The shutdown/lockdown of many Catholic churches during COVID was an ugly shock to practicing Catholics, who count on the weekly/daily Mass, most notably the Eucharist, for their entire well-being. You wouldn’t have to look far (with doubtless some noble exceptions) to see the hand of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in the reactionary and unfaithful COVID response that shut down Catholic worship, for years in many cases.
The COVID lockdowns/closures are now sometimes argued as subterfuge against the people by the “deep state.” Absent a definitive understanding of the COVID threat then (still the case), many Catholics bent the knee — not in their churches anymore, but out of respect for the USCCB, as the final word in its urging of the faithful to comply with the church shutdowns.
See this public message from the USCCB Administrative Committee, March 9,2021:
“Renewed by this season of Lent, we, the members of the Administrative Committee, place our confidence in the Lord, who suffered, was crucified, and is resurrected. We join our brother bishops in urging everyone to continue to keep God’s love alive in their hearts and in their families and communities. And we look forward to welcoming the Catholic faithful back when we all may safely participate physically in the Eucharistic celebration of the Mass and gather once more in our parishes.”
Catholic churches are still closing permanently, mostly credited to the COVID closures.