Rorate Caeli

Cancelling Masses to stop an epidemic?

Both secular and Catholic news media are now full of reports (such as this) that, in response to the swine flu epidemic, the Archdiocese of Mexico had cancelled Masses without exception last Sunday, April 26. Apparently, churches in Mexico City remain closed up to now.
This is deeply disturbing. Our prayers and sympathies are with the people of Mexico as they come to grips with this terrible scourge. However, should we not ask out loud: is this the way to combat disease: by preventing the faithful from attending Holy Mass?
This does seem odd in a country where, only in the last century, people risked torture and martyrdom in order to attend clandestine Masses! Are we missing something?

78 comments:

Prodinoscopus said...
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Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John (Ad Orientem) said...

Are we missing something?Yes. This is not caving into persecution. This is a prudent response to a dangerous epidemic. I do not believe the discipline of the Church obligates one to act in a manner which endangers the public safety.

Christ is risen!
John

Dim Bulb said...

It is estimated that in 14th century Europe the black death (bubonic plague) killed between 25 and 50 million people in the span of just four years. At the height of the Spanish Influenza (March 1918-June 1920) it is estimated that 50 to 100 million people died.

Persecutions tend to be limited to specific areas where the persecutors have power or influence (i.e, national borders). Victims tend to be limited to those within the boundaries who belong to a specific group or groups (religious, social, political, ethnic).

Viruses tend to be very open-minded, the seldom discriminate, and they know on borders. Not having Mass seems to me to be both prudent and an act of charity.

m_hyland said...

The same thought crossed my mind when I read about this in the news. What better time to go to Mass than when you are threatened. This is a time to pray, not be holed up at home.

Anonymous said...

No Masses....this one is hard to understand.

Anonymous said...

What is the underlying thought to 'cancelling' Masses in regards to this epidemic?

Doesn't this implicitly deny the Trust one has to have in the Mass? Another thought is, maybe this is a scourge for the abuses that are proliferated through Communion in the Hand and bi-communicating (i.e. taking both the host and wine, sorry for my ignorance on the proper term). In a lot of ways 'Communicating via both species' in some ways dilutes the fact we receive Our Lord in either species.
In a lot of ways this is the separation of the wheat from the chaff....

Anonymous said...

In lieu of canceling Masses, it might have been better if the Cardinal Archbishop of Mexico City had simply stated that the faithful were released from any obligation to attend Mass while the epidemic is ongoing. This crisis is just the type of situation in which the faithful who desire to, should be able to attend Mass.

I am glad that the 'Cristo' has been taken in procession around Mexico City-Paul

Quietus said...

Have your masks on, but, for God's sake, go to Mass. Nothing is more important in a time of danger.

Gideon Ertner said...

"Could this mark the beginning of full-scale persecution of the Church in the democratic West, now that the social reign of Christ has been overthrown?"

No.

Gideon Ertner said...

It is perfectly common sense and legitimate to discourage people from gathering in crowded public spaces during an outbreak of severe, easily communicable disease. It may even be argued that it is a duty of competent authority.

After all, I believe that individual Catholics are obliged not to go to a Church (or any other public space) if they know that they are thereby exposing others to danger.

Anonymous said...

this shouldnt prevent priests to say private masses in the closed churches in mexico....ad majorem Dei Gloriam

Stephen said...

Hopefully priests are still saying Mass!!! It is simply the people are not in physical attendance. They can still make spiritual communion.

Wm. Christopher Hoag said...

This does not mean no Masses!

Private Masses and the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours continues. The obligation to hear Mass as the common fulfillment of the Third Commandment.

Anonymous said...

No, too dramatic. Mexico City has a real emergency. The Church there is being prudent.

Anonymous said...

It is ridiculous to cancel Masses.

But the outbreak of the Swine flu could be a blessing in disguise, because it highlights how contagious diseases like this are, and how easilly germs are passed from one person to another.

With that in mind, the Catholic Church should ban altogether, not only due to Swine flu, but just because it is a disgusting and unsanitary innovation, the recieving of Holy Communion from the "common cup"- to use the Protestant wording that is so often used in parishes describing the practice.

IN times of pandemic, or just ordinary flu season and in fact anytime of year recieving Holy Communion from a "common cup" risks spreading a whole host of germs, disease, and infections.
The flu and common colds come fastest to mind.
But there is also herpes, and worst of all, hepatitis which can be spread from a "common cup".
Rare are caese of meningitis being spread this way, but that is also possible.

Unfortunatly, recieving Holy Communion on the tongue might in times of pandemic be unsanitary, because the priests fingers are bound to touch the tongue of at least 1 person, and this can spread a disease. Ordinarilly not, but in times of pandemic or serious flue outbreak, yes.

