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Monday, September 26, 2022

Guest Post: A Little Protestant Congregation Got Our Mass Back When Our Bishops Were Missing in Action!

Editor's Note: I offer another article by my friend Tom McFadden who identifies whom we can thank for the restoration of our Mass in Virginia during The Covid Games. Sad to say, it was not our two Catholic bishops. Bishop Burbidge and Bishop Knestout, along with all their brothers in the country cut, ran, and hunkered down in their respective residences when Caesar banned in-person religious services. Not so a few courageous Protestant pastors. Say a prayer of thanks for them today. That's where true ecumenism is -- joining with our Protestant friends to fight for the rights of people of faith and for the right to life and protection of the family from a godless, diabolical government.

It was a little Protestant Church's action that got Virginia’s Catholics their Mass back. It sued while Bishops surrendered our rights
Tom McFadden, Sr.

When our bishops abandoned us, a little Protestant church in Chincoteague, VA
fought for the religious rights of all people of faith. God bless them!

In a recent conversation with a friend, he brought up his still- seething disgust about the way the Virginia bishops closed the churches and surrendered our freedom to worship to the State. I told him something he did not know, namely, that it was the pastor of a little church on Virginia's eastern shore that got our Mass back. His lawsuit against Governor Northam broke the unconstitutional restrictions. When the Trump DOJ joined the suit, Northam's lawyers advised him to fold. Here is a contemporary account of that case being pursued.

That case was heard on May 7, 2020. In his podcast of May 8th, Bishop Burbidge of Arlington said that they had heard from the Governor on May 8th that the so-called "phase 1 reopening" could begin May 15th and that would permit churches to operate at 50% of maximum capacity. The bishop sounded delighted by that "concession" that led to roped off pews in our churches and “Sorry the church is full” signs turning away would-be worshipers. He said he had been "working with" other faith leaders and the Governor but this change from the Governor "was sooner than I expected." Obviously, the Diocese was not a party to the lawsuit against Northam.

Churches in many other states remained closed for months after that under Democrat governors and when they finally got freedom it was often because of a lawsuit from an Evangelical Protestant or Society of St. Pius X congregation. For example, the Washington Times of August 16, 2020 reported that Los Angeles megachurch Grace Community held indoor services Sunday in defiance of a local public-health order, just hours after an appeals court blocked a ruling that would have allowed the evangelical services to go forward legally.

Pastor John MacArthur, who has led the congregation in Sun Valley for 50 years, told worshipers who packed the 3,500-seat sanctuary that “the powers of the city were not happy” about the church’s decision to file a lawsuit Friday challenging the novel coronavirus mandates.

“They don’t want us to meet, that’s obvious,” Mr. MacArthur said from the pulpit. “They’re not willing to work with us. They just want to shut us down. But we’re here to bring honor to the Lord."

The Washington Times of September 1, 2021 reported that "California Church wins $800,000 in covid-19 lawsuit against county, state":
A suburban Los Angeles megachurch will get $800,000 from the state of California and Los Angeles County after state and federal courts issued permanent injunctions over COVID-related restrictions on houses of worship.

The county’s board of supervisors voted Tuesday to approve a settlement with Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, and its pastor, the Rev. John MacArthur, 81, a popular Christian radio broadcaster. The county will pay $400,000 for the church’s legal fees, while the state contributes another $400,000, the church’s attorneys said.
Note that this Protestant congregation spent/risked $800,000 in defense of its freedom to "bring honor to the Lord."

Lighthouse Fellowship rode in like the cavalry, perhaps astride
the wild ponies of Chincoteague!

The NY Post on June 3, 2021 reported on settlements totaling $2M that another Evangelical Protestant congregation and a Society of St. Pius X congregation won from the State of California. The Pentecostal Congregation had to fight the state all of the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Most importantly, it was established that any restrictions that the State orders for church gatherings won’t be greater than those it imposes on retail businesses.

