`What our church did was put the service “on tape” and play it three or four times on Sunday. I’m not sure how many: in casa weka it was watched twice: firstly by Kea and me, and then by daugther two and the mother in law, who cannot go to her high church Anglican service, for it is closed.
Church is more than a social gathering. It is a command form Christ to meet together: this introvert does it as a duty. My Papist friend understands this.
But let us come to the main point: attending Mass. How come that I am allowed to go to the supermarket during a lockdown, but I am not allowed to go to Church? Mind well: it is not that civil authorities have decided that buying groceries endangers your health, but it has to be done, therefore it is allowed. No. Civil authorities in many Countries have decided that buying groceries can be done in a safe way, and should be therefore be done in that safe way alone. It follows that Bishops all over Catholicism should have made a huge mess, demanding that churches are left open, and Mass be allowed to be celebrated, pretty much in the same way as the relevant Government allows the purchase of food. Have they done this? Largely, no. Why not? Because to them – irrespective of what they may say – the Mass is a social gathering, and nothing more. Our “hagan lio” Pope was, as befits his atheist mindset, the first to lead the charge, even going beyond what the Italian government had ordered. Boy, Satan is strong with this one.
So, what should have been done? What could, and should, the Pope and the Bishops have done? To me, the answer is so obvious that it should not even need a blog post to explain: every Bishop should have ordered every one of his priests to celebrate at least six masses a day, mobilise volunteers to protect the Blessed Sacrament for one Holy Hour a day, leave the time that remains free for last rites of people who are really dying, and do nothing else. This, obviously, with the respect of the usual distancing rules as far as practicable (and if it is not, as in the case of the Last Rites, tough luck: the cashier at the supermarket will in many cases still get your cash, will she not?)
I’m not going to get into arguments on the nature of the table, but it is a command to remember Christ. For he did die for us. The table should be celebrated frequently. Calvin argued not for six times a day, but weekly — but the city council, used to once a year, said quarterly. I would argue for far more frequently than that. Our church does such monthly — last week virtually, as we are in lockdown. What we celebrate, in our congregations, and in isolation, is but a shadow. What happened is far greater.
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
The authorities have closed the churches, but that does not mean that we do not meet. There are cetain social media one should not leverage (which would be another topic) but we are all having to use methods that exist to talk. It is not a time for ideological purity but pragmatism — you use the tools you are not locked out of.
For where two or three are gathered there Christ is. That means families, if we cannot meet. (Yes, it is better to meet).
Even alone, you are with Christ. So recall him, pray with him, and do not expect perfection from a worldly set of moderators, bishops and presidents. The world thinks that if they compromise such they have one.
They forget that the sheep follow the true shepherd, who is Christ.
- Not Catholic, but hung around Anglo-catholics. How do do this hygienically. Steal the Presbyterian’s collection of shot glasses they no longer need, put the host in those, cut up the bread (or wafers). Gloves on the hands of the servers. One meter between people. Everyone wears masks in case sneezes. Simple. Done.
- The Old Presbyterian pook of order, the old Book of Common Prayer, and the old missal has short versions of the service. You can strip it down, way down, if you have ministers who know when it is time to lose the theatre and feed the flock.