Cardinal Raymond Burke, arch conservative, who lives in Italy has responded to the epidemic crisis presently inflicting Italy which a call to keep the churches open in spite of the Italian government’s attempts to close down non-essential businesses and institutions.
In an open letter he writes:
It is a fundamental act of charity to use every prudent means to avoid contracting or spreading the coronavirus. The natural means of preventing the spread of the virus must, however, respect what we need to live, for example, access to food, water, and medicine… In considering what is needed to live, we must not forget that our first consideration is our relationship with God.
Burke isn’t exaggerating, he really does believe that churches (presumably only Catholic ones) are as essential as pharmacies, hospitals and grocery stores.
We turn to Christ to deliver us from pestilence and from all harm, and He never fails to respond with pure and selfless love. That is why it is essential for us, at all times and above all in times of crisis, to have access to our churches and chapels, to the Sacraments, and to public devotions and prayers.
Between 1347 and 1351 when virtually every European was a Christian and the churches were full, over 75 million people died, and Christ didn’t put out a finger to help any one of them.
Burke is well known for his extreme right wing views; in 2014 he was demoted for advising parents not to expose their children to relatives in “profoundly disordered and harmful” gay relationships. He hasn’t changed and links coronavirus with “gender theory” and abortion.
He concludes by urging people to ignore the edicts of government and fill the churches.
We cannot simply accept the determinations of secular governments, which would treat the worship of God in the same manner as going to a restaurant or to an athletic contest. Otherwise, the people who already suffer so much from the results of the pestilence are deprived of those objective encounters with God
Is it necessary to be in a church to commune with God?
Should parishioners ignore government efforts to contain this pandemic and go to church?
Can Jesus stop this pandemic and if so why did he let it begin?