The same thing was going on in California that we had to endure in Virginia. The "big box" retailers, liquor stores and abortion clinics were "essential" and open but churches were not. That the disparate treatment of churches was so blatantly unconstitutional was apparent even to the ordinary laymen but we had no chance to win a case based on our Sunday obligation because the bishops pre-empted that reason by dispensing with it.

On May 6, 2021, Reuters news service reported on the victory won by two Protestant churches that sued the State of Minnesota in May 2020. The Living Word Christian Center and Northland Baptist Church of St. Paul were not satisfied with the Governor's permission to operate at 50%. Reuters reported:
The most recent amended complaint in the case focuses on an order issued last June, since lifted, which limited worship services to 50% of the buildings' capacity, with a 250-person maximum. ... The religious plaintiffs alleged that the restrictions violated their First Amendment rights to freely exercise their religion and freedom of assembly. ... "All Minnesotans should be encouraged that their religious freedoms are protected by the U.S. Constitution and that there is no 'pandemic exception' to the First Amendment allowing our state officials to prevent them from assembling and worshipping free of discriminatory and irrational restrictions," James Dickey of the Upper Midwest Law Center, lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

Thursday's settlement follows a string of victories for churches around the country challenging COVID restrictions, including several at the U.S. Supreme Court.
It is not surprising that churches had a "string of victories" challenging Covid restrictions because religious freedom is such a fundamental right; what is surprising is the passivity of Catholic interests. Days before Christmas in 2020 the Archdiocese of Washington filed suit against DC Mayor Muriel Bowser's order that set a cap of 50 people at churches in the District. The Archdiocese settled out of court in return for the Mayor’s amended order that modified the limits for gatherings at houses of worship in the District of Columbia during the coronavirus pandemic to 25% of capacity and no more than 250 persons. There must have been a lot of “turn aways” that Christmas.

An article published June 16, 2021 in Crisis magazine was titled "COVID Catholicism: An After-Action Review." It observed that:
Catholicism’s COVID catastrophe began in the fateful month of March 2020 with this fact: throughout the United States, the fate of every institution rested on the answer to one all-determining question—“Are we an essential or a non-essential service?”
The fact that ultimately every bishop in the United States, whether by force or by choice, placed the local Church entrusted to him on the non-essential services list speaks to an eviscerating failure of identity, priority, and mission.
While grocery stores, marijuana dispensaries, and Planned Parenthood scrambled to adjust their logistics and carried on offering their “essential” services, the Roman Catholic Church declared herself non-essential, suspended public Masses and the other sacraments, and effectively abandoned the field and the faithful.

This was a stunning inversion of priorities. Health, safety, and physical well-being are most certainly goods, but they are neither the summum bonum nor the goods for which Christ founded the Church. Our first priority is spiritual well-being, and so, for the Church, due concern for the life of the body must give way at the point where it would in any way undermine our primary priority.

Finally, this was a monumental failure of mission. The Church does not exist to save people from death but to prepare them well to meet it and to be with them as they do. The work of the Church is to save souls, not lives. That missionary mandate is fundamentally incompatible with hunkering down in chanceries, rectories, and home offices, wishing the world well from a safe distance.

The Catholic Church should have thrown her doors open to a world suddenly haunted by the specter of its own mortality, inviting the lost sheep to meet again the One who conquered death. Instead, we are left with the bitter irony that in choosing to be of the world, where our COVID-19 response was concerned, we failed for months even to be in it.

The collective acquiesce of the U.S. Catholic Bishops to the Covid-19 tyranny will be seen as a watershed when at some future date the demise of religious liberty in the U.S. may be chronicled. That demise may come later than sooner thanks to the courage of some Protestant pastors who insisted on the right and duty to "bring honor to the Lord."

[Check out Tom's website, Institute for Science and Catholicism. There is no conflict between God and science. God made all the scientific laws that govern the universe. Scientists who make war against God often have an agenda that has nothing to do with science. Darwin is a prime example. Just because someone calls himself a scientist doesn't mean he's telling you the truth. We all need to be critical thinkers!]

