European Commission recommends online ‘services,’ ‘banning of communal singing’ for Christmas
December 5, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Commission published a “communication” on December 2, calling all the member states of the European Union to work together on COVID-19 restrictions in view of the upcoming holiday season. Under the title “Staying safe from COVID-19 during winter,” it depicts a dire situation where – according to the document – “every 17 seconds, a person dies in the EU due to COVID-19.” Fear having thus been instilled, the communication suggests a number of measures to be taken all over the EU, including severe limitations on “ceremonies” and a ban on “communal singing.”
The word “Christmas” is drearily absent from the European Commission’s communication, but the mention of “ceremonies” unambiguously points to the feast of the Birth of Our Lord. Despite massive, mainly Islamic immigration, the majority of citizens living in the formerly Christian nations of Europe share at least a basic Catholic or Christian culture. “Ceremonies” during the “holiday season” – a euphemism used to avoid religious terms in the European Union that has formally rejected the mention of Europe’s Christian roots in its Charter – can hardly mean anything else than Holy Mass, and specially Midnight Mass, or the Protestant services that take place to celebrate Christmas.
This is how the unsigned document speaks about these religious gatherings: “In case of ceremonies, consider avoiding large services or using online, TV or radio broadcasts, allocating specific spots for close families (‘household bubbles’) to sit together, and banning of communal singing. The use of masks is particularly relevant during these types of gatherings.”
Yes, you read that correctly. For the whole of the European Union, even in places where a dramatic fall of “cases” – that is, positive tests, mostly on people who have few or no symptoms of the associated COVID-19 – of the Wuhan coronavirus is currently taking place, and hospitalizations and deaths are subsequently also diminishing, the European executive is suggesting that Catholic and other churches should ideally shut out the faithful from their celebrations and force them to join virtual “worship.” Which is, in fact, no worship at all; at most, an aid for private devotion when personal assistance at a service is impossible.
For Catholics, such interference from the secular authorities who presume to dictate how and when they should practice their faith is even more obnoxious. Holy Mass actualizes the Sacrifice of Jesus-Christ on the Cross, for the redemption of many, and allows them to assist at the Eucharistic miracle, by which Our Lord is truly present. Receiving Communion can only be done in person. In the Catholic faith, which is that of the Incarnation, the body cannot and should not be set in “remote” mode, and separated from reality by screens and internet, apart from serious reasons such as verified and actual contagiousness, as every responsible person is capable of working out independently. Body and soul belong together; they are one.
In a way, COVID restrictions are de-unifying the human person, once again tearing asunder what God made one.
And did not Christ say: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them”? This also marks the importance of personal, physical presence in Christian worship.
You also read correctly that a handful of technocrats in Brussels – the seat of the European Commission – has in substance told the whole of the European Union that “communal singing” is not good, and even dangerous and capable of sending people to their graves. The ban it suggests is not for people who are coughing and sneezing, but for all: it is heaping suspicion on one of the most joyful and natural expressions of public worship, that has been with us since the beginnings of Christianity and beyond, and in fact throughout the religious history of mankind.
Singing together bonds communities (and also armies, and revolutionaries, and sailors, and children, and mothers with their newborns, and monks, and nuns…): “To sing is to pray twice,” says the quote attributed to Saint Augustine, probably derived from these words from his Commentary on Psalm 73: “For he that singeth praise, not only praiseth, but only praiseth with gladness: he that singeth praise, not only singeth, but also loveth him of whom he singeth. In praise, there is the speaking forth of one confessing; in singing, the affection of one loving.”
And the European Commission is telling us not to sing? Putting a damper on what is left of European piety and faith and love of the traditional Christmas carols that are so varied and so touching?
It should be said that the European Commission, in its inhuman regulations to take the joy and truth out of Christmas, is exerting the power of an unelected executive body that is not famous for using its functions in favor of the common good. Fortunately, in this case, the binding force of a mere “communication” addressed to the European Parliament and the Council is inexistent. On the flip side, so many absurd and even dangerous rules have been imposed on the public in the EU in the name of fighting COVID-19, often copied from one country to the other, that its impact may well prove to be very real.
