Cardinal Burke: “We Cannot Accept Governments Treating the Worship of God in the same manner as going to a restaurant”
Cardinal Raymond Burke published a long March 21 message for the coronavirus crisis on his webpage. Here are the highlights:
• The 1962 Missal contains special texts for the Holy Mass, to be offered in times of pestilence, the Votive Mass for the Deliverance from Death in Time of Pestilence.
• The traditional Litany of the Saints says: “From plague, famine, and war, O Lord, deliver us.”
• When we find ourselves in great suffering and even facing death, we ask: “Where is God?” But the real question is: “Where are we?”
• A person of faith cannot consider the present calamity, in which we find ourselves, without considering how distant our culture is from God, and openly rebellious toward him.
• We witness even within the Church, a paganism, which worships nature and the earth.
• We see how the life of faith has become increasingly secularized.
• Great evils like pestilence are an effect of original sin and of our actual sins.
• In our secularized culture, there is a tendency to view prayer, devotions and worship like any other activity, for example, going to the cinema or going to a football game, which is not essential, and therefore can be cancelled for the sake of taking every precaution to curb the spread of a deadly contagion.
• But prayer, devotions and worship, above all, Confession and the Holy Mass, are essential for us to remain healthy and strong spiritually, and for us to seek God’s help in a time of great danger.
• We cannot simply accept the determinations of secular governments, which treat the worship of God in the same manner as going to a restaurant or to an athletic contest.
• We bishops and priests need to explain publicly the necessity of Catholics to pray, to worship in their churches and chapels, and to go in procession through the streets.
• We need to insist that the regulations of the State, also for the good of the State, recognize the importance of places of worship, especially in time of crisis.
• Even as we have found a way to provide for food and medicine and other necessities of life during a time of contagion, without irresponsibly risking the spread of the contagion, so we can find a way to provide for the necessities of our spiritual life.
• Many of our churches and chapels are very large. They permit a group of the faithful to gather for prayer and worship, without violating the requirements of “social distance.”
• The confessional with the traditional screen is usually equipped with a thin veil or can be easily equipped with one. It can be treated with disinfectant, so that access to the Sacrament of Confession is possible.