British Pilgrims entering the Cathedral at Chartres

Thursday, 5 March 2020

NDC has posted this regarding the Coronavirus scare:

More than the epidemic of coronavirus, we must fear the epidemic of fear! For my part, I refuse to give in to collective panic and to subject myself to the precautionary principle which seems to move civil institutions.
I therefore do not intend to issue specific instructions for my diocese: will Christians stop coming together to pray? Will they give up on meeting and rescuing their fellow men?  Apart from the elementary precautions that everyone takes spontaneously so as not to contaminate others when they are sick, it is not advisable to add more. 
We should rather remember that in much more serious situations, those of the great plagues, and when the sanitary means were not those of today, the Christian populations were illustrated by collective prayer, as well as by aid to the sick, assistance to the dying and the burial of the deceased. In short, the disciples of Christ did not turn away from God or hide from the like. On the contrary! 
Doesn't the collective panic we are witnessing today reveal our distorted relationship to the reality of death? Does it not manifest the anxiety-provoking effects of losing God? We want to hide that we are mortal and, being closed to the spiritual dimension of our being, we lose ground. Because we have more and more sophisticated and more efficient techniques, we pretend to master everything and we hide that we are not the masters of life! 
By the way, note that the occurrence of this epidemic during the debates on bioethics laws fortunately reminds us of our human fragility! And this global crisis has at least the advantage of reminding us that we live in a common house, that we are all vulnerable and interdependent, and that it is more urgent to cooperate than to close our borders!
And then we all seem to have lost our heads! In any case, we live in a lie. Why suddenly focus our attention only on the coronavirus? Why hide from us that every year in France, the banal seasonal flu infects between 2 and 6 million people and causes around 8,000 deaths? We also seem to have removed from our collective memory the fact that alcohol is responsible for 41,000 deaths per year, while an estimated 73,000 are attributed to tobacco! 
Far from me then, the idea of ​​prescribing the closing of churches, the suppression of masses, the abandonment of the gesture of peace during the Eucharist, the imposition of such or such mode of communion deemed more hygienic (that said, everyone can always do as they please!), because a church is not a place of risk, but a place of salvation. It is a space where we welcome the one who is Life, Jesus Christ, and where through him, with him and in him, we learn together to be living. A church must remain what it is: a place of hope! 
Should you sulk at home? Should we rob the neighborhood supermarket and build up reserves in order to prepare to hold a seat? No! Because a Christian does not fear death. He is aware that he is mortal, but he knows in whom he has put his trust. He believes in Jesus who affirms to him: "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live; whoever believes in me will never die ”(John 11, 25-26). He knows that he is inhabited and animated by "the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead" (Romans 8, 11).
And then a Christian does not belong to himself, his life is given, because he follows Jesus, who teaches: “He who wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life because of me and the Gospel will save it ”(Mark 8:35). He certainly does not expose himself unduly, but neither does he seek to preserve himself. Following his crucified Master and Lord, he learned to give himself generously in the service of his most fragile brothers, with a view to eternal life.
So, let's not give in to the epidemic of fear! Let's not be undead! As Pope Francis would say: do not let your hope be robbed!
+ Pascal ROLAND

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