As we write this, the situation in our world, due to COVID-19’s spread, seems pretty dire.
In Italy, the number of those infected seems to be leveling off, although deaths from COVID-19 seem to be increasing. The U.S. seminary in Rome had to decide to send its seminarians home to the U.S. last Sunday, although the seminary formation faculty, including Fr. John Cush from the Diocese of Brooklyn, remain and will remain, assisting the seminarians who are home from a central place.
The Holy Father’s own place of residence, the Casa Santa Marta, has at least one resident, a priest who works for the Vatican, testing positive for COVID-19. Many are terrified for the pope’s own health, but he continues to work and give pastoral outreach, albeit by streaming.
The Italian Governmental restrictions have become stricter and stricter, with no one allowed out unless they have a declaration form on them as they leave their homes. Vladimir Putin’s Russian Government has offered Italy assistance and the Italians have accepted.
In the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins website, positive diagnoses of COVID-19 have surpassed China, Italy, and Iran by the thousands. Our beloved New York City has become the epicenter of the pandemic in our nation, and — Please, God, no — the entire world.
And unlike Italy, it seems that there are still some people who will not take seriously the need for self-quarantine and to stay at home. There are still some who see this entire situation as overblown, an exaggeration by the leftist mainstream media to bring down the president and the economy. Still others, well-intentioned, comment about the irony of New York’s radically pro-abortion governor stating that we in New York will not sacrifice lives, especially those of the elderly and most vulnerable, for the sake of economics and leisure. Perhaps, instead of condemning Governor Cuomo now for his obvious inconsistency concerning human life and its value, we can pray that this experience will change his mind on the value of human life from conception to natural death, and then, when all of this is behind us, remind him of his views and fight even harder for an end to abortion.
Others in the media are calling for the older generation, the so-called “Boomers” and the advanced elderly, to be ready to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the younger generations. This is an idea advanced in respected magazines, and it is horrifying. Likewise, even in Christian publications, writers like R.R. Reno in First Things seem to be going off the rails concerning the reality of the current situation.
We need to remember these articles when all is said and done.
Still others are lambasting the Holy Father and the bishops who are trying their best to do what is necessary for the physical and spiritual health of their people. Are there issues in the Church? Yes, of course. Is there the need for reform? Yes, most certainly. However, at this critical juncture, the liturgical and culture wars need to cease, at least for a moment.
But now is not the time for fighting. We need to be united as a city, a state, a nation, a diocese, a Church, a world.