Scots Priest Responds To Minnesota Bishops’ Decision To Re-open Churches…

Editor writes …

We are blessed in Scotland to have a few sound, traditional-leaning priests, including some who offer the traditional Latin Mass, across the Scottish dioceses.  One of these priests has written to the Bishops in Minnesota to thank them for their decision to re-open the churches in their dioceses in defiance of a state order.   Father is willing to have his name published – in fact, he was initially emphatic that I should do so – but I decided to withhold his name for reasons of prudence, not least because lay people who have approached the Scottish Bishops with pleas to re-open the churches, have not exactly received a sympathetic hearing. This from a reliable source: “I’ve heard, via several sources, that anyone who publicly, via social media, e-mail, letter or otherwise, dares to question the actions and decisions of the Scottish Bishops, gets subtly or at times aggressively pressured into keeping quiet. I understand that many hundreds of people have been in touch to express their deep concerns and to ask for an immediate reopening of Churches.
Thus, better not to risk any episcopal retribution just yet. The day is coming, fast enough, when we will all have to be prepared to stand up and be counted, with not even a courtesy nod to human respect.  For now, though, we give thanks that we do have some priests who are doing their best to keep the Faith alive at this trying time, and at least one who is prepared to speak out. Below, Father’s letter to the Bishops in Minnesota…

Letter from Scots Priest… 

Dear Archbishop Bernard and all Bishops in Minnesota,

Thank you, God Bless you, may the Holy Ghost continue to guide you and lead you for the benefit of the Body of Christ in Minnesota, and I believe, the world, for the feeding of the “sheep”, with the Sacraments/return to public celebration, and so again enabling souls to be nourished by the primary means of their salvation, the Sacraments.

Sadly, most of the shepherds have run from the gate with this wolf/fear driven deceit of the world, and gone along with the powers of the world. By doing so they are treating the Catholic Church and its members as an institution rather than the Body of Christ.

Sorry to be critical, but these Bishops have have failed in their duty to declare themselves for Christ in the presence of men, and so look after their flock.

The re-opening of your Catholic churches in the way you are doing is what is needed, is truly for the benefit of your flocks and, I hope and pray the world, and hopefully will bring other Bishops back to the Truth of how they should be shepherding their flocks.

God Bless you all.
Will be keeping you in my daily prayers.
[Name etc] 

Comments invited…  

Are We Morally Bound To Obey Coronavirus Restrictions / Laws? 

Comment:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church on the duty of citizens towards the authorities in civil society:

The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” “We must obey God rather than men”:
When citizens are under the oppression of a public authority which oversteps its competence, they should still not refuse to give or to do what is objectively demanded of them by the common good; but it is legitimate for them to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens against the abuse of this authority within the limits of the natural law and the Law of the Gospel.
  (# 2242)

The question here, therefore, is this:  are the Governments of the UK overstepping their authority by requiring us to accept some very serious restrictions on our personal liberty, in the name of “saving lives” – when by all accounts, the majority of those who become infected with Covid-19 recover from it? A relative of mine believes he had the virus back in January;  he was sure it was simply flu, but because it was the worst-ever flu attack he’d ever experienced, he decided to visit his doctor.  He said the doctor asked him “a strange question” – had he been in China recently!  The answer was “no” and that is where that conversation ended.  This relative – who is very elderly, in his 80s – made a full recovery.  

There is concern, therefore, that perhaps the lockdown restrictions are not only unnecessary (who quarantines the healthy?) but also too stringently enforced. The full force of the law…Really?  People stopped in the street, or pulled over in their car by the police, and asked to explain why they are outside of their home, destination etc.  Do we have to answer? Should we pay any fines imposed?  Is this a conscience issue, or would we be doing wrong to flout the State?  

Faithless Scots Bishops to keep churches closed until AT LEAST 2021…

Correction:  with apologies, the headline here is misleading.  The churches are not to remain “closed” until 2021, but won’t fully reopen until a vaccine or treatment has been found, which the Bishops believe will be at least 2021 – see the article below. Special thanks to commentator Margo, for highlighting this error. 
____________________________________________________

A working group has been set up to deal with the impact coronavirus has had on the Catholic community in Scotland.
 
Parish life for Scotland’s Catholic communities is not expected to return to normal until 2021, according to the church.

The Bishops’ Conference of Scotland has formed a Covid-19 working group to look at how best to meet long-term pastoral needs during the pandemic.

It will aim to ensure the church is prepared for extended measures on the operation of parishes and dioceses.  Activities within parishes are expected to have some form of restriction until next year, the conference said.

Bishop Brian McGee, chairman of the group, said: “After our public masses stopped and our churches closed with almost no warning, the immediate response from our priests and parishioners across Scotland was both impressive and uplifting.

“With great ingenuity and creativity, online masses and devotions were made available throughout the country every day.

“Through this and other action, many vulnerable and lonely people continue to be supported in safe ways.

“While it will be wonderful when our parishes can reopen, we recognise that parish life cannot quickly return to normal until a vaccine or a treatment is available.

“We do not expect this to happen until at least 2021.

