From Rorate Caeli – What does a Catholic bishop do when government orders the end of gatherings in times of Coronavirus? This:
Northern Italy is in a state of semi-lockdown due to the spread of the current most dangerous strain of the Coronavirus, as large public gatherings have been forbidden for several days in most of the regions — including Lombardy, Veneto, Liguria, Piedmont, CEmilia-Romagna.
Since some of the local “ordinanze” (decrees) include the prohibition of “religious” gatherings, and getting ahead of the public authorities, several dioceses in the region have suspended religious activities.
Now, as the very high death toll in a few days (over 50 so far, in only a week) in the Islamic Shia center of Qom, in Iran, has shown, religious gatherings can indeed lead to widespread infection and high mortality rates. But what if there is a way to keep the worship of God while complying with public demands to avoid contagion?
The Bishop of Pavia, in Lombardy, Corrado Sanguineti, shows that is possible. His pastoral letter on the matter is a lesson in common sense, and in particular we call your attention to this paragraph:
While unfortunately having to suspend the celebration of the Holy Masses until further notice, I order that Churches remain open, for the personal prayer of the faithful, and I ask that, even on weekdays, priests celebrate daily Mass, behind closed doors, praying in the name of the whole community, signaling with the sound of the bells that the Eucharist is being offered for the living and the dead: even if we cannot celebrate publicly, the liturgical prayer must not fail, which for us priests is a daily appointment of life and is an inexhaustible source of grace for all the people of God. Priests must keep in touch with the faithful, and must not fail to continue their presence among the sick and the elderly in homes and welcoming structures.
Of course, private daily Masses “without the people” are a traditional practice, and well known to Traditional Catholics, but not very common among large numbers of clergy raised with the Novus Ordo, so the reminder is necessary. Ends
There’s another very interesting article on the subject of the Coronavirus over at Rorate Caeli – well worth reading right through, but for now, here’s an extract from the close of the piece, where the author links the miracle of the Archangel St Michael in ending that plague with the apparition of the same Archangel at Fatima…
Pope Gregory I was canonized, proclaimed Doctor of the Church and went down in history known as the “Great”. After his death the Romans began calling the Hadrian Mausoleum “Castel Sant’Angelo” and, in remembrance of the miracle, placed at the top of the castle, the statue of St. Michael, head of the heavenly militia, in the act of sheathing his sword. Still today in the Capitoline Museum a circular stone with foot-prints is kept, which according to tradition, had been left by the Archangel when he stood to declare the end of the plague. Also Cardinal Cesare Baronio (1538-1697), considered one of the greatest historians of the Church for the rigor of his research, confirms the apparition of the Angel on top of the castle. (Odorico Ranaldi, Annali ecclesiastici tratti da quelli del cardinal Baronio, anno 590, Appresso Vitale Mascardi, Roma 1643, pp. 175-176).
We note only that if the Angel, thanks to the appeal of St. Gregory, sheathed his sword, it means that it had been first drawn to punish the sins of the Roman people. The Angels in fact are the executors of divine punishments on people, as the dramatic vision of the Third Secret of Fatima reminds us, by calling us to repentance: “an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’”
Is the spread of the Coronavirus related in some way to the vision of the Third Secret? The future will tell us. However the appeal to penance remains of prime urgency for our age and the prime remedy to guarantee our salvation, in time and eternity. The words of St. Gregory the Great must resound again in our hearts: “What will we say of the terrible events of which we are witnesses if not that they are predictions of a future wrath? Think then dearest brothers, with extreme care to that day, correct your lives, change your habits, defeat with all your might the temptations of evil, punish with tears, sins committed” (Omelia prima sui Vangeli, in Il Tempo di Natale nella Roma di Gregorio Magno, Acqua Pia Antica Marcia, Roma 2008, pp. 176-177).
It is these words, not the dream of Amazzonia felix, that today are needed in the Church which appears the way St. Gregory described it in his times: “A very old ship, horrifically gashed; waves and rotted planks getting in everywhere; shaken everyday by a violent tempest, foreshadowing a shipwreck (Registrum I, 4 ad Ioann. episcop. Constantinop.)”. But way back then Divine Providence called forth a helmsman, who, as St. Pius X states: “amid the raging waves was able not only to dock in the harbor, but also secure the ship from future storms” (Enciclica Jucunda sane del 12 marzo 1904). Ends.
So… Is the Catholic response to the Coronavirus simply prayer and penance? Really? Why?