My Thoughts on Catholicism and The Church

Hi all you cool cats and kittens.  Today is a bit of rage-fueled rant but after you read the below, you may agree.  Or you may disagree.  But at least remain open minded to all possibilities (atheism is just as impossible to prove as god so I’m a proud agnostic).  In the WSJ article below, I’ve underlined and bolded each part of the article that I find insulting to humanity, society, and rationale thought.  In underlined, bolded, and red font, I’ve added some even-keeled, not at all angry interjections.  At the very least, read the items I’ve highlighted.

TLDR: the catholic church is nothing more than a for-profit business and “worshipers” (I HATE this word) are willing to put the public at risk to alleviate their own personal fears and indoctrinated-since-birth needs.

And here, we, go:

As Coronavirus Halts Masses, Conservative Catholics Push Back: A vocal minority of conservative Catholics are criticizing the suspension of Masses, arguing that believers need the church now more than ever

By Francis X. Rocca

A vocal minority of conservative Catholics are criticizing the suspension of Masses in response to the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that such a crisis is precisely when believers need the church most.

Over the past month, Catholic dioceses across the U.S., as in most countries around the world, have stopped offering public Masses to limit the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Most churchgoing Catholics have accepted the policy as a necessary public health measure, many turning instead to watching the liturgy on TV or over the internet as Easter approaches.

But some have protested the decision, arguing that the ability to worship together and receive the sacraments is essential for Catholics.

“Just as we are able to purchase food and medicine, while taking care not to spread the coronavirus in the process, so also we must be able to pray in our churches and chapels, receive the sacraments, and engage in acts of public prayer and devotion,” U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who now lives in Rome, wrote last month.

“Canceling church services is the wrong response to the coronavirus pandemic,” wrote R.R. Reno in the conservative Catholic journal First Things. “In a time of pandemic—a time when Satan whips up in us all fears of isolation, abandonment, and death—churches must not join the stampede of fear.”

While all U.S. bishops have suspended public Masses, in compliance with civil authorities’ limitations or guidance on public assemblies, they have varied in their policies on other restrictions, with some shutting churches entirely and others leaving them open for private prayer. Some have allowed innovations that permit social distancing, such as drive-through confessions and outdoor adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, where faithful pray facing the host displayed in a monstrance.

A number of the bishops have also explicitly dispensed Catholics from their obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and other holy days, an obligation not considered binding when attendance is impossible.

In the U.S., the debate over Mass suspensions and other restrictions has played out in the Catholic press and on social media, acquiring an ideological tinge as the strongest advocates for public Masses and access to the sacraments have been conservatives. They include Cardinal Burke, a critic of Pope Francis, and First Things magazine.

“U.S. dioceses are really turning into the political equivalent of red dioceses and blue dioceses, depending on their bishop,” said Kenneth J. Wolfe, a contributor to the traditional Catholic blog Rorate Caeli. “The difference between Baltimore, which is forbidding even the sacrament of penance, and nearby Arlington, which has almost every church open for 10 or fewer people, is staggering.”

According to the website of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, “It is no longer deemed safe to administer the sacrament (confession) during the present health crisis, therefore the sacrament is only available to those for whom death may be imminent.”

In the U.S., some critics fault the bishops for not objecting to legal restrictions on public worship as infringements of religious liberty.

Exactly how far bishops should go in response to the coronavirus has been controversial at the highest levels of the church. In mid-March, the morning after Pope Francis’ own Diocese of Rome announced that all of the city’s churches would be shut to the faithful, the pope warned during a live-streamed Mass that “drastic measures are not always good.”

A few hours later, the diocese reversed its policy and reopened the churches, pointedly noting that the pope had been consulted before the decision to close them. But public Masses are still prohibited in Rome, as they are throughout Italy, in accordance with a national decree prohibiting public assemblies in houses of worship.

When the pope leads Holy Week and Easter celebrations at St. Peter’s Basilica this week, the faithful will be able to watch only by electronic means.