“This means that even when churches reopen, parish activities will still be greatly restricted, our pastoral working group hopes to identify and publicise advice or resources to help dioceses and parishes face fresh challenges in a safe manner.”

Early figures indicate high numbers of viewers are watching and downloading masses and devotions online, according to the conference. Source – The Sunday Post

Comment:

This is totally disgraceful, and manifest evidence of the lack of divine and Catholic Faith in these bishops. How insulting to effectively tell God that we have no need of him now.  [Maybe] we’ll be back fully next year.  I have no words to describe the pity I feel for them, the contempt with which their faithlessness is being viewed in Heaven.   Nobody needs a Theology Degree to know that this decision cannot possibly be pleasing to God. I won’t say any more at this point, in order to leave those  of you with greater minds than mine, and probably lots more patience than I possess, to add your thoughts.

St Andrew, Patron  Saint of Scotland, pray for us!

St Margaret, Queen of Scotland, pray for us!  

St John Ogilvie, pray for us! 

Our Lady of Aberdeen, pray for us!   

Covid-19 & Totalitarianism: Does USA Right to Bear Arms Make Sense Now?

Then there’s this warning from an American police officer…

Comment: 

More than once we’ve discussed the American Second Amendment right to bear arms.  I’ve always taken the scaredy-cat attitude of “oops! better not!”  That Americans are queuing up to buy more and more guns,  then, some  who have never owned a gun before, made me think. And this was before the news was out that the World Health Organisation is telling us to prepare for authorised investigators to come into our homes to test us for the virus and remove anyone who tests positive. 

I was recounting this news to a friend yesterday, who caught me by surprise when – a most gentle person – she asked, suddenly, where she could buy a gun: how to get a permit. I laughed it off, but it made me think. As did the very thoughtful policeman in the video above. Is it an American phenomenon, the possibility of bloodshed on the streets, or could that happen in the UK, as well?  If so, what to do?  Perhaps we should simply  redouble our efforts to persuade our political representatives to put an end to what seems to be a case of hurtling towards a permanent system of totalitarian government. 

But, in case that doesn’t work, consider this:  if a government health official comes to your home and wants to remove a member of your family, how will you deal with it?  

Let’s hear your ideas – both temporal and spiritual –  for overcoming this time of trial.  

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us! 

13 May – Feast of Our Lady of Fatima… 103 Anniversary of the Apparitions

Fatima Shrine Closed To Pilgrims – First Time in over a Century…

Denver Newsroom, May 7, 2020 / 03:48 pm (CNA).- For the first time in over a century, the annual May 13 celebrations at the Fatima shrine will take place without the physical presence of pilgrims, the bishop of Fatima confirmed this week.

Cardinal Antonio Marto said in a May 3 statement that the celebrations for the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima “will take place as was announced April 6, without the physical presence of pilgrims, in the name of prudence to avoid the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus.”

“As planned in conjunction with the civil authorities, the May 12 and 13 celebrations for this year cannot have the physical presence of the pilgrims and will be transmitted by broadcast and digital media,” he continued.

The cardinal explained that hosting “an unpredictable multitude of people” gathering at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is still a serious threat would go against the efforts of health authorities to gradually lift restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the virus.

“We therefore respect, in an attitude of collaboration with the competent civil authorities, the guidelines for these celebrations to be held with a symbolic presence of participants,” Marto said.

The clarification over the Fatima feast day came as the Portuguese government gradually begins to ease restrictions that had been put in place in response to the pandemic, prompting speculation over whether the May 13 celebrations would be able to take place as normal. The annual event typically draws hundreds of thousands from around the world to the shrine.  Read more at  Source – Catholic World Report

Comment: 

Judging from the above report, it seems that it might have been possible to allow the celebrations to take place as usual – and that would have been very fitting; a return to normality marked by the Fatima celebrations.  Interesting that the Cardinal didn’t push for that.  Interesting, but not too surprising these days when – in contrast to the Fatima Message – contemporary churchmen are more concerned with the health of the body than the health of the soul. 

Still, we take a different view here, so share your knowledge about Fatima, your favourite parts of the Fatima events, hymns and prayers special to you, and your thoughts on the astounding miracle of the sun. Additionally, tell us if you think there is any relationship between the ongoing pandemic  and Fatima, and if you have any ideas about when the Consecration of Russia will take place in the manner prescribed by God and revealed through Our Lady, be sure to let us know.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!   

England’s Cardinal Nichols: “It would be a scandal to re-open churches…”

UNITED KINGDOM, May 7, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the U.K.’s senior Catholic cleric, told Catholics that it would be a “scandal” for churches to open for private prayer at present. This comes after the bishops previously made it clear that they helped convince the government to close the churches.

The comment was made in a letter sent to Catholics in the U.K. who had written to the bishops asking that the churches be reopened.

“I ask you to remember that the churches are closed because of the restrictions established by the Government,” Nichols’s letter states.

“The Prime Minister said this explicitly on 23rd March. These restrictions are still in place as part of the great effort to contain this deadly virus. To do so is a serious moral imperative. To act contrary to this guideline would be to endanger life and to act in a way that gave scandal,” he continued.

