To Our Bishops and Priests
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Forgive this old man BUT:
Please stop fanning the flames of natural fear.
Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash
- Instead, stoke up the furnaces of supernatural faith and trust in God.
Be men of courage and faith.
Stand up for God and not grovel at the feet of civil authority awaiting their permission (which you don't need) for you to do what God commands.
Of course, all of us must use common sense. Stay out of public areas and Churches if you are not feeling well or evidence any symptoms of illness. There is, and never has been, any real authority for, or reason to, hold hands while praying the Our Father, exchange a physical sign of peace, or offer communicants the precious Body and Blood from a chalice at every Sunday Mass. These practices are unnecessary and should be permanently abandoned.
In these challenging times, stop placing your faith solely in hand sanitizer, disinfecting sprays, masks, and the confusing, inconsistent and oft-times unreliable recommendations made by some members of the secular scientific community.
Instead, give greater weight to, and rely on, the healing and protective power of the Church's sacramentals, powerful spiritual weapons - holy water, incense, prayers of exorcism and healing, and Eucharistic processions.
We are in the midst of a great spiritual battle and only a fool would abandon the spiritual tools God has armed us with.
Incense the body of the Church before and after every Mass - far more powerful than any sanitizing solution you might choose to use.
Sprinkle holy water on every soul as they enter and leave the Church building - a mighty antidote to sickness.
Consider processing slowly and reverently around the Church with the Blessed Sacrament prior to the commencement of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, asking God to protect those in attendance from all harm and illnesses, believing, in faith, that He will do so.
Your sheep hunger to return to Mass and Holy Communion - the real, sacred Mass, not a condensed, abbreviated and expedited version. Only the Holy Father can regulate the sacred Liturgy...no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority." (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 22,)
Don't cut out one syllable or prescribed movement from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.
Do not eliminate a single prayer or hymn.
Abandon the registration 'lottery' system that has been established to see who can attend Mass.
Reduce the number of attendees at each Mass (if you absolutely feel that you must) but to a reasonable (not arbitrary) number which the Church, not Caesar, determines. BUT then offer as many Masses as will be necessary to accommodate all those who wish to attend Mass and receive Holy Communion. Isn't that why you became a priest?
Never (no matter how well-intentioned you may be) exclude any specific group from coming to Mass.
Please do not distribute the Body of Christ with tongs, as if our omnipotent Lord would ever allow your hands and His Body and Blood to be the conduit for the spread of disease.
Our priests and deacons, no matter their age, so long as they are not suffering from illness, must set an example of courage and faith by never declining their obligation to distribute Holy Communion to the faithful.
Please don't direct people to leave the Church immediately after receiving Communion without providing them an adequate time for prayerful reflection and thanksgiving.
Call your people to a time of prayer, fasting, and interior and exterior mortifications not to an indeterminate sentence of shaking in human fear while hiding in their homes.
If you have been giving more weight to the advice of civil lawyers and insurance company underwriters who have little or no concern for the salvation of the souls God has placed under your care than to your priestly duties, stop listening to them.
Through your priestly actions, give our God and your sheep, visible, tangible proof that it is in Him Whom you place your trust and Whom you believe is really and substantially present in our Churches and in the Sacred Host that you and we consume.
Any prolonged period of fear, lack of trust and the absence of public Masses is a grave and grotesque insult to our Almighty God and must end.
I recognize that my comments will not be well-received by everyone. They were not written in haste or with any animus towards anyone. They are directed to no particular bishop or priest but rather to all bishops and priests who have been placed in very difficult positions by events outside of their control. Each and every one of them deserve our prayerful support. And each and every one of them must put their trust in God. This is not an attack, but rather a heartfelt challenge for our bishops and priests to be our spiritual shepherds and not assistant public health officials.
These few words (and much more) need to be shared, as painful as it is to do so and no matter the consequences that will flow from speaking the Truth.
My blog where I promote zeal for the salvation of souls, awe and amazement for the Holy Eucharist and Eucharistic Adoration, and fidelity to the Truths of our Catholic Faith.
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