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Monday, April 20, 2020

The Improbability of Turning On Faith That Has Been Extinguished

There are good days and then there are bad days in all our lives.  For the most part I have endured this lockdown in my home as well as anyone due in large part to the fact I am not alone.  I share the confinement with a loving patient husband.  I receive much satisfaction from the daily texts I get from friends in Chicago and Texas and I look forward each morning to opening my email and reading the newest posts on my favorite Catholic websites.  I am supported by my children who are busy with their own lives, but never forget to check in with their parents. 

The thing all of us miss, of course, is Church, which is completely absent from our lives when probably the world needs it the most---a time of uncertainty, of loss, of death, of fear and frustration, of isolation and doubt.   We are told, “Watch mass online,” as if this is a perfectly acceptable alternative to our actual presence and witness to what we profess.  “Well, it will do,” we are told, “until this is over.”  I somehow doubt people will agree to set aside the practice of their faith as though it were something like a hobby and pick it up again at some later date without questioning the necessity of doing so. 

Today we are told that liquor stores are open because they are “essential.”  Church is not essential.  The loss of the one might create problems among those addicted to alcohol so those stores have remained open EVERYWHERE in this country, whereas not a single Catholic Church has offered what truly matters to all of us, the worship of God, Holy Communion, and for many, Baptism, Confirmation, and First Communion.  The Church has been completely in line with civil authority and has done nothing at the chancellery level to serve the sheep creatively, and safely, and reverently.  I don’t call watching mass in your bathrobe drinking coffee reverent, however “convenient” that may be.  If that were the case, then the vast majority will never leave their living rooms again to trek to the parish and sit through a twangy piano recital of feel good Protestant music, handshake obviously sick people on their left and right, and listen to “all merciful sermons” from liberal priests who will tell you we ALL probably go to heaven in the end.   Luv and forgiveness, luv and forgiveness, luv and forgiveness, ahmmmm…… ahmmm

We are told by some elected Democrats that in the coming weeks the category of “essential business and activities” will be expanded.  Think about that.  The definition of essential is that which is “absolutely necessary, extremely important.”  If I pack my suitcase with “the essentials, I will probably leave out things like my favorite evening dress, costume jewelry, and a pair of shoes for each outfit.  We all know what IS and what is NOT essential to our lives.  If we begin to include in the suitcase other items we are not free to call them essential when we know they are NOT necessary.  Essential is essential and cannot be expanded.  You might argue well, my yoga mat is essential to me even if it isn’t essential to someone else.  I would argue my Bible is essential to me whereas, it is an item that might never cross most people’s minds.  So, it is true, subjectively speaking, essential may vary from one person to the next, but how sad is it, I ask you, when the USCCB remained silent, was compliant, and every bishop across the country did nothing to argue for Catholics that whether anyone else thinks so or not, the Eucharist IS essential to our lives.  It isn’t just a habit.  Nor is it a hobby we enjoy when it is convenient.  It is essential.  We have been deprived of it and no one in the hierarchy seems to care about the fact millions of souls will never set foot in a Catholic Church again when this is over having come to the conclusion that going to church is not essential.

There isn’t likely to be any problem at all in a great many parishes of how to handle social distancing.  Few will show up.  They will be home in their slippers drinking coffee as they were told was ok to do two weeks ago.  How can church attendance be essential today when it wasn’t essential last week, bishops?  How wonderful it might have been if every bishop had encouraged parking lot masses throughout the USA.  How wonderful it might have been if they came themselves and went through those parking lots blessing every car and the faithful in them.  How wonderful, if they had led weekly processions through the streets of their diocese.  Where were they? 

So when this is over, will people return? Will it be as easy to get them there and convince them it is essential, as it was to tell them “just don’t worry about it for the time being?” I suspect people won’t embrace it as an action as simple as pulling the Christmas tree out of the box after a year in storage. They will more likely tell themselves, “why bother?” I never liked those sermons anyway.

For those of us who will return, hungry for the Body of Christ, the next question is, how will we weather the storm of struggling to keep the doors open with severe budget shortages and shriveled collection plate contributions? Anyone who thinks “going back to church” will go on as usual is delusional. There will be hanging over the head of every pastor the worry his parish will be closed by his bishop. And no amount of wishing it weren’t so will save your parish once the powers that be have decided who gets the axe. Essential going forward will be determined by the bishop from his own subjective point of view, and I fear any parish that can’t meet the financial demands of the bishop will be seen as here today and gone tomorrow. Just not that essential. When men run church like they would a corporation, and they all do, it is the money that matters and little else. If it were not true, they would have fought to keep them open for the sake of their sheep.


