Most American Catholics no longer have access to public Masses, and may not have access for some time. The bishops’ suspension of public Masses reflects their concern about the spread of contagion. This is a legitimate concern. And yet the faithful need not remain separated from the Mass.
Many pastors have chosen to live-stream their Masses. This is a good intermediate step, but we need something more. Online Mass helps cultivate the disposition for efficacious reception of spiritual communion and maintains parishioners’ connections with their ordinary place of worship. But if online Mass becomes a regular practice over the course of months, it could subtly undermine the local, communal, and cultic dimensions of Catholic worship. We need to cultivate fuller Eucharistic communion. We have already seen that outdoor adoration can be conducted with devotion and decorum in accordance with social distancing guidelines. A good next step is drive-in Masses.
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