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Let us also not forget that, for a time (?weeks, months), the only public celebration of the Mass in the Arlington diocese was offered by the priests of the Society of St. Pius X at the fairgrounds near Front Royal, while our bishop was cowering in his socially distanced chancery office.

Fr. VF said...

Not a single, solitary U.S. bishop has uttered a word about the fact that, as Dr. Peter McCullough has been saying for some time: 95% of people who have died in the hospital from "Covid" were murdered. This is ongoing. They were denied treatments that work, and were given the organ-killing poison Remdesivir (and other poisons), and put on lung-destroying ventilators. These murders have been occurring in Catholic as well as non-Catholic hospitals.

Not a single bishop has uttered a word about the bioweapon shots, which were not only created by exploiting the bodies of murdered babies, but kill unborn babies at a rate identical to RU-486. And, of course, the shots have killed hundreds of thousands or millions of born people, to date.

Many bishops have coerced their priests, seminarians, employees, and children in Catholic schools to take the bioweapon.

By comparison, the bishops of Germany (1933-45) compiled a stellar record of opposition to tyranny and mass murder.

rohrbachs said...

Note also that trump rolled out helicopter cash to (democrat!) Governors to lockdown.

Mary Ann Kreitzer said...

Can you provide data on that, rohrbachs? I couldn't find anything in a quick search.

Aqua said...

It is also good to do a retrospective on what did *WE* do, personally, during the Covid scam? Go back and review, whatever one's personal circumstances may be ... how did we *personally* respond to the totalitarian scam in our civilian lives and the godless overthrow of Catholic practice in our religious lives? Good to critique ourselves, also.

I have paid close attention to who chose which side, how and when, within the Catholic Church hierarchy, and within secular government and business. Much of it is a disgrace. But the critique outside is easier to see than that which is personal.

How did I personally respond in my unique circumstances? How did you? Now that it is all mostly over (for now) and the all-consuming insanity is more and more but a distant memory ... it might pay to remember what part we played individually for the cause of good, of religious and personal freedom from totalitarian violence (and it was violence, by other means).

This is not over - not by a long shot is this conflict over. Much of the Church covered itself in shame, but it was already shameful in essence - just waiting to be exposed by trial - good actually to know now what we inky suspected before the Covid crucible. How did we do, ourselves, in the trial by fire? It is good to think about it, because that exercise can lead to personal improvement for next time ... when the crisis forms and falls on us again, perhaps with even more violence than last time. Best be prepared.

TF said...

Aqua, the next time this happens, Catholics need to pray the rosary publicly in as large of groups as we can. Preferably in front of our cathedrals. That's what we did in my neck of the woods, and our churches were re-opened sooner than most. Also, find priests who will say Mass in homes, barns, and outdoors (but not while cowering in cars!). We also did this, and we never missed Mass on Sunday. And we never pasted a disgusting, dehumanizing tissue on our faces either — ever. These are the bare minimum of responses all Catholic laity should have made, in my opinion. I'm grateful to the SSPX and the protestants with enough sense to sue for our rights.

It's to the bishops' everlasting shame that they did this to the Church and society. So goes the Church, so goes the world.

Aqua said...

Another observation in line with the point of this article, which exposes *who* finds *what* important, *why* and *how* of individual's response to this time of elemental choosing - likely ordained as an earthly judgement of God prior to our eternal Divine judgement.

Some Protestants, [who] find Jesus Christ and their worship of Him [what] supremely important to their own eternal salvation and that of their community [why] by disobeying and defying secular orders to close their Churches and prevent worship of Almighty God [how]?

Most Catholics the Bishops/Apostles [who] find personal health and hygiene [what] supremely important to their own physical existence on earth [why] by complying, expanding and insisting on all secular orders to close Churches and prevent worship of Almighty God [how].

I was reminded of this connection, after reading this article by a secular (*former*, because fired for Covid non-compliance) Professor of Ethics at Huron College (Ontario):

https://brownstone.org/articles/are-we-falling-as-rome-did/

Is our civilization falling? She asks.

She, like many of us, suspects that it is. But I was intrigued that she could not adequately answer the questions: What is civilization? Why is it worth preserving?

