands of our foes,

we might serve Him in holiness and justice

all the days of our life in His presence.”

Regardless of who victimizes us, we still are called to pray to be rescued from this situation. And for our priests to be rescued too, lest through prolonged absence of the laity from Mass hearts harden. God can change it all. I love the quotes from the Old Testament about God’s arm not being “too short” to defend us (sometimes ‘hand’ is used instead of ‘arm.)’

“The LORD answered Moses, ‘Is the LORD’s arm too short? Now you will see whether or not what I say will come true for you.’” (Numbers 11:23)

“Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear.” (Isaiah 59:1)

We might consider whether or not obeying man rather than God will yield an even greater punishment. And that could be very bad news, indeed. God offers His great gift, and we stay away? The pelican tears flesh from its breast to feed the young, and we don’t open our mouths? Are we merely the victims of a misguided church policy, or of an opportunistic government? Or both? Will sham obedience increase our victimization even more?  This dilemma is very bad news, indeed.

 

7. What about the Precedent being Created?

The restrictions associated with Catholic Life in this crisis risk becoming the starting point for the next crisis. The message sent to the secular governing powers is likely to be surprise — surprise at how easy it was to stop public Masses and Communion, for a long and unidentified period of time, and how cooperative the bishops were, more even than the Chinese Underground clergy ordered by the Vatican. We should remember that the precedent being created also has the potential to hurt souls in the future, who are now more likely to be forced to obey civil restrictions already implicitly permitted by the Church.

But this is enough for now. Surely there is enough here to qualify as “very bad news?”

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7 Responses to “Why Suspending Mass is VERY Bad News”

  1. avatar christian says:

    Someone I know who works at one of the local healthcare systems reported to me that priests are not allowed to visit patients in the hospital to give the anointing of the sick and last rites to the dying.

    So this situation is dire when family members and significant others are not allowed to visit their loved ones in the hospital, so the patient is not allowed the comfort of family/friends, and not allowed the spiritual comfort and reassurance of the church’s anointing and absolution in their hour of need.

    There was a recent story in the news of one New York City Medical Resident’s overwhelming heartbreak at the huge number of people who die alone in the hospital due to the COVID-19 restriction of no visitors.

    I heard recently from a nurse of a woman who had to give birth without the presence of her husband, because he wasn’t allowed to be with her.

    Although I miss attending Mass in church with other parishioners and receiving the Eucharist, and Confession, for me it pales in comparison to the number of people hospitalized who are all alone with the comfort of family or friends and without access to the sacraments, especially when in great peril and facing death.

  2. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Thank you, Christian, for making a most excellent point. We can track the bodily death count, but not the count of lost souls. Just as the government had little time to plan for the virus, so too souls expecting to be able to go to confession before Easter found that would likely not be true this year. Many Churches simply have “NO CONFESSION” signs now, and anyone of us could be quickly moved to a death ward, without even being able to let a priest know. You are also right that if he did know, he very well may be refused admittance. It is a very sad situation; a man becomes a priest to save souls, and I don’t doubt that every loss of final opportunity to reconcile a soul is felt acutely by holy priests.

    We are told to pray for the grace of final perseverance, and I think that is done individually. But I also wonder if we shouldn’t be praying the same for all those souls who will not have the chance to be reconciled. I also wonder if we shouldn’t have a directive against our being ‘incarcerated’ in a hospital before being visited by a priest? Perhaps, even if it delayed treatment and increased physical risk, it would be worth doing as an effort to receive the sacraments we need?

    I do want to call to the attention of those in the CF community the opportunity to go to ‘front porch confession’ in the fresh air, held Monday through Friday, 5:30 to 6:00 PM, with Fr. Peter Van Lieshout at St. Felix Rectory in Clifton Springs, or with Fr. Peter Mottola at St. John the Evangelist Rectory in Spencerport. Please post other opportunities you know of as comments on this post. One final thought, we all have some measure of denial, but it is not a good idea to wait until we are sure we have the virus before going to confession. That adds the sin of putting the priest at greater risk than he needed to be, if we had gone sooner rather than later. Just sayin’

    While the hospitals and civil governments bear a large share of responsibility for the current situation, it is also worth remembering that it was the Church’s decision to sell off Catholic Hospitals (and/or close schools, orphanages and other charitable operations) so they are no longer available to Catholics. The disposition of assets over the years is analagous to burning the furniture for heat, or eating the seed corn.

  3. avatar true faith says:

    As an R.N. on the front lines of this pandemic, I can say that the state government’s decree and the federal government’s decree of closing schools. universities, restaurants, fitness centers, and forbidding the assembling of large groups together ( whether it is for a sporting event, a concert,a conference,or a Mass) is both country wide and world wide, for an important reason. We aren’t missing Mass. We are “attending” Mass live stream. Those of other faiths are also “attending” their services and prayers livestream or by video YouTube in our country and across the entire world. I actually set aside my time on Friday to watch The Stations of the Cross done by Bishop Matano in real time, followed by watching Pope Francis giving the urbi and orbi live from the Vatican. Pope Francis was speaking in front of an empty St. Peter’s Square.

    Italy might have held the exact sentiment as you, Diane Harris, regarding the locking down of their country. They probably found it especially difficult to prohibit faithful Catholics from attending Mass and receiving the sacraments, in one of the most Catholic countries in the world. Italy, after all, has both the Eternal City and Vatican City.