  1. Perhaps you have already seen this, but it is a very reverent Holy Hour before the tabernacle recited by a priest and includes guided meditation based on the writings of Sr. Faustina,and background music of Latin chant hymns.

    A Holy Hour in time of Crisis:

  2. Sojourner, I did not post your comment because it was an ad hominem argument. If you want to redo it without the personal attack, discussing the issues with which you disagree here, I'll be happy to post it. We all need to learn how to argue in a way that discusses issues without shaming or demeaning the persons expressing their opinions. I elaborated on my new policy here:

  3. My complaint about this post is first of all, why is the author watching Mass like it is a TV show? Why isn’t she praying the Mass as if she was at Church? We are very blessed that even tho we can’t physically attend Mass, we are still able to pray it with ordained priests every day. That is not something we should be complaining about.

    Secondly, the author should thank God that she has a safe and comfortable home to be in, and that she has people she loves and all the necessities of life. She should instead by praying for those fighting every day in our hospitals to save lives and are putting their own lives on the line to do so. That also includes police, fireman, garbage men, store clerks, etc. The author could not sit comfortably and safe at home without these people. According to one CDC report dated 4/14/20: than 9,000 health care workers across the U.S. contracted COVID-19 as of last week and at least 27 died. More than 40 grocery workers have died. Dozens of cops have died

    Also, think of the homeless who have no place to hide, and those who can’t feed their families,

    Maybe we should be more thankful and not just sit and complain.

    If that is still an ad hominem attack, then there is no way to disagree here without being accused of using ad hominem attacks. Certainly there were ad hominem attacks in the post against the bishops, but I guess those don’t count.


  4. Whatever is of God will prevail, as it is connected to the Vine.

    Whatever is of Satan will die, as it is pruned from the source of all life - the Vine.

    “And this is written deep in the nature of man: We must have sensible signs and figures, for we are partly spiritual and partly corporal ... And the truths of religion are spiritual, and the rites and ceremonies are corporal; yet as the soul is contained in the body, so the truths of religion are contained in the rites and ceremonies of the Church ... show me a religion without rites and ceremonies, and I will show you a people drifting rapidly toward infidelity and the denial of all religion.” (Rev James Luke Meagher - (Teaching Truth By Signs and Ceremonies)

    I have personally become convinced (not that my opinion will change anything - Truth will prevail with or without me) that Vatican II, and all its subsequent Constitutions and the life of the Church they created in their wake, will die. They are not connected to Sacred Tradition, more importantly to Jesus Christ our Lord. They will die, in the aftermath of This Covid19 clarifying moment in time. People will not return, because ... what is the point?

    Tradition will live on. The flame, guarded by SSPX and other Traditional, orthodox Apostolates, will one day become a fire because I know that God is in that in the fullness of His Divinity, holiness and power. Vatican II and all its Constitutions, and the unfortunate conclusions drawn from them (including this dual headed Papacy and the thing known as Pope Emeritus) will be overturned and declared anathema.

    ONLY that which can be sourced, carefully sourced, in Dogma, Sacred Tradition and the Words of Jesus Christ will live on. That which cannot be so sourced will be overthrown and forgotten - except as a fearful warning to others.

    “Picture then the High Priest Christ leaving the sacristy of heaven for the altar of Calvary. He has already put on the vestment of our human nature, the maniple of our suffering, the stole of priesthood, the chasuble of the Cross. Calvary is the cathedral; the rock of Calvary is the altar stone; the sun turning to red is the sanctuary lamp; Mary and John are the living side altars; the Host is His Body; the wine is His Blood. He is upright as Priest, yet He is prostrate as Victim. His Mass is about to begin.” (Bishop Fulton Sheen, ‘Calvary and the Mass’).

    May I please recommend to you the wonderful little book: Treasure And Tradition - the ultimate guide to the Latin Mass; by Lisa Bergman (St. Augustine Academy Press). Not only is this the best book available to the Layman (imo) on the Mass as it exists in time, history, and eternity but it is the best book to connect the Mass to our belief - WHY.ARE.WE.HERE?

    God bless suffering but faithful Catholics.

  5. I think you missed the point of the post, Sojourner, which is that religious services are essential. You also made a presumption about Chriss talking about herself watching the Mass in her bathrobe drinking coffee. Actually I was talking with her the other day about a priest friend who mentioned to me that several parishioners were telling him how great it is to be able to watch Mass while they drink coffee or walk on the treadmill. We talked at the time about her doing a post.

