Friday, March 06, 2020

When Superman Refuses to Fly

So what are our shepherds doing about the coronavirus?  Among other things:

- No Communion from the chalice. (GOOD, should cut down on the use of lay Communion ministers, though certain exceptions are needed)
- Thorough washing of Communion vessels (Rome has previously ruled that this must be done by clerics)
- No hand-holding during Our Father and sign of peace (YAY!)
- Empty out holy water fonts (FAIL)
- No Communion on the tongue (ILLEGAL)

Some of these measures are prudent.  Some are welcome as purges of inane ‘70s accretions in the liturgy.  Some have nothing to do with stopping the spread of disease and are exercises of raw power, with the coronavirus as an obvious pretext for trying to quash traditional devotions and set modernist abuses in concrete.

This set of responses to the coronavirus is a bad sign.  Do our bishops really think these worldly precautions are sufficient?  Some of them don’t address the problem at all; none of them come close to bringing to bear all the powers at a bishop’s disposal.  Why aren’t bishops:

- Organizing processions?
- Using the Rituale Romanum to mass-produce holy water and exorcised salt and get them into the hands of as many people as possible?
- Imposing deprecatory blessings against plagues?
- Offering votive Masses against plagues?

Surely, the worst thing to do in a time of plague is to get rid of holy water!  Since a lot of priests use the Book of Blessings to make holy water, or even just make up their own blessings, maybe the absence of that water isn’t much of a loss; but real holy water, in which some exorcised salt is mixed, is meant to drive away disease!  Look at these passages from the blessings of salt and water out of the Rituale Romanum:
God’s creature, salt, I cast out the demon from you by the living God, by the true God, by the holy God, by God Who ordered you to be thrown into the water-spring by Eliseus to heal it of its barrenness.  May you be a purified salt, a means of health for those who believe, a medicine for body and soul for all who make use of you. 
O God, Who for man’s welfare established the most wonderful mysteries in the substance of water, hearten to our prayer, and pour forth Your blessing on this element now being prepared with various purifying rites.  May this creature of Yours, when used in Your mysteries and endowed with Your grace, serve to cast out demons and to banish disease.  May everything that this water sprinkles in the homes and gatherings of the faithful be delivered from all that is unclean and hurtful; let no breath of contagion hover there, no taint of corruption; let all the wiles of the lurking enemy come to nothing.  By the sprinkling of this water may everything opposed to the safety and peace of the occupants of these homes be banished, so that in calling on Your Holy Name they may know the well-being they desire, and be protected from every peril; through Christ our Lord.
These sacramentals are immensely powerful!  Or don’t we believe that anymore?

In the traditional Mass, there is a votive Mass for Deliverance from Death in Time of Pestilence.  It is founded on the belief, naively abandoned in our time, that plagues and pestilence are the scourges of God’s wrath for our sins.  For some reason, in the middle of the bloodiest century in human history, we came up with the idea that there is no need to appease God’s wrath.  We even got the zany idea that we can treat with God as equals.  How is that working out for us?  Why don’t we go back to praying like we used to in the Introit and the Collect and the Postcommunion for this votive Mass:
Be mindful, O Lord, of Thy covenant and say to the destroying Angel: Now hold thy hand, and let not the land be made desolate, and destroy not every living soul. 
O God, Who willest not the death of the sinner but that he should repent: welcome with pardon Thy people’s return to Thee: and so long as they are faithful in Thy service, do Thou in Thy clemency withdraw the scourge of Thy wrath. 
Graciously hear us, O God our Savior: deliver Thy people from the terrors of Thy wrath, and assure them of that safety which is the gift of Thy mercy.
These are extremely powerful spiritual weapons that only our priests and bishops can give us.  Why don’t they?  Is it because they don’t believe?

It is as if Superman is refusing to fly.


  1. Other than the holy water fonts everything is just the same at St. Joan's. The bishop said we could continue with communion on the tongue. If father accidentally touches a tongue they have a bowl of disinfectant for him to use before giving communion to the next person.

  2. I went to a local parish to make the Stations of the Cross this afternoon and found that they had entirely TAKEN OUT the holy water fonts.

    1. I think this is now the so called precaution in my whole diocese.

    2. This is probably going on in every diocese in these U.S.A. Worse things are going on elsewhere in the world, where Masses (though not sporting or commercial events) are being suspended.

  3. We are still allowed to receive on the tongue in our church. And we still have the holy water in the fonts. Our priest is new to our parish and is from India. I hope he remains sensible.

  4. Shirley, it goes to show how bad things are in the Church when we are reduced to rejoicing that our rights are NOT being violated. Kind of like how people rejoiced that in Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union had a leader who refrained from deploying tanks against his own people.

    1. Aaaaaand that didn't last long.....
      The holy water fonts were removed. At least they are recommending that we don't shake hands in that deplorable "sign of peace".