A STRANGE TIME IN CATHOLIC HISTORY
By Paul A. Nelson
For many weeks now, we have been spending most of our time in our homes. The situation is not unique to the United States; it is worldwide. Most human beings are doing what is necessary to keep their families safe and healthy, but the longer this lasts the patience of the people will wane. In fact, the rebellion has already begun in several states. It seems that many of the decisions now being made "for our good" are beginning to smell of politics. That is unfortunate, and we must remember that we live in a free country. Many in our ruling class are looking at this time in history as a way to control us. That cannot and will not stand.
Doesn't it seem strange that we can go into grocery stores filled with people, liquor stores, etc., but we cannot attend Mass? I realize that most people don't consider the sacraments we receive as being "essential," but we as Catholics know that they are. In fact, the Eucharist is the most essential food there is, because it nourishes our soul. We have been willing to bend to the will of government officials in the situation of this pandemic. After all, we are obligated to comply with civil authorities when it works to the common good. That is reasonable up to a point. Now some seek to take advantage and further their agendas.
Remember, we in this country have a Constitution, which puts limits on what the government can and cannot do. This very unusual circumstance seems to have somehow put in the minds of government officials the idea that they can now ignore the law of the land and impose draconian measures on the people. Religious liberty has been taken away from us. You know as well as I that the churches could very well make adjustments on their own in order to keep the laity and clergy safe. But they are not given that opportunity.
We've all heard the story of the Protestant church that attempted to have their services in the church parking lot, totally separated from others, during which the police wrote out $500 tickects to each attendee, and charged the pastor with civil disobedience. That is not only disgraceful, it's Nazi-like! We the people need to start to speak up for our rights, which is taking place in many cities. We are all now aware of what we need to do to protect ourselves and others. Those who are older and have bad health conditions should be responsible and avoid certain places, of course. But many believe -- I'm among them -- that the younger generation, including students and working people, need to return to school and to the workplace. Otherwise, the United States of America is going to turn into a much different place: More poverty, increased crime (as people need to survive), failing businesses, mental illness (caused by the stress and inability to work), suicides, and much more. Fear has a terrible grip on human beings right now, and that's no way to exist. We need normalcy very soon.
There have been a few heroic bishops, priests and deacons who have gone above and beyond the call of duty, such as Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas. God bless them for speaking out and offering special blessings. I am aware that most priests are doing their very best, and they are to be obedient to their bishops. The problem with that is that most bishops seem to be relatively silent and willing to adhere to whatever the civil authorities say. There comes a time when, in order to defend the Church, they need to resist some of the restrictions being placed on them. Their silence is deafening and dissappointing to me.
Regarding our faith, now is a good time to increase our prayer life, read and study Scripture, and keep in touch with family and friends. This at-home time gives us a chance to think about and realize what is really "essential" in our lives. God, in reality, is the only "essential" that exists. It's very hard for Nancy and I to not be in the presence of our children and grandchildren, so when we can do that again, we will cherish it all the more. In the meantime, there's facetime and zoom, which we are thankful for -- but it's still not the same. I know many of you are affected in the same way.
Please take advantage of my "resources" page to keep abreast of Catholic news, audio teachings, etc. Also, say the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet on my "video" page. And look for "guest articles," which will be appearing soon.
St. Athanasius the Great, pray for us!