April 9, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – I never thought I’d ever be saying this, but Catholic shepherds have a big lesson to learn from abortion activists when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the middle of March, the whole world has basically been declared in a “State of Emergency.” We’ve watched while businesses and organizations have been sifted into “essential services,” which may remain open and operating, and “non-essential services,” which must be closed.
Dollar stores, with their entire inventory of largely China-made junk, remain open. Liquor and cannabis stores remain open (lest people lose the ability to feed their addictions). Fast food chains with drive-throughs remain open. Online and phone supports for “anxiety and other mental health challenges” have been established.
But, churches are completely, utterly closed?
In the name of protecting the physical safety of their flock, bishops have rushed to close public Masses. But not only this, in many cases, they’ve rushed ahead of government ordinances, completely shuttering their churches to all private prayer and even banning the practice of sacraments, such as baptisms and last rites.
In closing down public Masses and shuttering their churches, bishops find themselves in a compromised position of agreeing with many government ordinances that the Catholic Church is a “non-essential service.”
No one can deny that the bishops are giving to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. But, in withdrawing sacraments from the faithful, they have abandoned giving to God what belongs to God. They seem to have forgotten that the “supreme law in the Church” and the very reason for the Church’s existence is the “salvation of souls.” In focusing on keeping the corruptible body “safe,” they’ve ignored the more important matter of keeping the immortal soul safe by means of the sacraments.
Contrast their actions to the abortion industry.
In many places, including every single province and territory of Canada, abortion services are continuing unabated, with governments determining that killing innocent babies is an “essential service.”
In some places, however, governments have called a halt to abortion services, classifying them as a “non-essential service,” so that crucial medical supplies can be freed up for hospitals. When abortions are not being performed, medical equipment is not being diverted away from people sick with the virus, and emergency room personnel are not being further strained to deal with the five percent of women who end up in the ER after an elective abortion.
But, abortionists aren’t complying.
Some abortion centers have defied the order to close down. Others are filing lawsuits and calling for more funding. They are making the case for staying open despite claiming time and again that abortion is a “choice,” an elective procedure.
A Planned Parenthood board member recently proclaimed that there is nothing “more essential” than abortion.
They are fighting tooth and nail and defying the authorities so that they can continue to provide their non-essential “service,” a demonic “sacrament” of the world that pours out pain, suffering, and even damnation.
It’s hard to imagine saying to anyone, “Look at the zeal of abortion activists in defending what they do. Do what they’re doing!” This is a sobering lesson for any religious leader who has forgotten about the eternal-life-saving work they’re supposed to be doing. It seems that Jesus’ words apply here: “The sons of this world are wiser in their own generation than the sons of light.”
Now is not the time for shepherds to abandon their flocks.
This is the time for courage.
As Catholic microbiologist Gerard M. Nadal pointed out, this pandemic “gives our bishops an opportunity to redeem a multitude of past failings by courageously and heroically putting it all on the line for the people at a time when the people need the Church the most.”
“The sight of bishops in the hospitals anointing the dying, hearing confessions, ministering to the medical personnel, putting their own lives on the line — this is an opportunity that they simply cannot let pass by.”
Add to this the sight of bishops finding creative and safe ways to restore to their flock the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, through which God’s sanctifying graces flow.
This should be the bishops’ finest hour, an hour where they recognize the “essential” care they give to souls and shine in giving it in the face of the epidemic. Perhaps they will need to defy the government to do this. They won’t be the only Christians who have borne such witness, sometimes with their blood, throughout the centuries.
Erin Baklinski has a master's degree in theology. She is a stay-at-home mother of 8 children. She lives in Ontario, Canada.