I am not blind to the difficulties facing popes, patriarchs and bishops during the Plague Crisis. They creditably feel that they have a civic, a communal duty to care for the temporal good of the countries in which they are domiciled. And, to a degree, they are right. What would have been gained if the public had got the impression that the Plague became worse than it needed to be because of the Papists? For long centuries, the 'Monument' in London bore an inscription reminding passers by that the Great Fire of London was started by Catholics! (It wasn't.)
There does have to be a But. Facilities deemed 'essential' remained open in our towns. It is a telling illustration of the marginalisation of the Faith of Jesus in this land that the Presence of the Tabernacled Lord, that the offering of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, were dismissed as being of no more importance than public games of football.
And that bishops accepted this implicit adjustment of priorities.
Mind you, one English bishop did become rather uneasy about locking all his churches up. And he has wondered why non-Christian places of worship appeared to feel these pressures perhaps rather less strongly than the CBCEW did.
We can all think "what should have been done". In Poland, the idea was raised of having so many Masses that congregations could be socially spaced in Church ... or in the open spaces where Mass happened. Every priest could have been given faculties to say five Masses a day and ten on Sundays! Yes ... ideas could cheerfully abound ...
Part of what I want to say is that pastors should not have panicked. But even more important than that ...
Pastors should responsibly discuss some of the key issues involved, real issues in secular Britain, such as the pressures put on Churches by the State. And, after all, it will not quite wash to say that "Nobody could know that Coronavirus was coming". A decade ago, Avian 'flu' appeared to be a lethal menace, and detailed planning took place. The fact that Avian 'flu' never took off does not change the fact that many people have felt that a major pandemic was a distinct and continuing probability.
PF is now planning his next preoccupying ego-trip, which will double up as another episode in his plan radically to damage the Catholic Church. A Synod on, er, Synodality. You couldn't make it up, could you?
So here he is, preparing to fly off yet again to Kai Lung's Garden of Bright Images; to the Land of the Giants whom Don Quixote (should have gone to Specsavers) so valiantly attacked.