If it’s OK to go out and buy beer or fast food, there’s no reason to keep churches closed
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April 20, 2020 (Everyday for Life Canada) – Canadian bishops should now be working to open churches again in Canada. People must just take the necessary precautions about physical distancing. But it's time to return to celebrating the Mass and providing spiritual services to parishioners.
Look, we can go to buy groceries, pick up a bottle of wine or a case of beer and use the drive-through at McDonald's, but we can't go to church. Something doesn't add up here. We supported the original decision by the Archdiocese of Toronto to close the parishes. However, a month later we have much more information about the coronavirus as well what must be done to take the necessary safeguards. This includes keeping our distance, avoid handshaking and even wearing a mask to stop the spread of the infection.
The Archdiocese has manged to get the word out on their website as to how the faithful can financially support the parish: "At a time like this it can be uncomfortable to talk about giving. Our primary concern is the health and well-being of our parishioners. However, these difficult circumstances show just how important the offertory is to the life of our parishes. The reality is that our parishes rely on the support of their parishioners to operate – parish salaries, programs and ongoing operating costs (heating, water, electricity, etc.) are funded through the generosity of its parishioners. It will be a challenge for a parish to maintain operations without the weekly offertory collection." We realize the necessity of paying the bills. But we also know the importance of the house of God to re-open. After all, the government death services of abortion and euthanasia are available during the pandemic.
The message to parishioners goes on to say that "they can continue to support their parish at this time: Drop off or mail your regular weekly offertory contribution to the parish office." Electronic and credit card giving are also suggested. Yes, we should support our parishes, but the bishops should be working to have the churches reopened, as well instructing parishes to have a some, even minimal, presence online during the pandemic.
Let's get some context. As of April 14, Canada had a total of 27,593 coronavirus cases, with 954 deaths and 8,592 people who got the virus and are now healthy again. To put that number in perspective, Canada has nearly 2,000 abortions in just a week. That's almost 2,000 unborn babies killed. And you don't hear any politician, let alone PM Justin Trudeau, telling Canadians that we need to shut down the entire country. In 2018, the influenza and pneumonia killed 8,511 Canadians. There was no lockdown. In fact, those deaths are seldom reported. Moreover, in 2018, nearly 80,000 people died from cancer and life went on in a normal manner.
In 2018, there 13,300 car accidents in Canada and some 1,800 died, but transport Canada didn't call for all roads to be closed or the entire nation. One last statistic to put the coronavirus in a balanced context. In 2018, about 3,811 (the number is probably higher) died by suicide. There was no national emergency call to bring the whole economy to a halt to address the crisis or the PM Trudeau doing daily briefings about the deaths. Please do not misunderstand. We know very well that we need to be cautious and one death from the virus is one death too many. However, we also know that death is part of daily life. We should always protect life and do all that we can to defend and keep people safe and healthy. Nevertheless, the time has come to look at reopening churches and other segments of our economy. Otherwise, the damage done by this shut down will do much harm and destroy many more lives than the coronavirus has taken. Canadian bishops should now see how they can reopen churches across Canada.