But seriously, the Vatican should perminantly ban two gross innovations which can and do spread disease and all kinds of infection all times of the year.

1) The Sign of Peace (handshaking)
2) Holy Communion from " a common cup"

DJR said...

Common sense to me would be to discontinue "Communion from the Cup."

Hebdomadary said...

One also wonders whether the priests in the Diocese of Mexico continued to say their masses privately, or whether they were too terrified that they might catch something from the chalice. Satan, in whatever political form one finds him, will continue to find creative ways to persecute the Church...with the increasing return of tradition, he will now try to kill what he cannot stop.

I have to say, when I heard that this virus was a composite of four different viruses, the first thing I wondered was exactly which lab it eminated from, and why it was put out into the public sector...not to mention who put it out there and why. The next thing that comes to mind is what is its programmed development. Oh, call me conspiratorial, but this doesn't sound at all like a natural developmeng virus to me.

And in any event, mass shall go on. In my house if necessary, and my humble little religious group will continue to meet, in my house if necessary, in order to pray together that the worst might be averted. Any other course of action would be mere faithlessness.

Prodinoscopus said...

Some surprising responses.

Does "public safety" trump the obligation that is owed to Almighty God?

Were Masses suspended during the bubonic plague?

Have SSPX chapels been closed in Mexico City? What about FSSP? ICK?

Prodinoscopus said...

John, I'm not saying that the Church is caving into persecution ... yet. So far the suspension of Masses is voluntary. Again, I ask: what happens when the government orders the local ordinary to suspend Masses? Should he pay tribute to Caesar? What does he owe to God?

Anonymous said...

Prudence! As a priest once said, some people would preach prudence to Our Lord on the Cross!

What is the worst that can happen? Isn't Heaven supposed to be what we are all striving for? Why does everyone cling to this life as if this is all they believe in?

Sometimes I really wonder if any one has any faith.

Hestor said...

They cancel the very thing that might save help them!

Salvatore Guisepe said...

To me it is common sense to stop having Masses. During persecutions, you were at risk at home or at Mass, where with a virus, as pointed out, is much more likely to spread in a crowded room than not. Also as said above, this isn't persecution of a group, this is a virus, which does not care what religion you are.

If you want the graces, have priests continue to say Masses, just in private. Work out some way (this would be difficult and hard to implement) so that there is some type of rotation, so Churches are not crowded, but only have a small group of people, minimizing the chances of spreading the virus.

Ken said...

A better response would be to only have the priest receive communion, and tell the congregation not to touch each other.

Of course, the novus ordo would probably rather no liturgy than those conditions.

SJH said...

Hopefully the priests will realize that even if they can't open their Churches to worshipers, they must still offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and that it is needed more now than ever.

Anonymous said...

How many have died? About 150? And that, in the city's population of 20+ million? The media is stirring up hysteria.

I think the devil must love it when a country cancels all Masses! That alone would tell me that the bishops must not do it.

Edgar Fernandez said...

Although I do not live in Mexico City but Guadalajara (we can still thank God the epidemic has not reach us yet) The reason why the obligation to attend sunday mass in Mexico City was dispensed by Cardinal Rivera is the same reason why Soccer games were played without any spectator, cinemas and malls were closed and people have been told to stay at their homes (the whole school system from nursery to university suspended activities until May 6th). The virus spreads human to human through your eyes, nose and mouth from a person that is carrying the virus by just speaking or touching him so I think in this case is a wise and prudent decision by our church authorities.

Also let me clarify that the cardinal did order his priest to celebrate their daily masses in private and to offer them for 9 days for the people that are suffering from the disease and the health of the Mexican people.

Also, the temples are open and have been open for people to pray there and I heard this morning in the news that masses were celebrated yesterday and today.

And Prodinoscopus, this situation has nothing to do with persecution from the goverment but everybody including the Church trying to help each other reduce the disemination of the epidemic. Remember we Mexicans know very well what religious persecution was like during the last century.

Anonymous said...

Had I been in Mexico City at the time, I would have simply driven to the next Diocese over and attended Mass there, taking the caution of wearing a mask and not receiving Holy Communion.

The comparison to the Black Death is inadmissible. The Black Death would not have slowed whether Masses had been cancelled or not. The fleas would have leapt from the black rats in any event. To escape it, you had to get far into the countryside.

P.K.T.P.

Martin said...

I don't think this is intriguing. The "Swine Flu" looks like the Perfect Storm indeed to further the globalist, secularist agenda.

By the way, hardly anyone noticed, "thanks" to the Swine, that Sebellius was appointed today in the U.S. Prior to this perfect storm, the appointment looked very problematic indeed. But now of course we have been told that we needed her to "fight the pandemic". What a lie. But it worked perfectly.