Further examination of the European Commission’s recommendations in view of “Staying safe from COVID-19 during winter” reveals their perfect alignment on a narrative that has been smoothly imposed in many European countries and beyond in the name of fear, to the detriment of the economy with millions at risk of losing their livelihood, and of health and psychological well-being as fear and lack of timely treatment for other illnesses are affecting an increasing proportion of the population.
“The latest epidemiological numbers indicate that the COVID-19 restrictions reintroduced since October are starting to reduce the transmission of the virus,” says the document. In France, at least, this is not true: contaminations and new cases of effective illness were already on a downward trend according to used water analyses when the second lockdown was implemented on October 28, and deaths followed suit, spiking ten days later.
Interestingly, the document notes “the buy-in of citizens and communities is critical to the success of any action.” COVID-19 measures are also the fruit of communications campaigns but need to take “pandemic fatigue” into account, says the Brussels Commission: “People are tired of taking the necessary precautionary actions, including physical distancing, reduced social interactions and economic restrictions. This makes essential restrictions more difficult to implement, and provides fertile ground for disinformation about the pandemic.”
It adds: “Pandemic fatigue is an expected and natural response to a prolonged public health crisis on the scale of COVID-19. It is therefore important for Member States to address and recognise this problem. The WHO Regional Office for Europe has developed guidance to support countries in developing multifactorial action plans to maintain and reinvigorate public support for protective behaviours.”
This World Health Organization document is a 28-page publication with advice for governments and health authorities how to go about obtaining acceptance and cooperation (although compliance would be a better word) with restrictions in the fight against a long drawn-out “pandemic.” Not unsurprisingly, the word “liberty” is absent from the documents and “freedom” appears only in the phrase: “An ingrown urge for self-determination and freedom may grow as restrictions continue for a long time, impose inconveniences in everyday life, or continuously change in ways people feel they have little control over.” This, together with “demotivation” that appears “when dire circumstances drag on,” and “humans have to adopt a different style of coping,” is what leads to “pandemic fatigue” according to the WHO. But the WHO is there to help governments overcome this fatigue. It’s an interesting read for those who seek to “decrypt” present government actions and communication.
Returning to the European Commission’s document, it is also helpful to realize that it has, in its own words, “used anonymized and aggregated mobile network operators’ data to derive mobility insights and build tools to inform better targeted measures, in a Mobility Visualisation Platform, available to the Member States. Mobility insights are also useful in monitoring the effectiveness of measures once imposed.”
This means that moving around with a smartphone amounts to offering political powers, even at EU level, a tool to track movements and gatherings that are going against confinement or curfew rules. After anonymous surveillance, can individual surveillance be far behind? China already has the know-how, with facial recognition combined with artificial intelligence. In France, a new security law is proposing to allow drone surveillance: another way to severely curb public liberties and personal freedoms.
For Christmas, the European Union would like to see the definition of “clear criteria for small social gatherings, small events, e.g. maximum number of people allowed to ensure compliance with physical distancing rules and use of masks,” and the implementation of “a maximum number of people per household gathering:” in France, the “strong recommendation” is that Christmas dinners should be limited to six adults (children are not counted). One doctor went on record on television saying it would be best to cut the Christmas cake in two and make Grandpa and Grandma eat in the kitchen.
The Brussels Commission also thinks that “if considered, any temporary loosening of rules on social gatherings and events should be accompanied by strict requirements for people to self-quarantine before and after for a number of days (preferably at least seven).”
Speaking of France, the government has not gone to this length but it will introduce a 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. curfew as of December 15 (excepting Christmas and New Year’s Eve) which the Commission devoutly favors.
As a conclusion, the document stresses that “All reporting Member States are actively looking into communication around COVID-19 vaccination, and many are preparing dedicated communication plans. The Commission will work closely with Member States to support their communication efforts towards citizens on COVID-19 vaccines so that citizens can make informed decisions.”
Informed by the Member States’ communication efforts, that is!