    For this reason,Italy dragged its heels in locking down their country: closing institutions of education, businesses, restaurants, as well as Churches and Mass to the faithful, until it was too late. Italy had the highest number of senior citizens in the world, who were relatively healthy until they caught COVID 19. Their healthcare system was completely overwhelmed. They were running out of isolation areas, appropriate PPE, ventilators, as well as medical and nursing staff. Six physicians died from exposure to COVID 19 while taking care of patients with COVID 19. Their deaths made international news. I’m sure many of these senior citizens attended daily Mass, as long as the churches were open and held Mass. The Italian medical community had to make the difficult decision to withhold ventilators for patients 60 and older, in order to give them to younger patients who needed ventilators. These are the horrific decisions that keep these medical professionals awake at night and cause great emotional distress. Today, Saturday, March 28, 2020, Italian officials have announced their death toll from COVID 19 has surpassed 10,000, about 10% mortality rate of the 92,472 confirmed cases in Italy so far. They admit that they should have lock downed their country sooner.

    There was a young R.N. who died of the COVID 19 virus two days ago in New York City, while caring for patients with COVID 19. Across the country we are seeing both young patients and older patients dying of COVID 19. We have had multiple cases of COVID 19 in our local hospitals and in our nursing homes. Public Health Care officials and government authorities state that we should have lock downed our states sooner. The U.S. seems to be on a rising curve of COVID 19 cases right now. We may not see the curve flattening out for at least several months.

    The COVID 19 virus has actually mutated and it can be spread by droplet infection through coughing and sneezing, by airborne infection if secretions and body fluids are aerosolized by using medication delivered by nebulizers, by suctioning, being on ventilators, or from many medical procedures. It can be spread by touching infected surfaces. The virus can live for 72 hours on hard surfaces and for 24 hours on porous surfaces such as clothing, cardboard, skin, and hair. Any disinfectant used on a hard surface must make the surface wet for minimum of 4 min. to 10 min. Showering frequently and washing clothes is a must.We are using bleach in health care for disinfecting areas and equipment.

    Recently, epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists have said that COVID 19 can be spread by mouth, rectum, or any orifice on the human body,including the nose and eyes. This is why we have to wear head visors which go from our head to our neck, over a N95 mask when screening, triaging, and caring for ANY patient with respiratory symptoms. They don’t have to be running a fever or present with shortness of breath.

    If this new social reality of social distancing is surreal to you, think about how it is affecting healthcare and healthcare workers. Primary Care Offices and most specialist offices are doing virtual screening of patients only. Appointments are cancelled. Dentist practices are closed and others will only see those with true dental emergencies..We are mandated to change into hospital supplied scrubs in order to work (instead of wearing our own uniforms.) We must discard these scrubs into a laundry hamper for industrial laundry, when we leave. We additionally wear isolation gowns,double glove, along with wearing head visor and N95 mask to triage and care for any patient with respiratory symptoms. They are placed in our negative pressure isolation rooms and placed on enhanced precautions. Every staff member who enters that room has to sign the sheet outside of their room and the date they entered. These sheets are kept in case they test positive for COVID19 at any time.

    The frightening reality of this virus is that individuals can be walking around infected with COVID 19 Virus for TWO WEEKS without any symptoms whatsoever. They can infect others before ever developing symptoms, themselves. This is why all patients have to wear a mask and gloves in order to be seen for any reason. This is also the reason why that no visitors, volunteers, or non essential employees are allowed to enter a hospital.

    Health and governmental authorities around the world have studied the deadly 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic which lasted until 1920. Between 50 million to 100 million people died worldwide of the Spanish Flu. Over 500,000 Americans died from the Spanish Flu. Most of these deaths occurred in the first 8 months across the U.S. The curve of infection rose exponentially.Public Health officials and governmental authorities across the United States finally restricted transportation, closed shops, restaurants,theaters,and churches, and banned public gatherings. They enacted social distancing. This was the only way they “flattened the curve” and stopped the spread of the Spanish Flu and deaths from this. They state that these measures saved thousands of lives. St. Louis tried to end its lock down, within two months and realized that it wasn’t long enough because of the surge of cases. They immediately went back on lock down status and social distancing again.
    The Catholic Church survived the closing of its doors from the Spanish Flu 1918 to 1920 They didn’t even have the benefit of on line or streaming Mass. I suspect that the Catholic Faithful spent time in devotions, saying the rosary and meditating on its mysteries.
    I am aware when going into work that we Christian Catholics are equipped through the teachings and sacraments that we have received,to be ambassadors for Christ in areas that many cannot go.

  4. avatar christian says:

    Correction: In my March 28th, 8:47 P.M. post-the last line should have read…”it pales in comparison to the number of people hospitalized who are all alone without the comfort of family or friends and without access to the sacraments, especially when in great peril and facing death.
    I should have included those in nursing homes and other healthcare facilities in the statement above.
    We should all be praying for these people, and we should be praying for each other and ourself in this difficult time. We should also be praying for an end to the COVID-19 virus.

  5. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    I didn’t read this whole article, but I will say regarding the main point… it turns out that I was wrong and you were right, Diane. At this point, it is unconscionable to think that any respectable person, let alone bishop, can reasonably say that only 10 people are allowed at Mass. When I made my initial comments, I never would’ve thought we’d still be at this point months later unless things were so bad that at least 10x more people had died in this country. More than ever before our shepherds have shown their true colors.

    -Ben

  6. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Thanks, Ben. I appreciate your comment. Diane

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