Yes, one day, each of us will die. It is a sad thing to acknowledge for those who do not believe in Christ.

Anonymous said...

The priests there should be encouraged to say mass without their congregations. Hopefully they (the bishop and priests) know that's still okay.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"It is estimated that in 14th century Europe the black death (bubonic plague) killed between 25 and 50 million people in the span of just four years. At the height of the Spanish Influenza (March 1918-June 1920) it is estimated that 50 to 100 million people died."

Yes, and even in those days of limited medical information people knew the risks of catching the fatal disease simply by going out, but the Church never, ever suspended Masses and liturgical services.

I'm intrigued that the churches are being closed, and Masses are being suspended, but economic activity and workplaces in Mexico remain open. What does that say?

"This is a prudent response to a dangerous epidemic. I do not believe the discipline of the Church obligates one to act in a manner which endangers the public safety."

By the same token, attendance in Mass should be suspended in times of war and strong earthquakes

Daniel said...

What a Good Opportunity to pray before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament for these poor souls in Mexico & elsewhere!

Dan Hunter said...

Interesting that the FSSPX chapel in Mexico City stayed open and they filled the church to overflowing from the people who could not go to their Novus Ordo "swine flu infected", church.

Paul Haley said...

If I'm not mistaken, the churches in Mexico are under control of the state and the bishops have no choice but to go along. They still have the Rosary, though, and the prayers of all of us in the Church that God will be Merciful and stop this terrible virus.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

By the same token, attendance in Mass should be suspended in times of war and strong earthquakesI think your analogies are not quite fair.

Wars are not contagious disease. But one would certainly suspend Mass during an air raid I would hope. Earthquakes are also not contagious. But if one is actually going on, common sense would suggest stopping and evacuating until it has ceased shaking.

Christ is risen!
John

Jordanes said...

You make very good points, Mr. Palad, and I think you're right that this decision to suspend Masses is an overreaction that belies their priorities.

Still, I had to chuckle about your comment, "By the same token, attendance in Mass should be suspended in times of war and strong earthquakes." If a massive earthquake were wracking a city where a church was located, or, say, bombs or missiles or mortar fire were hurtling towards the church during a war, I would be more than understanding if the bishop suspended Mass.

Yes, I know, that wasn't your point. I just found your comment a little funny. Maybe it's my lack of sleep.

M.A. said...

"I have to say, when I heard that "this virus was a composite of four different viruses, the first thing I wondered was exactly which lab it eminated from, and why it was put out into the public sector...not to mention who put it out there and why. The next thing that comes to mind is what is its programmed development. Oh, call me conspiratorial, but this doesn't sound at all like a natural developmeng virus to me."

All for the purpose of forcing the United Americas, and eventually ushering in the One World Order.

I am so glad the Society has initiated the Rosary Crusade! Do people really understand the apocalyptic times in which we live?

As Sr. Lucia stated, the devil has begun his final confrontation with Our Lady.

Mexico, be assured of my prayers for all of you

prodinoscopus said...

Interesting that the FSSPX chapel in Mexico City stayed open and they filled the church to overflowing from the people who could not go to their Novus Ordo "swine flu infected", church.Appalling! How imprudent of them! What could they be thinking? Are they not willing to co-operate with the community in managing the crisis? They should really be ashamed! ;-)

Anonymous said...

One comment more (at least). I note that the epidemic is centred at Mexico City, the place in Mexico where politicians have begun their abortion revolution, legalising child-murder there. Is God displeased?

When the floods hit New Orleans, they wiped out every single abortuary. So saith Fr.-Bsp.-and then Fr. Gerhard Wagner.

P.K.T.P.

A. S. Redding said...

I note that in recent days the Australian government has rushed through draconian quarantine legislation aimed at suspected carriers of the swine flu from other countries.

This affords an instructive contrast with earlier Australian (and other) governments' complete failure to implement any quarantining legislation whatever during the 1980s, against those sexual inverts who consciously and cold-bloodedly spread AIDS.

Moral: possible flu carriers may be punished; homicidal sodomites may not.

Peter said...

Experts to the left of me, experts to the right of me, conspiracy theorists surrounding me.

RE: lab escaped virus to further somebody's agenda: always choose cockup before conspiracy.

Flu viruses recombine to give new variants. There is no need to invoke some bizarre theory.

RE: conspiracy to stop Mass. People are not bound to endanger their health. Next thing some of you will be advocating drinking poison and picking up snakes ...

Prudence indeed can be exercised.

It is distressing, but as we say in Australia, I suggest some of you have a Bex (aspirin), a nice cup of tea, and a little lie down.