[What]: "Ancient civilizations were typically non-nomadic settlements with concentrated complexes of persons who divided labor. They had monumental architecture, hierarchical class structures, and significant technological and cultural developments ... civilizations are complex systems—of technology, economics, foreign relations, immunology, and civility".

[Why]: "They endure through literature and art and conversation and ritual. They endure in how we marry, how we write about one another, and how we care for our sick and aging ... Civilizations are sophisticated, noble, and morally good; other societies are uncivilized, backward, and unvirtuous".

Which leads me back to the collapse of our Catholic Church, specifically the religious collapse of faith within the Apostolic Line of Bishops who do not have the first clue why our Catholic religion is existentially important in eternity, but also right here and right now in our individual lives and also our collective social lives in "civilized" society. Collapse. Click! Turn off the lights. "The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass of Calvary and all Sacraments are hereby ended until further notice - have a nice day, best of luck, see you in a year or two, maybe".

Our "Western Civilization" is based on Christian religion and Greco-Roman philosophy and government. Foundational to our Christian religion is family - man, wife, children - and lives built around practical service in Love to God and "neighbor". But who will defend and advance this, if no one (few) in the Church (Bishops/Clerics) believes it any more?

We can't change the Bishops or Clerics. They have their duties and answer to God for them. We can change ourselves. Which is the point of this opinion, and my last one on introspection. What did we do in this time of trial? What should we do? What must we change so that we can do better next time? We can't change the world, but we can change our little piece of it, for which *we* will be personally judged by God.

Aqua said...

In response to rohrbachs's claim of "helicopter cash to Governors to lockdown" ...

Not sure about the money claim but we forget how Trump was the one who paradigm shifted the nation into accepting that the government's Executive Officer (President, Governor, Mayor) has authority to "turn off the economy"; "shut down the economy"; "lock down the economy" ... for whatever reason, as long as he deems it necessary in the context of what he deems an emergency. And to the extent he asked States to lockdown, he did provide Federal "funding" for his EOs.

I still remember the pit of fear in my stomach when I heard him say that "Bars, restaurants, food courts, gyms, and other indoor and outdoor venues where groups of people congregate should be closed" - "15 days to slow the spread". You don't just "turn off the economy" and expect it to come back the way it was. Obviously. Any more than you shut down Mass everywhere, indefinitely, and not expect souls to be thereby damned. From the first moment, I knew this would be catastrophic unless we got off those tracks, pronto.

We have not. It only got worse from there. We (American citizens and our Representatives in government) allowed it, encouraged it, and so now we have a new form of government - autocracy by executive fiat in a neverending emergency (which autocracies always are, by definition).

Again, to rohrbach's point: this article (linked) may not specify the exact amounts of money given to Governors, but it does show the precise timeline of this Covid-scam that has its genesis in Trump's own executive decisions and public crisis response framing. Worth a read, as a reminder of the totality of the insanity that led us to this precarious present position.

https://brownstone.org/articles/when-did-trump-change-his-mind-about-lockdowns/

- and -

https://brownstone.org/articles/donald-trumps-march-16-2020-press-conference-that-kicked-off-this-catastrophe-transcribed/

rohrbachs said...

Re: aqua brownstone article: All of Congress money eg cares act dished out to states had to have djt signature on it.


Also, though that brownstone author exposes a lot more on trump than he has in past, he did not make the key observation that trump *renewed* the national emergency declaration in SEPTEMBER 2020.

Anonymous of Ohio said...

JMJ

Sadly, because of possible job loss, I have to post as Anonymous of Ohio.

To put it succinctly:
-- Depriving us laity of access to both the Sacraments and the Holy Sacrifice for a prolonged period without serious reason is a grave, soul-endangering crime.
-- With very few exceptions, every bishop who did so should be laicized and then made to live the rest of their lives doing penance, like working on a hog farm or being a janitor: honest, but difficult labor.

Our Lady of Fatima, may Thy Immaculate Heart triumph very soon!!