The Bishops of Washington State released an excellent response to President Trump’s statement regarding church reopenings. A huge h/t to the amazing Rocco Palmo who tweeted this in my general direction.
In response to President Trump’s statement today regarding church re-openings, the Bishops of Washington state would like to provide a unified response. We want to let you know that the public celebration of Mass was suspended, not out of fear, but out of our deepest respect for human life and health. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to be instruments of God’s protection for the vulnerable and the public common good. Our love of God and neighbor is always personal and not partisan. While we share the desire to bring people back to Mass as quickly as possible, we will wait to schedule our public worship when it is safe and we are prepared to do so.
Read it all here:
This is exactly what the direction should be everywhere in my opinion. What the rush is for, I have no idea. Some other general points:
- The divide on opening churches seems to me to be sharply divided among political lines at times. Matthew Sittman in the New Republic has a good take on that dynamic. I particularly found his thoughts on how those who socially distance themselves are often portrayed as wimps.
- I find that many who haven’t worked in a parish, including many who haven’t darkened the door of a church in decades have even stronger opinions on churches opening. Whatever that is about, it is very interesting and also quite troublesome. They have no idea about the rhythms of parish life with priests often needing to go to hospitals for anointing of the sick among other duties.
- One church I’m familiar with in the Midwest had a great response I thought. They would still hold livestreamed Masses but at the Mass’ conclusion they would offer a drive up communion service with the Body of Christ offered to the faithful in a sealed plastic bag with Eucharistic Ministers wearing Masks and gloves in the traffic circle drive up. A good compromise in the meantime.
Plan and plan and then plan some more. Soft openings and soft dates offered with flexibility.