And let's pray for the afflicted.

Peter

Johannes said...

M'sieu Palad had it to the letter. Unless they suspend secular work, school, Cinemas, shopping centres, sporting events and ect. it is most difficult not to see this as an over-anxious misstep that, in truth, hurts the very cause it allegedly is for. Pestilence is never cause for infidelity - mass infidelity is the cause of pestilence. Common sense. Fear disease more than God - this, yes, this is common; I see no sense in it though.

Gideon Ertner said...

M.A.:

"Do people really understand the apocalyptic times in which we live?"

Probably not. But bear in mind that we have been living in these "apocalyptic times" all the way from AD 33. Today is neither more nor less apocalytic than then.

Jane Teresa said...

I assume this refers to public Masses, rather than private Masses. Reasonable justification might be made for cancelling public Masses, but private Masses should certainly continue, the Priests offering the Holy Sacrifice in persona Christi in fear and trembling at a time of epidemic.

If there is grave danger that public Masses will hasten the epidemic, then it would seem to be sensible, though of regret, to prevent the faithful from attending public Masses.

The Church, in discerning this matter, has to take its lead from scientific evidence; not the State.

However, private Masses should most definitely continue. Without the Mass you have a desert. The faithful can participate in the graces imparted by the offering of Mass by making spiritual Communions.

Anonymous said...

First, if you are going to forbid Masses then prevent other gatherings of individuals where diseases can be spread: office buildings, factories, aircraft, concerts. Has this also been done?

Secondly, similar concerns were raised by Government authorities regarding a swine flu outbreak in 1976. In the U.S. one person died from swine flu and 25+ persons died from the swine flu vacine and the Ford administration was forced to suspend its distribution.

Anonymous said...

It took a week, but there is a rumor that this flu came first in the Veracruz state where giant pig farms have been established to the chagrin of locals. A major stockholder in some of this is the US firm "Smithfield" formerly, if not now, of Smithfield, Virginia.

Close quarters on this pig farm helped get two or more influenza viruses in some pigs simultaneously. The viruses then got the pig's internal machinery mixed up and hybridization occurred in the virus.
VOILA ! A really infectious influenza that was "different enough" to spread rapidly.

I agree, the "best" solution was to release people from their mass obligation, but attending in a large collection of people who are "only a little ill" is the "best" way to infect MANY more people.

Tinchus said...

"This is a prudent response to a dangerous epidemic. I do not believe the discipline of the Church obligates one to act in a manner which endangers the public safety."

By the same token, attendance in Mass should be suspended in times of war and strong earthquakes
No. Because if you go to mass during an earthquake you are just putting yourself under risk. But under these conditions, you are putting not just yourself under risk, but also every person which gets in contact with you.

Salvatore Guisepe said...

"Unless they suspend secular work, school, Cinemas, shopping centres, sporting events and ect. it is most difficult not to see this as an over-anxious misstep that, in truth, hurts the very cause it allegedly is for."

I point you above to one of the most thorough and rational posts here, with some better knowledge then most of us:

"The reason why the obligation to attend sunday mass in Mexico City was dispensed by Cardinal Rivera is the same reason why Soccer games were played without any spectator, cinemas and malls were closed and people have been told to stay at their homes (the whole school system from nursery to university suspended activities until May 6th)."
-Edgar Fernandez

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"Still, I had to chuckle about your comment, "By the same token, attendance in Mass should be suspended in times of war and strong earthquakes." If a massive earthquake were wracking a city where a church was located, or, say, bombs or missiles or mortar fire were hurtling towards the church during a war, I would be more than understanding if the bishop suspended Mass."

Well, Jordanes, I wasn't able to explain myself more carefully. I guess I still forget at times that I operate from a different background than most of the combox commentators here.

When I mentioned "times of war", I was thinking of how, in countless wars past, public Masses continued in many cities that were under siege or bombardment. For example, while the Battle of Manila raged in 1945, many churches in Manila remained open, with prayers and liturgical services continuing even as the Americans and Japanese exchanged fire over the heads of the people.

I would understand if the people were to be dispensed from the OBLIGATION to attend Mass, but to prevent them from even voluntarily attending Mass is something else.

As for earthquake... well, obviously, Masses can't continue during an actual earthquake, but do remember that major earthquakes are normally followed by aftershocks that can still cause damage and can pose dangers to the people. Not for nothing did some medieval Missals have special votive Masses in times of earthquake.

Besides, I find it interesting that Mexico City's Masses were closed to the public, but workplaces and the subway have been told to remain open for the sake of the city's economic activity.

I think we need to discuss priorities here....

Anonymous said...

Are the mosques, Jewish centers and protestant sects closed?

Johnny Domer said...

