PopeWatch: Closed Churches

This has been a bear of a Lent:


Bishop Athanasius Schneider has stated that a priest, using discretion and following the necessary health precautions “has not to obey the directives of his bishop or the government to suspend Mass for the faithful.” He also described the COVID-19 pandemic as a chastisement and a purification.

Directives canceling all public Masses “are a pure human law; however, the supreme law in the Church is the salvation of souls,” said the auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana, Kazakhstan, in an interview with traditional Catholic newspaper The Remnant.

“Priests in such a situation have to be extremely creative in order to provide for the faithful, even for a small group, the celebration of Holy Mass and the reception of the sacraments. Such was the pastoral behavior of all confessor and martyr priests in the time of persecution,” he added.

Being prohibited by ecclesial authority from visiting the sick and the dying would also be a reason for a priest to disobey, Schneider explained. “Such a prohibition is an abuse of power. Christ did not give a bishop the power to forbid visiting the sick and dying. A true priest will do everything he can to visit a dying person.”

Schneider also called out “the prevailing majority of bishops” for having reacted “precipitously and out of panic in prohibiting all public Masses and – what is even more incomprehensible – in closing churches.”

“Such bishops,” he said, “reacted more like civil bureaucrats than shepherds. In focusing too exclusively on all the hygienic protective measures, they have lost a supernatural vision and have abandoned the primacy of the eternal good of souls.”

“A quasi-pathological fear has overcome common reason and a supernatural vision,” Schneider exclaimed.

Attending Mass is as essential as shopping at grocery stores or using public transportation, both of which have not been shut down, the bishop pointed out. “One could guarantee in churches the same and even better hygienic protective measures.”

He also gave some practical advice. “For example, before each Mass one could disinfect the pews and doors, and everyone who enters the church could disinfect their hands. Other similar measures could also be taken. One could limit the number of participants and increase the frequency of Mass celebration.”

Go here to read the rest.  Another alternative would be masses in the parking lots.  The priest in my parish has begun streaming the Mass.  There are plenty of alternatives, but too many dioceses seemed to be content to close the churches and leave it at that.  Most bishops have ill served the laity during this time of trial.  They have demonstrated a lack of guts, imagination and, above all, faith.

More to explorer


  1. Sounds crazy and crude, but if we only had those old drive-in theaters around–a safe Mass with drive up communion….naw…

  2. And unfortunately technological know how. My poor pastor is trying to bring Christ to the parish, but he is a bit behind the times and the Internet has not been kind. He is in good company: my sons’ college profs have basically given up online schooling–read the book, write a paper, see you in the Fall.
    Good news, though! The Bishop said Yes to Good Friday night vigil at our parish. Spring is coming.

  3. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world shelter in place and practice social distancing, yet lose his soul?

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