Virus normalcy, the so-called ‘new normal’, is for Christians almost certainly more abhorrent than it is for people of other religions and of no faith. Of course, we have people of other religions (Freemasons) and of no faith (atheists) in the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church and that is probably our biggest problem, as well as the fact that Pope Francis (wildly popular with Freemasons and atheists) leads the way in this feature of modern Catholic life. None were more keen to adapt to the new normal as Francis and none will I suspect be so keen as he to lead us to whatever hellish, inhuman, dystopian landscape the new normal leads us. Nearly all Bishops fell like dominos after Francis and we should never forget that terrifying precedent. Let us pray we are not reminded in Autumn.
The reason that I would argue the new normal is incompatible with Christianity is because ours is a passionately human Faith, our Faith loves our humanity in its imperfection and its vulnerability, because even though it is divine, it is incarnational. It is viscerally human. Our God is the Lord who spits on the earth to form clay and uses it to open the eyes of men born blind. God risks everything to show us His love. The Lord condescends to become human, to experience our frailty, to win us. Our Faith teaches us that we don’t readily seek out transmittable illness and suffering for ourselves, but that because God is with us, whether we live or whether we die, we inhabit a vale of tears in which risk is unavoidable. Everything in this world is temporary, including us.
Our Saints, our mystics, our Church fathers taught us that we should live in this world as we in reality are, as if we are passing through, as vulnerable and as short-lived in the sight of God, as a votive candle lit in the evening that burns down and is gone by the morning. St Francis of Assisi, St Clare of Assisi, so many Saints taught us that neither wealth nor health offer any valuable protection in this world, God alone is our Guardian and Protector, our Provider and our Saviour.
Godlessness produces societies governed by fear
If we live, says St Paul, we live for the Lord and if we die, says the Apostle to the Gentiles, we die for the Lord. Our death and judgement is meant to be at the forefront of our minds, not to produce terror within us, but holy and filial fear of offending God. If we sin, we are promised forgiveness if we sincerely repent. When we die, we want to be embraced by the Lord in His mercy and dwell forever in the presence of his holy ones. We live as men already under sentence of death, we hope for merciful reprieve from the Divine Majesty when we die. Our ordinary human state is corruptible and wretched, but we are made holy by God, the God who divinizes us with His very self and we are called to be holy both in body and soul. Our bodies, if faithful, will on the last day be glorified beyond all our understanding. Health in this world is a blessing, but perhaps even more of a blessing is to be chastened even in a small way in this world, so that we yearn for the next.
Inimical to Christianity is the idea of the self-isolation of the human race, of sealing ourselves from dirt, bacteria and the potential proximate physical dangers inherent in the world, of seeing our humanity as diseased to the point of the fearful avoidance of others, of fearing real communion with others or with, God forgive us, our Eucharistic Lord. These things fly in the face of the Gospel we have received. We accept crosses, we understand that health is here today and could be gone tomorrow. Before us, all who lived have died, death approaches us all, and despite fact that we have never experienced it as individuals, the same prospect of death awaits us all. To those with even the greatest faith, death is an experiential unknown, a human mystery so profound we cannot begin to plumb its depths, as we slip away from a temporal realm, out of time itself and into eternity.
As Christians, we refuse to live our lives in any other world but the fallen world, the real world, but our souls and our minds are enlightened by the Holy Spirit, we are animated by the Spirit of Christ, He lives and works in us, we try not to impede His life in us as we strive to live in the power of the Holy Spirit in that world, to extend the Kingdom of God, to bring the light of Christ to others, to bring eternal Salvation to the world, the promise of Heaven to those who repent, who are baptised and who believe in the Lord Jesus and live by His Commandments. Jesus leads us in our Passover to the endless world where there is no sadness, no suffering, no illness, no death, only joy, for these former things have passed away.