Well, it's a sad situation, and I don't think there's any really good answer. Having lots of people in one place spreads the flu. If you have public Masses, lots of people will be together in one place, and there's a great risk of spreading the flu. I certainly hope that the priests of Mexico are continuing to offer private Mass daily, and that smaller public Masses are being held throughout the week, but I don't know that we can be too harsh on the Mexican bishops for this decision.

I also honestly don't think we can label this "religious persecution," or the beginnings of a government crackdown on religion. It's a matter of public health. If anything, the Mexican government seems to be in certain ways less hostile to the Church now than she was 20 years ago, when priests didn't even have the right to vote.

Also, NO, this isn't a denial of the trust one should have in the Mass. In the Mass, I believe Christ is really present in the Eucharist, that He offers Himself to the Father, that this Sacrifice is made truly present, etc. I don't have (nor do I need to have it, since it is nowhere in the Church's teachings on the subject) any trust that the guy next to me in the pew won't accidentally sneeze on me and get me sick because we're both at Mass.

Some people also argue that you won't get sick from receiving the Precious Blood at Communion...um, yes, you can get sick from it. Nowhere did Christ promise that the Eucharist kills bacteria. I think it's a bit superstitious to say that you can't get sick from it.

Gregory Thaumaturgas said...

To me it seems that attending Mass should be mandatory in all cases, except in that of grave public danger (ie., very dangerous diseases) or even if you're sick... don't go to Church!

Anonymous said...

Before anyone accuses the prelate of Mexico City of infidelity, the Remnant Newspaper today reported that the Cardinal of Mexico City has called people to pray a Novena to Our Lady of Guadaloupe that She would deliver Mexico and its capital from this pestilence just as She has done 4 or 5 notable times in the past few hundred years.

I'm no canon expert, but I know that when SARS hit Toronto, the distribution of Holy Communion at Holy Mass was stopped for a few weeks and according to a traditionalist brother, this was a legitimate action by the Cardinal of Toronto.

To some of the comments on this blog, private Masses by priests or by families would not be included in this.

Having said that, I also know of many faithful who, for example, remained firmly planted at Holy Mass when bombs crashed through the roof of their Church during Holy Mass, during WW2. A wonderful testimony to this Faith is in the Church at a town called Mosta, in Malta, which boasts the 3rd largest dome in Europe, after Santa Sophia in Istanbul and St Peter's. During a Nazi air raid in WW2, thefaithful were assisting at Holy Mass when a huge bomb crashed through the roof of the Church. The priest and faithful remained until the Sacrifice was complete. The bomb miraculously never went off and is today still on display, along with several black and white photographs of the hole in the Church ceiling at the time in 1942 or 1943.

If the Church authorities in Mexico are being legitimately prudent, one can certainly forgive a number of faithful for wanting to put their Faith in the Holy Mass, through the intercession of the Health of the Sick, rather than secular quarantine measures.

In Our Lady of Good Success - keep us from pestilence, pray for us

Toronto Anon

Rubricarius said...

I would have thought the best thing would be to pray that this outbreak does not spread too far and for the people who will inevitably die.

I was deeply saddened to learn this afternoon of the death of the 23 month old child in the USA.

Anonymous said...

Carlos Antonio Palad,

You rhetorically asked if Mass should be suspended during times of war on account of public safety. During an *air raid* in the course of a war, yes, Mass would justly be suspended.

-- Bonifacius

wsxyz said...

Bonifacius: Would and Should are two different words -- just wanted to point that out.

M.A. said...

Gideon,

" 'Do people really understand the apocalyptic times in which we live?'"

"Probably not. But bear in mind that we have been living in these "apocalyptic times" all the way from AD 33. Today is neither more nor less apocalytic than then."

We are at that point in history when those of us now living may very well experience the climax of the final confrontation between Satan and the Virgin. I would say these times are "more Apocalytic".

Jordanes said...

Many have thought so through the centuries, M.A. You could be right, but right or wrong, let’s make sure we’re ready when He comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead.

Prodinoscopus said...

It seems to me that if a bishop allows public Masses to continue in time of pestilence, it is not with the intention to endanger the public health. His intention is to honor the Lord and to fulfill God's commandment to keep holy the Sabbath. The risk of spreading disease is an unintended and undesired consequence. Now, given that the spiritual health of the bishop's flock is also at stake, it seems that our application of the virtue of prudence should be broadened a bit.

Jordanes said...

No one is obligated to endanger one’s health or life in order to go to Mass on the Lord’s Day. In such circumstances there is no Sunday obligation to fulfill, and therefore no danger to their spiritual health.

Pablo said...

