By Their Fruits We will Know Them
The Lantern Vol 17
As I continue to deal with the sexual abuse crisis in our Church, I come across many people who have abandoned the practice of their faith.
My fellow Catholics often use the abuse crisis and bad priests and bishops as their reason for not attending mass. I try to point out that you do not judge any faith by those people who do not follow it, rather by the people who do. For every bad priest and bishop there is a Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Scripture tells us “You will know them by their fruits” Matthew 7:15
I usually try to show them, their reasoning is poor, but today I am wrong, they are spot on.
The topic of the day is the Coronavirus and its effects on our church.
Right now, most people cannot attend mass, because of dysfunctional theology and bad examples.
We have decided “in this crisis” not to have Mass.
It makes perfect sense to try to contain large groups from meeting, and we have to make decisions of what must stay open based on importance. Decisions should be based on fact, not hysteria or popular trends.
First. let’s look at the Catholic Mass in our own diocese of Altoona/Johnstown.
After all of the church abuse and the leaderships lack of proper response, most of our masses already look like Catholics have decided to “self isolate”.
Over crowded churches were, and are not the problem. When Bishops dispensed people from Mass, the attendance dropped further. Morning masses are usually 10-20 people in a church built for 300 or more.
How much social distancing do we need?
Why did we not just schedule more masses (as some countries did) and ask families to come at different times? We could have asked people to sign up online, we could have asked families to space apart in the pews. Why was there no effort made to show how important the sacraments are?
Locally, when the bishop decided to deny the sacraments, why did he also deny the worship? Faithful were not even allowed to watch. The premise emits an aurora of selfishness and self centeredness, as if we should not bother participating if we can’t get something in return.
The darkness that has enveloped our church goes deeper than that.
Priests were instructed to have their masses in private so people could not even be at the church when a mass is said.
So the ten people who were just watching mass, not receiving communion, socially distancing themselves, were denied worship.
The parishes belong to the laity and they are supposed to be our homes, our refuge in times of trouble and we are kicked out of mass.
How do we justify this?
St John Chrysostom wrote “The soul of a bishop is for all the world like a vessel in a storm: lashed from every side, by friends, by foes, by one’s own people, by strangers . . . I do not think there are many among bishops that will be saved, but many more that perish.”
We are in a storm and the Bishops left the ship and commanded the priests to go with them. We are to stay here and go down with the ship.
Even in Rome, select churches were reopened to the faithful and priests were seen giving communion on the streets.
Our problem is easy to see if we look at the words and reactions of secular society. All nonessential places were asked to close.
Many, many businesses changed how they operated because to them, it was vitally important to stay open. Today, I write from my office.
I had many employees work from home. I arranged it so my remaining staff and crew could social distance and keep working, because apparently my business is more important to me, than God is to our Bishops.
Catholic leaders gave up! In reality or practicality, to them, God is nonessential.
Please understand, I completely agree with the Bishops removing the requirement for Sunday mass attendance .
People are not called to heroic sanctity, but stopping priests from having small masses with their congregations is absurd. The Bishops are preventing people from giving God worship as if their decision outranks our love of God or His commandments.
So where does this leave us as examples in the christian community?
I no longer see my morning mass group at church. We can only exchange our good wishes at the altar of Walmart, gas stations, beer outlets, and every other activity that was considered essential.
We are thinking as men do, not like God does, ""For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight 1 corinthians 3:19
As a Catholic, I am far more concerned with my children's spiritual life than whether they will get the Covid19. Yes, as a father and husband I have prepared my house for the flu season but that is not the most serious danger here.
The danger is the theological sickness that has so perverted the body of Christ .
In the shadow of physical death, our Bishops have invited spiritual death. We are running to Walmart not to God.
We are hoarding when we should be Lording.
I was created for one purpose, to know love and serve God.
Now , at a time when Catholics are worried about their souls, they are barred from the body and blood of Christ.
God has and always will hold my life in His hands. When he calls me I will come, but I hope I die filled with His Son’s body and blood. I pray George is unrecognizable, that he only sees an earthly tabernacle filled with His Son.
We have taken a purely secular approach to this crisis and thrown our faith out the window as if it is some option that we can apply later, when we have taken the “proper” steps.
If we stop going to mass, then we are already dead. We become worthless, because we no longer function for our created purpose.
We must remember that evil does not exist in itself, rather it is the lack of good, the lack of God.
So when we say God can take something evil and make it good, we are really just pointing out that God dispels the evil, by His mere presence in any situation. A presence that to a great degree we are now denied.
The virus has once again shown us how lost our church leadership is. We see the same moral guidance which has been devastating the faith.
It reminds us that we follow moral guidance from men who have demonstrated they do not possess it.
The virus was never a threat to a person in a State of Grace. One who dies filled with the Body and Blood of Christ will live forever. Now however, the virus is truly dangerous, because we are cut off from the Bread of Life.
Maybe the Bishops will come back to their senses and realize
God is essential, and we should fight for him, even if it means we get the flu.
By their fruits we will know them, and right now, something is rotten.