In the first instance, our very understanding that God became man in Jesus Christ radically awakens in us a new reality, a new world, a new reality, a supernaturally new normal, as liberated adopted sons and daughters. In Jesus’s suffering and death, we see the divine Person suffering in His humanity which is the same as our humanity, though He is sinless, having taken human flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, taking upon himself a human Body and offering it to His Father in His Passion and Death, taking it up to God the Father at His Ascension. Our Baptism has claimed us for God, it has not claimed us for the world and its dictates. We do not live to bring danger or harm to others, but we are a people for whom the whole concept of ‘social distancing’ is repellent. We are the very ones called to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, shelter the stranger, the homeless poor, visit the sick and imprisoned, embrace risk for Christ.
We see in the prevalence of a secular Government-led ‘new normal’ all the hallmarks of a Christless, hopeless world in which just about everything and everyone is in a real sense sacrificed upon the Altar of Public Health, the essential needs of our humanity for love and friendship, our humanity itself is sacrificed, ignoring the Sacrificial Victim immolated on the Altar in every Catholic Church. We are now asked even to worship health, by clapping on Thursdays. Almost all Government announcements during the past eight weeks have been aimed at our most basic, primal fears, our fear of suffering and death and the suffering and death of our loved ones. All of these fears and terrors, Jesus experienced in His Agony in the Garden of Gethesemene. All of these fears we face or will face, with Him and in Him.
The Christless world cannot possibly defend itself against the panic-producing mantras of Government and media. We have all been taught to be afraid, children will be also, but the Lord it is who tells us, ‘Be not afraid!’ A Christless world cannot defend itself from Government that treats citizens as dumb, unteachable infants who need the Government’s constant ‘protection’ from disease and suffering. The rejection of the Fatherhood of God leads inexorably to whole nations falling into the arms of the State which becomes presented to us as the ultimate protector and guardian of humanity, however tyrannical it becomes. Inherent in Government propaganda is the idea that illness, suffering and death are entirely unnatural, alien to our experience in this world, and that such things can and should be banished, at the cost of many intrinsic freedoms, despite the fact that people have been dying of transmittable or non-transmittable diseases in one form or another for thousands of years.
The Church: Ark of Salvation, Hospital for Sinners
For the Church, the adoption of a kind of pseudo-secular messianism, led by the new ‘infallible’ high priests of science and medicine, that proclaims humanity itself can save itself from even the threat of pestilence, whether the disease’s survival rate is incredibly high or low, constitutes a major threat similar to and even more alarming than the neo-pagan belief adopted globally that humanity can save the seas, the air, the earth from climate change and that this should be a central concern to us all. Both ideas are ripe for exploitation by those who work for Antichrist and, if he’s around, the Antichrist himself. For the Church, or at least the Hierarchy, to imitate Government in its web of deceitful doctrines that we can create a ‘safe world’, a ‘disease-free future’ in which the air and sea can be as clean as hands freshly washed and sanitized is a gross insult to God as well as a grotesque lie.
It is sin that imperils each and every one of us and threatens every day our eternal happiness. Nothing and nobody is truly safe, but for the man and woman who live in the grace, love and friendship of God and persevere in it to the end. Our Lord Jesus Christ established the Church to be the City of God in which men dwell with angels, not the City of Man in which men live under the constant influence and persuasion of demons and hostile powers. Christians and all men are already being guilt-tripped that by merely breathing they imperil the lives of their countrymen while Government slaughters the unborn and euthanizes the infirm. No hospital is truly safe. The only safe hospital is the hospital for sinners: the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is the sole safe space in the world and, alas, for the vast majority of Catholics, that safe space has been locked by fearful Bishops. It is a safe space not because it is as sanitary and bacteria free as a clinical laboratory outside of Wuhan but because it is the place in which man meets his holy Redeemer who loves him, saves him and sanctifies him.