Here is the Roman Catholic response to this outbreak and all outbreaks:

In 589, the rains and the floods which deluged Italy threatened once and for all to submerge the peninsula. Homes, farms, government houses were carried off in the raging waters, to be dashed to pieces in the headlong rush and float as driftwood out into the sea. The Tiber River next overflowed its banks, and in the twinkling of an eye, the great Church granaries bulging with corn were filled with water, and the precious food hopelessly destroyed.
Pestilence then stalked the streets of Rome, and the corpses of the dead piled up in the silent thoroughfares, to await common burial in the pits outside the walls. When things were at their darkest, at the very height of the misery, a blow more devastating than all the rest descended upon the prostrate Romans. Word came that Pope Pelagius had fallen victim of the dread plague. Gregory became Pope.
The pestilence increased in intensity. When the people seemed unable to bear it any longer, Saint Gregory mounted the pulpit of Saint Peter’s, and despite an almost overpowering illness and his inability to ever raise his poor, weak voice above a certain pitch, he preached a sermon so comforting and so reassuring that the hearts of the people were raised to hope. He promised that the whole stricken city would so bombard heaven with prayers that God and His Mother would find it impossible to resist them. To this end, he asked that the people join in a huge procession, to set out from each of the seven regions of Rome and all to come together at the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They were to storm Heaven with their prayers on the way, to entreat God to lift from their afflicted city the terrible plague which He had allowed to come upon it, and to ask Him to forgive them their sins.
The great procession set out, each of the seven divisions from its appointed place. There marched: the clergy of Rome, the monks, the nuns, the children, the laymen, the widows, the married women, each group led by a priest from one of the seven areas of the city. And as they wended their dolorous way, eighty of the marchers fell dead of the plague.
It must have been a moving sight even for the august court of Heaven, to look down upon this slow advance of desperately praying people, holding lighted tapers and chanting with feverish voices the Kyrie eleison. It must have looked, from Heaven, as if a great seven-branched candlestick were ablaze upon one whole corner of the earth. And the ancient cry of the Kyrie eleison — “Lord have mercy” — which had so often assailed the ears of Jesus as He passed healing down the streets of Palestine, must still have had the power to move His Sacred Heart to pity.
As Saint Gregory was passing over the bridge of Saint Peter’s, a heavenly vision consoled the long line of the faithful. The Archangel Saint Michael was seen over the tomb of the Emperor Hadrian, sheathing his flaming sword in token that the pestilence was over. And at the same moment, Saint Gregory heard angelic voices singing the antiphon, “Queen of Heaven, rejoice!” The great monk made answer, “Pray for us to the Lord, alleluia.”

Taken from the history of Holy Mother Church.

May God our Lord in his infinite and supreme goodness be pleased to give us his abundant grace, that we may know his most holy will, and entirely fulfill it.

M.A. said...

"The media is stirring up hysteria."

Egypt has ordered that all the pigs in its country - 300,000 according to the news - be slaughtered, even though there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted through swine. The media is responsible for this frenzied panic, and you can bet there is a reason for this.

We have much to pray for because that One World Order looms straight ahead. If only the entire Catholic world would don sack cloth and ashes!

Pablo, I was edified by your writing.

Prodinoscopus said...

Thank you, Pablo. That is an inspiring story and a welcomed perspective. God bless!

Terry said...

This is a practical measure, in response to a specific event: people are dying of the flu in Mexico, and congregations of people are more likely to spread the flu. I don't see anything that suggests that the priests in Mexico, taking proper precautions, couldn't take the Eucharist to the people...but there is danger in that as well. As a priest of mine once said, "even if its the blood of Jesus, you can still get drunk on it." Even if it is the Body of Christ, it doesn't mean its resistant to viral agents.

Anonymous said...

Jordanes is right that we are not ever required to risk life or health to attend Mass. One could go further and assert that, under the full meaning of the Fifth Commandment, we are not permitted to risk life unreasonably. However, in cases of legitimate piety, there is a higher value at stake, since the soul is greater than the body. So I think that it would be morally right to stay for Mass interrupted by an air raid but not obligatory to do so.

In the case of an epidemic, it is somewhat different. We know in advance about the risk during Mass and we do not stay in order to complete a pious action already begun; rather, the question is if we should head to Church when we know that this would risk life unreasonably or even risk infecting others. I would think not. Prudence is also a virtue.

In the case in hand, however, it is arguably reasonable to attend Mass wearing a mask and to avoid Holy Communion. The Church might, if affordable, avoid cancelling Masses but distribute face-masks to all comers in the narthex, and refrain from distributing Holy Communion. Even if she could not acquire masks in time, she could forbid entry to the church to those not wearing masks and still not cancel the Masses altogether.

