Conservative cardinal says Mass should be available during lockdown

Conservative cardinal, Raymond Burke, has published a letter on his website saying access to Mass and the sacraments should be available even during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

“In considering what is needed to live, we must not forget that our first consideration is our relationship with God,” Burke wrote.

“That is why it is essential for us, at all times and above all in times of crisis, to have access to our churches and chapels, to the Sacraments, and to public devotions and prayers.”

He suggests priests could kept their distance during Mass and they or the faithful could ensure churches and confessionals were sanitised afterwards.

Burke (who is from the US but lives in Italy) has always been critical of Francis’s pontificate and was one of the four cardinals who wrote the “Dubia”.

The Dubia document challenged Francis’s cautious opening to allowing Communion for divorced and remarried couples in the 2016 apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia.”

Access to Masses and the sacraments in Italy has been an on-again off-again situation during the past few weeks.

Initially, the Italian bishops conference banned Masses and religious gatherings to follow the government’s safety measures.

Then priests were allowed to act according to conscience while maintaining distancing advice.

Burke says going to Mass is the same as going to pharmacies and supermarkets.

The faithful “must be able to pray in our churches and chapels, receive the Sacraments, and engage in acts of public prayer and devotion, so that we know God’s closeness to us and remain close to Him, fittingly calling upon His help,” he says.

Many priests in Italy have taken to social media and live streaming to keep in touch with the faithful.

Others are administering the sacraments to the sick and dying or attending to the needs of their local hospitals.

“There is no question that great evils like pestilence are an effect of original sin and of our actual sins. God, in His justice, must repair the disorder which sin introduces into our lives and into our world,” Burke wrote.

Burke criticised the ‘pop culture’ for being distant from God citing the evils of abortion, euthanasia, “the pervasive attack upon the integrity of human sexuality,” and the so-called ‘gender theory,’ are examples of this, he says.

“We cannot simply accept the determinations of secular governments, which would treat the worship of God in the same manner as going to a restaurant or to an athletic contest.

“We bishops and priests need to explain publicly the necessity of Catholics to pray and worship in their churches and chapels, and to go in procession through the streets, asking God’s blessing upon His people who suffer so intensely.”

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