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Pope Francis receives a Pachamama statue in the Vatican gardens during an indigenous ceremony, Rome, Oct. 4, 2019.Vatican News / video screen grab

April 3, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Italian priest and theologian Nicola Bux has identified both the sins within the Church as well as the sins of the world as the root of the current pandemic and its effects on the daily life of Catholics. Like Archbishop Viganò and Bishop Schneider, the former consulter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith characterized COVID-19 as a chastisement from God.

In a lengthy statement published as a video on YouTube March 24, as well as by Chiesa e post concilio in written form, Bux said “we can read this virus as ‘a sign of the times,’ in the sense above all of a warning to the world.”

“We must now abstain, as a punishment,” he explained, “from so many embraces and so many relationships, even against nature. We have defied natural law and committed ‘sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance.’”

“What about infidelity and indifference, of those who live in practical atheism, and postulate a nature emancipated from God,” Bux asked. “And then adultery, abortions, divorces. We have violated the rights of God and put in their place those of man.”

Specifically talking about the sins within the Church, Bux began by mentioning idolatry, which he called “the gravest sin.”

“We gave in to idolatry … by kneeling before heaps of earth and worshiping idolatrous statues even in St. Peter’s Basilica. We turned churches into shelters and inns when we had much better facilities to accommodate the poor and migrants. We have forgotten what a church is for and why it is dedicated with solemn rite. We have committed abuses, profanations in the sacred liturgy and unbearable deformations, insults and irreverence, we have gone so far as to say that the grace of God can coexist with a situation of habitual sin, authorizing sacrilegious Communions given to unrepentant sinners.”

Bux continued, “We sowed confusion among God’s people, with the coexistence of the two popes and encouraged the handing over of the faithful to the civil authorities of atheistic states such as China. Paul VI’s warning resounds regarding the self-demolition of the Church. Have atheism and the loss of faith taken root among the men of the Church?”

As such, the COVID-19 pandemic is “a warning to the men of the Church, who, in the name of ‘paradigm shift,’ subordinate Christ’s teaching to the reality of the world.”

“They say they do not understand non-negotiable principles. They consider inequality and not sin as the root of social evils. They have allowed the gnostic and neo-pagan scene on the facade of St. Peter’s. They have abandoned the mission of the Gospel and the need for conversion, in favor of complacent dialog with religions … They have presented Luther as medicine for the Church. They have endorsed situation ethics instead of moral principles.”

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still especially affecting Italy, many of the problems and evils have come to a sudden halt.

“Now the Pope, so worried about the ‘pueblo,’ has remained without people. Priests, so intoxicated with participation, are without the faithful. The faithful, so accustomed to community liturgies, suffer abandonment.”

Most Catholics, Bux explained, “have not been trained in adoration, recollection on their knees, personal prayer done in secret, where the Father alone sees us.”

“The churches are desolate, faithful and pastors are now as exiles,” the theologian said.

Bux pointed out the difficulty many people have with the idea of a God who punishes. Up until the previous century, processions took place and vows were made in order for chastisements to stop, he recalled.

“Today, the word ‘chastisement’ arouses scandal even among churchmen, because they have forgotten that, at the beginning of world history, after love, there is sin, anger, and judgment.”

“It is true that, in Jesus Christ, we adore the mystery of divine love which, with patience and mercy, obtains the conversion of the sinner,” Bux said. However, “ignorance, plague, hunger, war, suffering, and death reveal to man his situation as a sinner.”

Bux then begged God to deliver his people from the “wrath of judgment.”

“Great is our sin, but greater is your love. Take away our sins for the glory of your name. In the intimacy of the soul, we prostrate ourselves and implore divine mercy. From the wrath of judgment, deliver us … Forgive us our mistakes, heal our wounds, guide us with your grace to the Easter victory,” Bux prayed.

The theologian and liturgical scholar concluded by calling the chastisement “providential,” expecting it to bear fruit.