This idea of cancelling all Masses looks a bit too much like an excuse to me. To be fair, however, a mask is inadequate protection because one can infect others through the ducts in the eyes. Better, if able, to travel to the next town over and attend Mass out of the danger zone.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

I have one further comment on this business of cancelling Masses in times of epidemic. Several bloggers here have referred to past cases in which Masses were not cancelled. We must keep in mind, however, that people in past ages had no idea how diseases were transmitted. To them, the cause was mysterious. So they did not always have the requisite knowledge available by which to make prudential decisions in this matter. And yet they did recognise the universal principles involved. Hence the lepers' windows designed to allow lepers to receive Holy Communion without endangering others.

While it is certainly true that prayer can protect one from infection, it does not follow that it must do so. Prayer requires a response from God. So the Church does require that we exercise prudence and I note that the Sunday obligation does not apply when attendance would be 'physically or morally impossible'.

Bro. Alexis, to my recollection, has commented in the past that physical impossibility includes having to travel for more than one hour to reach Mass. So I think that it must also cover epidemics!

P.K.T.P.

LeonG said...

This could bring an end to the infamously inappropriate "kiss of peace" & communion in two kinds. Furthermore, in the instance of some of the worst cases of the NO service this is probably preferential. Yet another reason for a good old traditional Holy Mass in Latin: hygienic practices all round.

In the face of rising abortions and sodomy it seems highly improbable that there would be a miraculous end to such a flu outbreak. Also, judging by the over-exaggerated media reaction to most recent "pandemics" and epidemics, they appear more to be in the category of many of our obsolete prophecies of doom than actual eventual realities. Someone is going to make plenty of money out of the scare-mongering.

In contrast, the socially destructive & adverse health effects of sodomy, sodomite "families", sex lessons for children and the pandemic of abortion are more radical than any flu outbreak. It reminds one of the preoccupation of the UK government with its relentless persecution smokers while alcohol was further liberalised with twenty four hour drinking licenses in spite of it being the single most important cause of violent behaviour with commensurate social costs, especially to family life.

big benny said...

All public gatherings in mexico have been banned since the flu virus is spread via airbound particles.
It would also be wise to ban the unsanitary practice of communion on the tongue lest the priest's hands spread the virus.

Prodinoscopus said...

Dan Hunter reports that the SSPX chapel in Mexico City has remained open. Can that report be confirmed? If so, are the majority of commentators in this thread going to rebuke the SSPX for their imprudence?

Martin said...

As days pass, it appears with increasing clarity that this "killer pandemic" is actually a fluke. In fact, all numbers are being revised downwards in Mexico, as it seems increasingly evident that the "garden variety" of the flu is killing more and more regularly.

In the meantime, lots of money have been made by the media.

Sebellius the friend of extremist late term abortionists has been appointed without a discussion.

And of course, as every day, about 3000 babies have been killed in their respective mother's womb--in the U.S. alone. That's the real pandemic.

M.A. said...

"And of course, as every day, about 3000 babies have been killed in their respective mother's womb--in the U.S. alone. That's the real pandemic."

This is the perfect closing comment, Martin. Thank you.

Paul Haley said...

From CNA we have these quotes:

Dallas, Texas, Apr 29, 2009 / 04:52 pm (CNA).- Addressing liturgical matters amid concerns of a swine flu outbreak, Bishop of Dallas Kevin J. Farrell has advised his diocese’s pastors to consider suspending the reception of the Holy Eucharist under both species and to take other steps to respond to possible health dangers. The first reported death in the U.S. from swine flu came on Tuesday, when a 23-month-old boy visiting from Mexico died in Houston.Bishop Farrell’s April 28 letter said awareness has increased about “the potential danger of the possibility of a serious epidemic of ‘swine flu’ for which there is no vaccination.” To assist in preventing the spread of a possible epidemic, he asked that pastors consider modifications to the distribution of the Eucharist and also ensure that Eucharistic Ministers use proper hygiene before distributing the Eucharist at Masses.He also advised that pastors tell parishioners to be attentive to public health announcements.The bishop further asked that pastors offer prayers for those afflicted by the illness and for public health officials addressing the possible threat.Father Michael Dugan, Director of the Office of Liturgy for the Diocese of Dallas, offered some reminders and recommendations to be consulted in the event of a significant outbreak.Fr. Dugan said that the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation is the “ordinary expectation” for Catholics. However, “extraordinary circumstances” including sickness excuse the faithful from the obligation.“If you are not feeling well, especially during this time of concern, please stay at home and do not risk spreading infection to others. Please stay at home and do not attend Mass,” he wrote.He said congregants should not be offended if someone chooses not to shake hands during the sign of peace.“If you are ill, the appropriate response to someone extending a sign of peace might be to bow to them and say, ‘Peace be with You,’ to avoid bodily contact or one might wave slightly at the other person.”Regarding the reception of Holy Communion, he advised those feeling sick to receive communion in the hand and to refrain from receiving communion under the form of the Blood of Christ.It seems to me that a little common sense is called for here. That said, common sense may be the most uncommon sense of all. However, our priest has instructed us as follows: "If you're sick, stay home; you're under no obligation to come to Mass if you're sick." That said, people continue to come to Mass coughing and sneezing all the time with little regard, it seems, for others. I had to laugh, however, when I read "if your sick or not feeling well (sic) do this or that with respect to the sign of peace". My response would be: if you're sick or not feeling well, stay home, please, 'cause we don't want to become sick ourselves.

