20 March 2020


Mindful of admonitions about Social Distancing, I looked out of my garden and ascertained that I could get to the large open space a hundred yards away without going anywhere near a human being at all ... let alone within two yards. I made the dash in safely; and started to walk through a part-time cow-field.

He came up behind me quite unheard: not, sadly, a friendly bull, but a jogger. In this big open empty space, acres in which he could gambol and frolic, the young man swept past me within inches of my right elbow. With a spasm of irritation, I swerved out of the 'wake' of his 'droplets' and pursued a different trajectory.

I think, for many people, coronavirus is some tedious background noise which they barely hear. Paradoxically, this chap probably sees his jogging as 'healthy', yet ...

But should I have worried, still less felt my (only too shamefully characteristic) irritation? Should I not have been prepared, with resignation, simply to "accept God's will"?

Well, perhaps. But I'm not sure. On Thursday, the Solemnity of S Joseph coincided with the beata solemnitas (so described!) of Ss Cosmas and Damian, the Silverless Physicians whose cultus so graciously unites both East and West. Many brother priests may have read the Gospel of the Mass of those twin popular health-workers and martyrs as the Last Gospel of the Mass of S Joseph. In it, we have the account of S Peter's Mother-in-law (penthera) being cured of her fever (puretos); we hear about the crowds who came to the Lord be healed ... and were not turned away. We are, surely, hardwired by a beneficent Creator to seek our physical health as a licit and attainable good. Indeed, loving care of our own bodies is a Christian duty.

But bodily 'health' is not an ultimate and overriding good.

The period towards the end of the 500s had seen a Roman plague which took off S Gregory's papal predecessor Pelagius with many of his flock ... as well as other catastrophes such as the murderous incursions of the Lombards ... who are now back in our News! The woes of this period undoubtedly left their mark on the liturgies of the 'Gesima' Sundays and, I suspect, of Lent itself. And in these liturgical formularies, we constantly hear the refrain, taken from the Law the Prophets and the Writings: we are being justly afflicted for our iniquities, have mercy upon us. The Church's teaching appears to be communitarian rather than individualistic. What was true of ancient Israel is true of today: as a community we have sinned; as a community we are being punished.

This, in my opinion, is the teaching which we need and which we are given. I see no point in curious questions about how a 'loving God' can 'allow' such things. Ultimately, I feel, such demands imply an anthropomorphic Deity imagined as a kindly old gent or gentess who doesn't want anybody ever to feel miserable.We should cease cataphatic demands for explanations; and attempt to be a bit more apophatic.

Meanwhile, with the Holy People of God now banned in many places from the August Sacrifice, I sense a particular personal involvement, as I offer that Sacrifice, in the burdens, desires, and prayers of millions of lay people. We are not physically together, but the Victim which lies upon my paten is your Victim too. Today, tomorrow, and for as long as God gives me to offer It.

May God bless and keep all of you ... all of us.


scotchlil said...

"But bodily 'health' is not an ultimate and overriding good." ABSOLUTELY! One day we shall all have to die of something - but not, preferably, deprived of the grace of the sacraments! Bravo, Father!

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

It is no surprise that Bishops have shuttered the Churches and forbidden the faithful to assist at Mass because since the 1962-1965 BCE (Bestest Council Ever) revolution we have become anthropocentric rather than Theocentric and we have become far more concerned about our bodies than our souls.

The Bishops seem afraid of the State and opposing the Presidential guidelines - as though Trump is worthy of respect or obedience or his crummy CDC is worthy of either -is considered anathema.

What witness to the truth would be that Bishop who tells his priests - You may offer Mass when and wherever you desire and the faithful can decide whether or not to assist at Mass and for those who have been overcome by bad science and fear, I will dispense from the Sunday obligation.

Fr PJM said...

And if it is not bad science, ABS, and someone dies because a person went to a not forbidden public Mass, and subsequently infected a vulnerable person? "Thou shalt not kill" comes from God too, just as much as "Keep holy the Lords Day". Indeed, Commandments inculcating the doing of something, admit of conditions and even exceptions. Commandments prohibiting intrinsically evil actions admit of no exceptions.

Voice from the roof top said...

God bless you Amateur Brain Surgeon.

Banshee said...

Actually, in time of plague, Baptism and Confession have historically beem considered the most important Sacraments because they save people. Communion is considered a sort of spiritual nutrient that helps us live on, spiritually, but anyone who has already received Communion during life is in good shape to hold off until later.

If you're dispensed from the Easter duty, you are dispensed.

There have historically been tons of times in Christendom when churches have been closed, and when the only Masses said have been private. It is not cowardice but prudence for bishops to order such things; it is their right and duty as our spiritual fathers. Our temporal leaders should be followed on matters of law, as long as they do not order us to sin.

We all have to judge between prudence and the needs of our neighbors and ourselves, and act as seems best. This is not new in the Christian life. It is perhaps how we learn how to judge angels.

Simple Simon said...

Heartfelt thanks for including us in your Mass father. A priests blessing is a wondrous grace. Deo gratias. How many priests have reminded their flock that sin is more widespread and deadlier than Covid 19? Where is the cry from the heart to embrace an austere life of penance?

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear VFTRT Thank you

Dear Father. It is not breaking "The shalt not kill" commandment if one innocently infects another with a virus and one can readily look up the morbidity and mortally rate of last year's flu season at The CDC and see how wildly wrong are the "guidelines."

It would be fun to ask those making all of these demands to define morbidity.

O, and as for Tiny Tony Fauci of the crummy CDC he should be asked why his agency has been so derelict in its duties when it comes to this year's infectious virus. The CDC has a very long record of failure and misuse of public monies.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

O, and as for Tony Fauci, during yesterday's new conference he could be seen coughing into his hand and wiping his snotty nose on the forearm of his suit.

One supposes he was modeling behavior of what to do when one has a cold

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

See Tiny Tony teaching the world how to act if one has a cold - cough into your hand, wipe your snotty nose on your the forearm of your suit


Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father, The link below is useful to remind your readers of previous media/govt (establishment all) induced panics.

So sad The Bishops were stampeded into their rash reaction but not at all surprising seeing as they have become infected with anthropocentrism.


Your readers can easily discover the morbidity and mortality rates of those who were on that cruise ship and once they do the panic will subside.

Here is useful blog when these recurring health panics strike


Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. Last comment on this thread and thank you for your patience with ABS whose local Publix grocery store is open daily for him to go and buy bread whereas his Bishop (like most Bishops) denies ABS The Holy Holocaust and the Bread of Life which seems to suggest the local secularists have more courage and concern for their customers than the Bishops have for their communicants .

Secular Publix will not deny men their daily bread but Bishops will deny the faithful the Bread of Life.

Of course, the comparing and contrasting could go on, but 'nuff said.