There a man or woman can find refuge from a hostile world that seeks man’s downfall in a thousand ways. Before the Tabernacle, man can be close to the Heart of God, the Heart of Jesus Christ and pour out his soul, he can weep for his sins more readily in this sacred and safe space where God resides. In this safe space, guarded by holy angels, holy water and holy images, man can entrust all his most sordid and guilty secrets to a Confessor who acting in the Person of Christ, will bring healing and heavenly consolation and strength to the penitent sinner. Sinners, lost in a world of confusion, dread, anguish of soul, can obtain forgiveness here as in no other place in the world. Man can ascend the highest mountain peak and be no closer to God than he was at street level, yet he can walk mere yards into a Catholic Church and find Him there and be found.
None of us wants to lose anyone close to us earlier than we think they should die, but we run the greater risk of thinking of ourselves as minature gods who can defeat death by a power or method rejected by God Himself. God’s way of defeating death was to defeat it masterfully by the power of the Cross, the acceptance of the Chalice of suffering in order to obtain for us a deathless death, a death which leads to our birth to true, eternal Life. Death will either become for us a supreme sacrament of love that unites us eventually and eternally to God the Most High, or plunge us into eternal death, shame, terror and sorrow. Our judgement will unveil for us our whole life, our exterior life and our inner life, a fearful thing, but our Lord calls us to prepare by a holy life, not by a life lived in fear of microbes, where the fear of transmission surpasses and extirpates the fear of the Lord. Whether we are near or far from God, weak or strong, He wants us to trust Him and live for Him, love Him, die for Him and in die in Him.
We cannot both forget God and be fully alive
We can take some precautions in this world, but in reality the Christian life acknowledges a world of risk, Jesus Christ established the Church precisely because it is a world of risk and the greatest risk of all time, for all times until His Second Coming, is the risk that we will be eternally lost to God, the risk that in our concern for temporal comfort and temporal protection from all this world can assail us with, that we will forget God. The great crime of Bishops is that they have contributed so much to the idea that we can forget God in times of pandemic, that the only safe space on Earth can be locked, that God and His Church are not as important as health, health which is always transient, that we can be saved by anything but the Precious Blood of Jesus. May God raise up Shepherds who will teach us that this world is passing and that nothing is as important as the love of God, nothing is as important as Salvation and nothing is as important as the Holy Eucharist, the Sacrament of Holy Love. Our Lord did not die bloodied on the Cross to create a hygienic, zealously sanitized world, but to wash away the world’s sins in His Precious Blood, to make men zealous for His Salvation. We can all imagine and have already seen an episcopal response to the virus far more zealous for sanitation than for sanctification.
It is sad, though entirely predictable, that a post-Coronavirus world has given us a post-Coronavirus Pope Francis. Though marked by a radical streak of at times painfully staged Peronist populism, Romans presumably once enjoyed the Pope with the ‘human touch’, but the Francis who taught us to ‘touch the flesh of Christ in the flesh of the poor’ has died and the Francis who maintains whatever arbitrary social distancing regulations the Government has mandated has arrived.
The leper kissing St Francis of Assisi belongs now firmly back in the 12th century, not the 21st. The Francis who kissed babies and men covered in boils has passed away to reveal the Francis for whom all mankind is a now a threat to other men. Who knows? Perhaps he will return to his ‘touchy-feely’ style, once Mr and Mrs Gates and their friends embedded in Governments have attempted to vaccinate seven billion bodies either with or without their consent. I’m certain Mr Gates will get a fair hearing in Rome and I personally dread the Hierarchy’s response in the long-term to all that the powerful elites may wish to visit upon humanity, upon Christians, upon the Church.
We probably all have much to suffer, the Lord has warned us beforehand, but in the end the Immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph. Christ is victorious. Whatever we can do to contribute to that triumph over evil, even if it is only by our sufferings and our prayers joined to hers, may her maternal intercession for us embolden us to do it. Worse than Covid-19 is assuredly the tyranny that follows in its wake but worse than the tyranny that follows in its wake is the possibility of eternal damnation. There may be fearsome choices ahead, may Our Lord Jesus Christ give us grace to persevere in our Faith to the end.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
St Maximillian Kolbe, pray for us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
May 18, 2020