As to the instruction to the Eucharistic Ministers, the novus ordo attendees should know that at the TLM the priests are scrupulous about keeping their hands clean not only during Mass but at other times as well because they touch the sacred Body and Blood of Our Lord and distribute it in Holy Communion. I might add that I would hope priests in the novus ordo do the same. It's one of the side benefits, one might say, about the TLM and there is no need to worry about communion under both species. I guess the moral of the story might be: "Sometimes new isn't necessarily better with respect to liturgical practice." And no offense intended.

Anonymous said...

Wsxyz wrote:

"Bonifacius: Would and Should are two different words -- just wanted to point that out."

Thank, I already knew that. What is your point? I wrote "should" and "would *rightly.*"

-- Bonifacius

tuna toner said...

Prodinoscopus said...
Dan Hunter reports that the SSPX chapel in Mexico City has remained open. Can that report be confirmed? If so, are the majority of commentators in this thread going to rebuke the SSPX for their imprudence?

Yes definately, and also breaking the law since all public gatherings have bee banned for 5 days. As usual the SSPX have to make a statement.

hairy mary said...

Paul Haley says ''As to the instruction to the Eucharistic Ministers, the novus ordo attendees should know that at the TLM the priests are scrupulous about keeping their hands clean not only during Mass but at other times as well because they touch the sacred Body and Blood of Our Lord and distribute it in Holy Communion.''

Pouring of a small amount of cold water over the fingertips will not kill the flu virus. As the ceremonial washing of fingers is exactly the same in the OF and the EF, this will make no difference. Are you really suggesting that OF priests are dirtier than EF priests? What total and utter nonsense.

Paul Haley said...

hairy mary said...

"Pouring of a small amount of cold water over the fingertips will not kill the flu virus. As the ceremonial washing of fingers is exactly the same in the OF and the EF, this will make no difference. Are you really suggesting that OF priests are dirtier than EF priests? What total and utter nonsense."Not in the least did I mean to imply that the Lavabo and Ablutions after Communion were sufficient to "kill the flu virus" but merely to indicate the symbolism attached to that ceremonial rite. Nor did I mean to imply that one group of priests was "cleaner" than the other. I did mean to imply that our priests are scrupulous about keeping their hands clean and that was all I intended to imply.

If you recall I also said: "I would hope priests in the novus ordo do the same" and I was referring to the practice of priests being scrupulous about keeping their hands clean not only during Mass but other times as well. Everyone knows that the ceremonial washing is mostly symbolic but the underlying intent is what is important. And that intent, to me at least, implies an underlying mindset - i.e., keep your hands clean!

But here's the point, my friends, do the Eucharistic Ministers in the novus ordo have the same mindset? With all the abuses I've seen in novus ordo masses I would have to say: "I doubt it" but, then, I could be wrong and hope that I am.

M.A. said...

Tuna Toner: "Yes definately, and also breaking the law since all public gatherings have bee banned for 5 days. As usual the SSPX have to make a statement."

I tried to ignore this, but in the end I had to say something.

Tuna, according to you the 100-or-so, non-SSPX faithful who gathered for a procession around the cathedral with the image of our Lord should also be condemned for breaking the law. They too, were making a statement: "We place our hopes and trust in Christ our Saviour."

And that is a beautiful statement to make to an incredulous world!

Anonymous said...

On Hairy's comments:

The problem with the N.O. is the use of countless Eucharistic Ministers. Statistically, the more people you have distributing Holy Communion, the greater the chance of spreading the virus. Father and Sister Susy might be clean and Sister Mildred might be extra clean, but Sister Esther over there has it.

It is absurd to ban Communion on the tongue and not in the hand. If the risk is at those levels, the only reasonable course is to ban all distribution and to ask everyone to wear a mask. It can be spread, in fact, through the eye ducts, in the air, and so forth. We are debating whether or not to move the deck chairs to the bow or the stern while the ship is sinking.

P.K.T.P.