Are Priests and Bishops Cowardly During this Pandemic?

by Fr Richard Heilman | April 29, 2020 3:33 AM


I received an email from someone who will remain nameless. It was, shall we say, “brassy” in this person’s outrage of those who might proclaim “I’m Going In,” while they remain cowards in not having everyone just go to Mass on Sunday. This as this person – as many have done throughout this global pandemic – compared the saints of previous pandemics to the priests of today … in essence, calling priests today “cowards” in comparison to those saints.

This person did ask if I could help them, so this was my reply …

Hi ______,

Yes, I think I can help you.

First, I am hoping you can take priests off of the table. No priest is capable of disobeying his bishop … it simply cannot happen.

That being said, let’s look at what the bishops did …

They followed the directives of the “leading experts.” There was no credible voice in opposition to what these experts were saying. What were these experts saying? At one point, there could be 2.2 million people who could die from this virus, unless we did all we could to save lives.

Even with this shocking number, the mistake people often make when they compare the saints during other plagues to this plague today, is that those saints were not told that if they were infected, they could unknowingly (asymptomatic) spread the disease to 100 or maybe 1,000 people, many of which would die. You simply will find no saint proclaiming, “I don’t care how many people I kill.” You see? With the saints, it was about not caring about their own safety. With this disease, it is completely different in that it is about caring how many we can kill.

The other piece many miss is that it is not just the Catholic Church, when considering defying the experts who said that 2.2 million people might die, if we do not try to mitigate this. What about every other religion? If Catholics can get infected and kill 2.2 million people, then why can’t all religions defy experts and laws and contribute to killing 2.2 million people?

Finally, we prayed. I don’t know if you joined us, but we had 50-100,000 people pray for 54 days together. On the 54th day, a promising treatment arose that could help those gravely ill with Covid. Not to mention, while we prayed, all the models changed, and it may be that, while this is bad, it may be only slightly worse than any other virus. Praise God!

So, very shortly, all may feel it is safe to congregate once again. And we will not need to worry that we will kill a multitude of people by doing so.

The temptation for many will be to chastise the bishops WHO SHOULD HAVE KNOWN!” Well, they are graced as our bishops, but it is extremely rare to find one who is given the gift of predicting the future. They had no choice but to trust the leading experts, and do all they could to not contribute to the death of 2.2 million people.

Please, instead, pray for them, and continue to pray that, by God’s grace, this virus is not as devastating as everyone once believed it was.


Fr. Heilman

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