The letter does not acknowledge that the bishops themselves, according to their own statement, played a key role in the U.K. government closing churches even to private prayer.

The Catholic bishops prohibited the celebration of public Masses before the lockdown came into force and, according to their own statement, played a crucial role themselves in convincing the government to require that churches be closed altogether.

A March 24 statement from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales (CBCEW) explained the role played by Professor Jim McManus, a member of the health care reference group for the bishops’ conference, in convincing the government to close churches after guidance from the ministry of housing, communities, and local government had stated that “places of worship should remain open for solitary prayer.”

“Professor Jim McManus has spoken with a senior civil servant and it was quite clear they just had not thought through the issues of infection and security of churches and when he made these points clear, they were appalled and agreed they had made a mistake,” the diocese’s statement said.

“Keeping churches open sends an utterly inconsistent message and therefore they must be closed for the benefit of others and stopping infection,” the bishops continued.

Maria Haynes, a Catholic housewife, mother, and NHS professional who has spent over thirty years working as a pro-family, pro-life activist, told LifeSite that “when supermarkets are open, maintaining government guidelines, there is no case to support Catholic churches being closed.”

Haynes, who received the letter from Nichols, told LifeSite that she has written a response to the cardinal asking him if at this time of great stress it has been explained to the government that Catholics desperately need access to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.

“In the secular world in which we are living, we Catholics cannot assume that any of our government ministers have the slightest understanding of Catholic belief in this regard and therefore we must make sure that they are made aware of this,” Haynes said.

Haynes told LifeSite she has respond to Nichols, asking him:

Did the government “establish” these “restrictions” following consultation with you as leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales? I ask this because my understanding is that the government’s jurisdiction over Catholic Church matters ends at the front door of each Catholic church.

In his letter, Nichols also suggested that Catholics contact the secretary of state for the ministry of housing, communities, and local government, Rt. Hon. Robert Jenrick, to express their “deep desire” to have renewed access to churches “for prayer and for the celebration of Sacraments” and to “stress how essential these matters are in your life.”

Haynes told LifeSite she has responded to Nichols, asking: “While we had already done this prior to receiving your letter, Your Eminence, I must ask you as our cardinal, have you done this on our behalf?”

Haynes told LifeSite that she has spoken to other Catholics in the U.K. who have received similar letters from Nichols.

“Catholic parishes throughout England and Wales are perfectly capable of putting systems in place to ensure that government guidelines on social distancing are followed,” she said.

Last month, Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth questioned the wisdom of churches being closed during the coronavirus lockdown. LifeSite wrote to Egan to ask if, in light of his comments, he was planning to reopen his churches for private prayer but did not receive a response.

To respectfully and charitably communicate your wishes to your bishops, please use this search engine to find contact details for Catholic bishops in England and Wales and this one here for Catholic bishops in Scotland. Cardinal Nichols can be contacted at cardinalnichols@rcdow.org.uk

Source: Lifesitenews – emphasis added

Comment: 

How would you describe Cardinal Nicholas – faithless?  misguided?  What possible reason could Cardinal Nicholas (and the rest of the hierarchy, north and south of the border) have for actually wanting to keep the churches closed?  Of course, maybe you agree with keeping churches closed – maybe you think it would be a scandal to re-open them.  Share your thoughts…  politely!   

Lockdown & Loss of Freedom – Why the Sinister Silence from the Media?

Comment: 

Clearly, the mainstream media in both the UK and the USA has bought into the Government(s) message, which is that we’re all obeying the scientists/medical experts.  On other threads, we’ve discussed the fact that not all scientists and doctors agree but those who don’t agree are kept well away from the microphones and TV studios.  We are getting one message only from people programmed to repeat it and not question it.  Given the examples in the Tucker Carlson video above, which reflect what is happening here in the UK, we need to find a way of challenging the silence of the mainstream media which is, surely, sinister by any standard.  That no-one is questioning the loss of our freedoms, in this unique situation, is definitely sinister.  

Remember, this is primarily a religious question – as is everything to do with human life, in fact.  If there is no-one in the media questioning the danger of the nation (if not the entire world) sleep-walking into totalitarianism, then our churches will be closed forever. And there will be no need to speculate on whether we are now suffering a chastisement – it will be indisputably the case.   

The opportunity for the voice of the public to be heard is limited, but it is possible to make some level of protest through, for example, certain radio programmes.  The LBC (Leading the British Conversation) phone-in shows allow members of the public to broadcast their views.  Click here and then check out the shows, pick the one you think might be worth a  try, and dial the number as soon as possible after the show goes on air. 

Thus, you may do some simple Catholic Action by telephone, using, perhaps some of the facts on our other threads, to make a point – notably The Truth About The Lockdown

Entrust your efforts to Our Lady, in this her special month, and who knows what good might come of it.  Whatever, it’s worth reflecting on the strange phenomenon of a media wholly silent on the loss of our civil liberties, when we would normally expect them to be interrogating politicians, doctors and the police to hold them to account for their role in instituting and applying the draconian measures designed to keep us in our homes – perhaps indefinitely.