What happened to the “field hospital” of Pope Francis?
Early on in his papacy, Pope Francis likened the Church to a field hospital. But the analogy hasn’t held up amidst coronavirus fears. The diocese of Rome has suspended Masses through April 3. The idea of closing churches during a crisis is a peculiarly modern one. The ancient impulse during a crisis was not to abolish worship but to increase it.
In the age of the secularized Catholic Church, deference to the state, which prioritizes the body over the soul, is the order of the day. Even in America, where the risk of infection from coronavirus remains low, bishops close to Francis have also shut Church doors.
“The Archdiocese of Seattle has been joined by numerous other dioceses, including those of Little Rock, Salt Lake City and Santa Fe, in canceling public Masses. Major archdioceses, such as in Chicago and Newark, have undertaken similar precautions. In Philadelphia, newly appointed Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez relieved Catholics of their Sunday Mass obligations,” reports America.
In so doing, the Church is making Mass seem as nonessential as a rock concert. It is hard to imagine the pre-Vatican II Church behaving so skittishly. Churches are as vital to the soul as supermarkets are to the body. If the latter remain open, why not the former? It is not as if the coronavirus is the black plague. For most people, it is a non-fatal flu that resolves itself.
Just as the church of Pope Francis pants after the trends of the moment, so it follows the world’s panics too.
“In Washington, D.C., where starting March 14 all Masses and campus ministries will cease, Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory said, ‘My number one priority as your Archbishop is to ensure the safety and health of all who attend our Masses, the children in our schools, and those we welcome through our outreach and services,’” reports America.
Read the rest at The American Spectator