Once again, we are faced with the absolute scandal of Protestant ministers setting the example to Catholic priests and bishops (and pontiff) by putting God first, when Governments designated church-going as “non-essential”.
The above Fireside Chat is a tad longer than usual – it’s almost an hour – but there is plenty of food for thought in there. For the most part, this conversation is interesting for one reason above all others: that this very pleasant minister reveals that he (with his wife’s agreement) was ready to sacrifice absolutely everything in order to do the right thing, refusing to bow (or bend the knee) to illicit Government control over religious freedom. I was impressed by that. Are you?
I was also scandalised, though, because there is just no similar example (that I know of – maybe you can correct me on this) among the Catholic clergy, whether in the USA or here in the UK. What about you? Are YOU similarly scandalised? After all, this minister has a family to support – priests are free of such responsibility precisely in order to leave them free to give up everything for Christ and the saving of souls. How come they appear to be so much more worldly, and self-interested, than the above brave minister? Is this worldliness a disease for which there is a cure, or are the Catholic clergy right to focus on “staying safe” – i.e. steering clear of trouble with the authorities?
I know that there were priests offering “secret” Masses/Confessions and we are grateful for those compassionate priests, but is that good enough? Isn’t it time that Catholic priests remove the social distancing tape from their pews, and remove the limit on the number of people who may attend Mass and Benediction (if the latter is ever re-introduced)? In-Box Confessions? The lot? If it’s that important to you, keep the hand sanitizer at the door, but otherwise, please find the courage to get back to normal – the old normal. And take whatever consequences may come.