He only shuts up when he is writing!
From the Pastor: WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!
WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!! No, that is not panic, that is reality. We are all going to die. Of something, sometime. Maybe due to the coronavirus next week or next year. Maybe due to cancer in six months or 60 years from now. Maybe because of a car accident, food poisoning, or getting swallowed by a giant python ten minutes after reading this. But no matter the cause or the time, it is certain that we are all going to die. This statement is not one of grief, melancholy, or pessimism, just as certainly as it is not one of glee and giddiness. It is just a plain, simple fact. But the way the news reporters, the politicians, the people hoarding toilet paper, and even the Catholic Bishops around the world are reacting to the spread of the coronavirus, you’d think inevitable death is a lie and, if only we do or refrain from doing “X” our death can be averted. “X” is, of course, a variable that can be changed for just about any reason at any time. We can survive the coronavirus apocalypse if only we (take your pick) a) impeach Trump; b) re-elect Trump; c) hide in a bunker; d) make everyone else hide in bunkers; e) cancel NBA, March Madness, and NHL games; f) cancel Masses; g) (choose your own favorite magic “X” to insert here). It is only reason “f” that truly troubles me.
As far as I am concerned, “f” shows the hand of satan and his demons. This is what they want. “Let’s get rid of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!” they cackle. “That Blessed Son defeated us once when we got Him put to death and now He re-presents that Perfect Sacrificial Offering, our tremendously humiliating defeat, through the hands of His priests on a daily basis. We must find a way to put an end to it! We partially succeeded by making the people abandon the Sacrifice when we watered down all of its glorious prayers, made all rubrics optional, turned it into an entertainment gig with the focus on priest and people rather than on Him Whose very name causes us to shudder and writhe in pain, and convinced bishops to train and ordain faithless, immoral men who then clawed their own way to bishops’ seats and diabolically perpetuated the cycle. But now we have a grand opportunity to rid the world, the kingdom where our dark prince rules, of this Holy Sacrifice for at least a while, even if not yet permanently. If we succeed this time in convincing the bishops to applaud and go along with our chosen politicians’ mandates to cease all religious functions at this time due to a scary coronavirus, the next time a new virus is manufactured by our evil communist puppets or even by natural mutation, they will all the more quickly acquiesce, and soon our task will be accomplished! We have convinced those poor slobs that saving the body is so much more important than saving the soul. Soon, very soon, those souls will be ours and, when their death, which they are convinced they will not face, inexorably occurs, we will torture them with every bit of pain they ran away from in the first place! And for all of eternity! What perverted fun!”
The above monologue is just a figment of my imagination. Or is it? When AIDS was an epidemic, did our politicians and bishops(!) demand that “religious services” be repressed? How about when we faced the hype-induced panic of Mad Cow Disease, SARS, Swine Flu, Avian Flu, Zika, Ebola, or any others that right now escape my memory? All of those were bad, but nobody ever dreamed that they could get away with not only curtailing civil liberties but also having people, including Catholic clergy and other religious leaders, willingly give up their spiritual sustenance! And for what real purpose? Certainly, not to save lives. If religious and civil leaders were interested in saving lives, they would forcefully preach against and immediately outlaw abortion and contraception. And clergy going along with such things as outlawing Mass, even weddings and funerals? Have they no faith? In times past, it is true, the faithful priests and laity during plagues died in far greater numbers than the unfaithful, for they took care of the sick rather than isolate themselves in a sometimes successful attempt to save their own skin. But the eternal reward of dying while caring for the dying has no comparison to the damnable and eternal price of self-love in such circumstances. The Faithful get together and pray, trusting in God, and begging His forgiveness and mercy, even if it costs them their lives. The unfaithful hide and cower and find excuses to exclude both God and His most needy people from their lives in times of trouble.
Will today’s priests continue to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass during this pandemic? Will they continue to hear confessions, even though the ones confessing are breathing directly into their faces just a few inches away? Or is the fear of bodily illness and death and earthly reprisals stronger than their fear of God? Pray for us to be true priests, who will celebrate Mass and the sacraments for you, and, like Tobias, even bury you should you need it, even if/when it becomes illegal. Finally, pray for our bishop, that he, too, may continue to care more about the eternal souls of his people than about their mortal bodies, “Courageously Living the Gospel” (his tagline) rather than “Courageously (ahem) Living a Bit Longer on Earth Without God.”
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka