|Are empty churches a metaphor for the lost faith
of so many Catholics including bishops & priests?
Although I'm grateful for televised Masses for shut-ins, I can't watch the Mass on TV without being disturbed and upset. Why is that, I've wondered? This morning, as I was praying, and reading St. Jean Vianney's 25th Eucharistic Meditation (on attending daily Mass) as the "sermon," I received the answer.
Watching a video of a priest saying a private Mass emphasizes to me that our bishops and priests (and the pope) have abandoned us. Of course I'm glad priests are still praying the Mass privately. I believe the world would end without it. At the same time, I think the bishops are acting like hirelings in many cases, fleeing the "wolf" of the virus and leaving the sheep to fend for themselves as best we can.
The clergy, from the pope to the loneliest priest in the world, can continue to be physically fed by the Eucharist while the sheep starve. Instead of looking for creative ways to offer the Mass (like the drive-in services encouraged by our evil governor -- what an irony!) bishops suspended all public Masses even before state governments required it.
Oh...but our shepherds remind us to keep sending in our money because the churches where we are restricted to no more than ten at a time (if we aren't locked out altogether) still need to pay the bills.
Get out the violins.
Larry and I have been discussing it. We think we will imagine ourselves putting our monthly donation in the basket until the real basket reappears. A spiritual donation (We pray for our priests, deacon parish family) seems appropriate, while we give a real donation to groups like Mercy Chefs who are feeding real people with real food.
How many Americans are losing their livelihood? How many will lose their jobs (millions already), their homes, their savings, their pensions, their cars, etc.? Meanwhile our shepherds remind us to "pray" (remotely), pay (electronic payment especially desirable), and obey (the bishop suspended Masses, how dare you go to the SSPX!)! Clericalism is alive and well in the coronavirus church.
Remember the song Tradition at the opening of Fiddler on the Roof and the exchange between the beggar and Lazar?
(Beggar)Put your bishop's name in the place of Reb Nahum and then hear him advise you to give as many kopeks as possible to pay for his bloated chancery staff including, in my diocese, his recently hired Chief Operating Officer.
"Alms for the poor, alms for the poor..."
"Here, Reb Nahum, is one kopek."
"One kopek? Last week you gave me two kopeks."
"I had a bad week."
"So, if you had a bad week, why should I suffer?"
There are certainly serious reasons to exercise caution during the virus, but every situation is not the same. New York City is densely populated. The Shenandoah Valley is not. Every county in Virginia has a fairground that could be used for drive-in Masses with less risk than going to the grocery store. So why aren't our priests encouraged to look for safe alternatives rather than starving their flocks?
|Is this the only alternative during the coronavirus? Selfies in the pews?
At least when my husband and I pray the Mass in the church in Christ's physical presence we can be near Him in the tabernacle. So that's what we're doing for daily Mass and we will continue to attend valid Masses on Sunday wherever we can find them with validly ordained priests saying them.
As for whether Catholics may attend SSPX Masses during this time -- the answer is an unequivocal yes!
Can. 844 §1. Catholic ministers administer the sacraments licitly to Catholic members of the Christian faithful alone, who likewise receive them licitly from Catholic ministers alone, without prejudice to the prescripts of §§2, 3, and 4 of this canon, and can. 861, §2.
§2. Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-Catholics aren't required to keep the Sunday obligation since the bishops have suspended it, a prudent decision on their part since there are many vulnerable people out there. But some of us spiritually weak sheep are starving and we're willing to take the minimal risk of attending a drive-in Mass where we can be fed the Bread of Life.
Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.
If there's no grass in our own field, we must go to another field where the grass is lush and the shepherds welcome us.
|Sheep obediently following the social distancing guidelines. It's possible!
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