    I think that was what she was referring to.

    All Catholics deserve the presumption that we are concerned about the health and well-being of others. For any of us to accuse others of being willing to kill people (not talking about you) because we disagree about the draconian measure in effect (ticketing people for watching a sunset in their cars, dragging someone off a bus for not wearing a mask, etc) is grossly unfair.

    I have a sister in a nursing home where there are residents with COVID 19. If she comes down with it, she is likely to die because she has COPD and several other underlying conditions. I pray with her every day on the phone and, as her power of attorney, am in touch with the staff about the on-going situation there. My husband and I pray every day for the residents and staff. I would like to go up to the nursing home with a sign she can see from her window and holy water to go around blessing the place. But it's in Maryland, one of the more draconian places.

    But what grieves me the most is the thought that if she is dying she may not be able to see a priest and will die alone followed by a funeral that almost no one will be allowed to attend. She had pneumonia and was hospitalized three times in the past 18 months. I hope it was because of the virus and she has antibodies. It's certainly possible as studies are showing this was probably circulating a long time before this more virulent strain appeared.

    The fact that people are dying makes it even more urgent that we receive the consolation of our faith. As the judge in Kentucky said, if liquor stores are essential, so are the churches. There is nothing to be "ashamed of" in sharing that message.

  6. Sojourner: Don’t forget to add in to your prayers the tens of *millions* of people and the children who depend on them for support (food, shelter, medicine) who are now unemployed, businesses and careers destroyed, no return in sight (if ever).

    That suffering is also real - and it is massive.

  7. And if doctors can be heroes caring for covid so can priests anointing same patients

  8. We can pray and be close to God without physically attending Churches and God can bless us even if we don’t have access to the Sacraments. We as American Catholics are use to having everything we want whenever we want. We are very spoiled. It is time to start thinking of others.

    Tto gather together in churches in the middle of a pandemic puts not only ourselves at risk but everyone around us and everyone they come into contact with. I gave you the statistics of just a few on the front lines who have gotten sick and died, and that is with the nation on lockdown. How bad would it be if we continued on as normal?

    Schools are essential. Going to work is essential. Many things are essential. But something had to be sacrificed in order to save lives. God is accessible to us wherever we are. As a practicing Catholic, I desperately want to get back to Church and receive the Sacraments. But it is wrong to put other lives in danger to do so when I know I can be just as close to God outside of a physical Church.

    We are in a war against a deadly enemy. Right now that enemy is setting all the rules. If you insist on denying that reality, then yes, you will be responsible for those who die because of your actions.

    I am very sorry about your sister. But I would think that this situation would make you more aware of the crisis we are living in, and that, for the sake of others, we can’t have everything we want. Surely you are able to pray outside of a physical Church if it means saving so much as one life. US deaths have doubled in one week to over 40,000. How high must it go before you understand?

  9. So you agree with the voices saying that we can't go back to normal for 18 months or until a vaccine is developed? Interestingly in Santa Clara, the testing done there indicates that it's likely the virus is much more prevalent in the population and much less deadly than originally believed. We need more antibody testing to find out the true numbers.

    The Chamber of Commerce is saying as many as 50% of small businesses will fail if we don't open the country. Small businesses are the backbone of America. How many will die or be homeless because of the failure of our economy? 40,000 Americans killed themselves during the Great Depression. We are risking another Great Depression today. Do those lives not matter?

    If you are serious about stopping things "if it means saving so much as one life," then you need to call for the end to the automobile since so many die on the road. And an end to four wheelers. I have two friends who lost children to them. And an end to bicycles. A friend had a child lose control going down a hill and hit her car. She flew off and died. The driver was not to blame and could only have avoided it by not being there. So outlaw cars. And an end to airline travel would save lots of folks because people die in airplane crashes. No airplanes -- no 9/11. Be consistent. Let's close down the country forever and lock people in protective bubbles where they will still die -- only alone and without comfort.

    There is only one guarantee in life -- We will all die. I will die. You will die. My sister will die. Everyone reading this blog post will die. The martyrs could have saved their lives by throwing a pinch of incense into the fire honoring the pagan gods. I fear many Catholics today would obey Caesar and do it.

  10. Sojourner- God bless you and your thoughtful reasoned comments. You are not alone in your thoughts, hopes, and prayers. Many have tried to offer reason on this blog but it is not always accepted or valued. And most times excused away. But I will add that not all the posts on this blog are bad. Some of them bring comfort. But posts on politics, slamming Bishops (as a group), wanting things pre- Vatican II,
    attacks on the Pope, and any hot topic that is not in line with FOX news is hard for me to support. There is the power of prayer. And my prayers continue for all impacted by this pandemic, and all those in the front lines providing care and support. I also pray for those struggling with the lack of sacraments, that their faith in God will see them through. We will have Mass again! We will again PRAISE HIS NAME brother next to brother.

