COVID Amnesty for Bishops?

Like zealous COVID politicians, the U.S. bishops have yet even to look at their own record during the “pandemic.” So far, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops hasn’t engaged in self-examination as to whether shutting down Mass and the sacraments from sea to shining sea, in some places for more than a year, was a bad idea. Maybe simply wrong. They seem to have given themselves a self-pardon.

More than a year ago, I urged the bishops to do a post-mortem on the performance of the “field hospital” that broke camp and left the battlefield in the middle of a war. That is a normal self-assessment after a crisis. To date, that’s not happened. Another fall assembly of the bishops has come and gone in Baltimore this year without any introspection about how the “field hospital” or its administrators behaved. Nobody has taken responsibility for Catholics being:

  • deprived of the last sacraments as they died;
  • denied Mass for months on end;
  • refused family weddings and funerals because of arbitrary attendance rules;
  • offered invalid sacraments while bishops said medical personnel could do the actual anointing of a sick person while the priest stood behind the door praying;
  • probably invalidating Confirmation by the use of Q-tips. (I would maintain longstanding sacramental theology holds that it is invalid).

There has been no accounting. Without accounting, we cannot even begin to talk about “amnesty” or pardon.

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