Critics warn that if the suspensions go on for much longer it will be hard to get people to attend again once public worship resumes (DD INTERJECTION: DO YOU NEED ANY MORE PROOF THAT THE CHURCH KNOWS IT IS NOTHING MORE THAN A BUSINESS AND A SCAM AND THEY FEAR THAT WHEN PEOPLE REALIZE THEIR LIVES HAVEN’T CHANGED AFTER NOT ATTENDING MASS, PERHAPS THERE IS NO GOD DEMANDING THEIR WEEKLY “WORSHIP” AND ORGANIZED RELIGION WIELDS LESS VALUE THAN PREVIOUSLY BELIEVED?!? THE CHURCH IS, LOUD AND CLEAR, SUGGESTING THAT PEOPLE (“BUYERS”) ARE INCAPABLE OF MAKING THEIR OWN VALUE DECISIONS AND NEED TO BE TOLD HOW TO BEHAVE.  IT’S ASTONISHING THAT OTHERWISE RATIONALE PEOPLE CAN BE LED AROUND BY THE NOSE FOR SO LONG.  OH, AND REMEMBER THAT THESE PEOPLE ARE VOTERS AND THEIR VOTE IS JUST AS IMPACTFUL AS YOUR OWN.). A new survey by the Pew Research Center found that 46% of U.S. Catholics who had typically gone to church in the past had switched to online or televised Masses by late last month.

“I’m concerned that when I get back to my church it’s not going to be as full as it was,” said Kari Beckman, executive director of the Georgia-based Regina Caeli Academy, an educational network that works with Catholic home-schoolers. “Isolation breeds disbelief eventually, so it’s important to come together and worship together.” (DD INTERJECTION: READ: “WE’RE ABOUT TO LOSE A LOT OF MONEY AND WE NEED TO KEEP THE WOOL OVER THEIR EYES.”  THESE SUPPORTERS, NO MATTER HOW PURE THEIR INTENTIONS, ARE INCREASINGLY SOUNDING MORE AND MORE LIKE DRUG DEALERS, TRYING TO GET AND KEEP SHEEPLE HOOKED ON THEIR SUPPLY OF EMPTY SOLUTIONS.  RELIGION DOES HAVE VALUE, NO DOUBT, BUT PERHAPS THE CHURCH CAN STOP OBFUSCATING THE TRUTH AND CLEARLY DEFINE “BELIEF” FROM “FACT.”  OH, AND STOP IMPOSING THEIR WILL ON OTHER, RATIONALLY MINDED PEOPLE.  THE CHURCH IS A BUSINESS…IT JUST DOESN’T HAVE TO PAY TAXES, INCLUDING PROPERTY TAXES.  ARE YOU OKAY WITH THAT?)

Phil Lawler, editor of the conservative Catholic World News, says that it has become harder to find priests who will turn a blind eye to faithful attending their private Masses. “One of the problems is they get swamped,” he said. “Enough people show up that it’s hard not to notice.”

Mr. Wolfe says the only public Masses he knows of in the Washington, D.C. area have been offered by priests of the Society of St. Pius X, a breakaway traditionalist group that rejects many of the modernizing changes introduced into the church by the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council, who have celebrated the Traditional Latin Masses outdoors with members of the congregation sitting in their cars.

In Philadelphia, after some uninvited laypeople attended a Mass being live-streamed from the cathedral last Sunday and received Communion, the archdiocese announced that the cathedral would be shut during coming Holy Week and Easter celebrations to prevent unauthorized attendance.

At the beginning of April, a group of conservative Catholics, including Ms. Beckman and Mr. Lawler, began circulating a petition called “We Are an Easter People” asking all U.S. bishops to “do everything you can to make possible some form of a public Mass, especially the Easter liturgy, and then encourage pastors to conduct it” and to “demand that civil authorities recognize religious services as essential services.”

The online petition, which had received almost 10,000 signatures by Sunday morning, encourages drive-in Masses and hygienic ways to distribute Communion.

The website displays a historical illustration of a priest, during an 18th-century outbreak of the plague in France, using an 8.5-foot-long spoon to give Communion to a woman facing out of a window. Other suggestions include tongs that would be sterilized after every use.

“The heartfelt requests from the faithful to reinstitute Communion before the coronavirus is largely eradicated reveals the real hunger among Catholics for the sacraments,” Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, chairman of the communications committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement. “This hunger is a good thing, but it must be met with prudence to ensure that our religious celebrations and devotions do not increase the spread of this deadly virus.”

But Mr. Lawler said the patience of some faithful is running out.

“People are getting frustrated and a lot of good priests are feeling the same frustration,” he said. “The longer it goes on, the more people are going to say this is unnatural and we have to do something about it.”

End.

And if you’ve made it this far, Happy Easter:

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