  11. I saw a great protest sign, I found myself in agreement: “Give me liberty, or give me Covid19”.

    Not just an admirable slogan any more is it? Sometimes, we have to decide if liberty means anything to us and our children.

    What kind of a life is it in which fear is so deep that we are willing to hide under our beds forever to prevent danger, sickness, death?

    Because there will always be another Covid. If our enemy knows they can bring us to our knees (they already have) with a virus ..... count on more of them. Cheap asymmetric warfare, that is.

    We have become so unbelievably soft after all these post WW II years of peace. Life is harsh, sometimes. We need to get callouses, toughen up. Live free or die. I believe in that, strongly.

  12. No one is asking for your support, Unknown. The purpose of the blog is to witness to the Holy Catholic faith as taught throughout the millennia. When the pope and the bishops defend, protect, and advance that faith we applaud their efforts. When they preach heresy and dissent, we expose it as a dangerous scandal.

    Ah FOX...I think they are mostly mainstream media lite with a few exceptions.

    I'm curious. Do you get your news from MSNBC and CNN?

    As for faith in God. What is the test of faith?

  13. Well well well. Sojourner, where have you been lately? (Warning - Sojourner is a leftist liberal...we've had dealings with her before, as has Janet Baker.) And Unknown is obviously the troll from Brooklyn. But, Sojourner and Unknown, how protestant of both of you in your comments. Yawn.

    I work at an "essential" place and have not missed one day of work during this whole hoax we all got a raise for working this month! Yay! I have not worn a mask or gloves although the skin on my hands is about to peel off from all the disinfectant used.

    If I have not caught Covid19 then it isn't as easily "caught" as the liberal leftist media makes it out to be. Furthermore, NO ONE at work has caught it either. Funny that. According to the MSM we should all be dead by now, or at least in the ICU wheezing away our last breath without Last Rites.

    And note how Sojourner and Unknown are so JUDGMENTA! if no one here at LesFemmes ever thinks about any other person but ourselves. Hmmm. How about all the unborn children we pray for....and all the ones Mary Ann has saved throughout the years? Or the homeless we take care of. Or the prisoners we write?

    And how about me? I'm poor and alone. Maybe Sojourner and Unknown would like to send me money to pay my bills so I don't have to go out and work amid the infected and possibly die. You may send the money c/o Mary Ann! I trust she will forward it to me.

    Meanwhile, while you castigate Chriss for having a comfortable home and a good man who loves her for a husband, what about your own homes? Are you homeless? Living on the street? Penniless? Starving? Dressed in rags? If not, who are you to judge?

    I'm all bummed out because Goodwill is closed so I cannot shop know...for my shoes, and clothes, blankets and pots and pans.

  14. To a Catholic - every person is “essential”.

    Christ pointed out the old, shriveled up widow who gave her last “mite” (worth six minutes of work) as His example of who He considers “essential”.

    King Herod considered the mighty Pharisees and Sadducee essential, as did they themselves.

    What did Jesus Christ ever contribute to Jewish society? His Apostles? Depends on how you measure.

    “ Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and Hisnrighteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you”. (Matt 6:33)

  15. I am reading these posts for the first time, and must say, aren't we in the middle of all the prophecies stated by the Blessed Mother, saints and holy people?? Two things I want to say one; I do view Mass daily very reverently. I am dressed and wear my veil and read along with the Latin Mass. I don't like it but, it is what is given to us. Two; I truly believe we the American people are being prepped for the coming New World Order! The government has shut down just about everything, Churches, schools, shopping centers, restaurants, all kinds of businesses and has lock down its citizens! Now the next thing is the economy. They want the US to fall on its knees, weaken us and then when we are their subjects...WHAM here comes Socialism! I am from New York City. I am not allowed to venture into the streets without a mask as well as in my apartment building and elevators. We must stand on line for long periods of time for groceries, and half the time the store is out of want you NEED! There is a virus, and it can you can become ill from it, I ask how did it get into the US,and are thousands of people really dropping dead from the virus?? The media has us in their grip. They lie and inflate, and keep us filled with fear and propaganda.. "WE must stay apart, so we can be together"??? What I have right now is Jesus and His Mother, I pray, fast and do penance.