Too many religious institutions failed the COVID test
Maybe as a vaguely religious Jew, I've got the wrong end of the stick when I look at Christianity, but I've long understood Christianity to be a faith that gives comfort and relief to the afflicted. It provides an answer to life's most pressing mysteries, especially death, and gives people a place to recharge their spiritual batteries when life hits its lowest ebb. Judaism, too, while it lacks a defined eschatology about the afterlife, exists to assure the faithful that they have a relationship with God and a place in his universe. COVID, however, has seen religious institutions break that faith with their parishioners.
I've been thinking this for a while, but a story out of Berlin, Germany sort of slapped me in the face with it. LifeSiteNews reports:
The Archdiocese of Berlin will effectively segregate vaccinated and unvaccinated faithful during Advent and Christmastime.
The archdiocese issued the harsh restrictions in a communiqué published Friday on its official website, announcing that from November 27 onward, the so-called 2G rule will apply to most Masses and church services of the diocese throughout Advent and Christmastime.
The 2G rule allows only people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or who have recently recovered from the disease to attend all church services. The faithful will have to show proof of vaccination or immunization upon entry.
According to the communiqué, the decision was taken in view of the "sharply increasing numbers of COVID cases" in Germany.
People under 18 are exempt from the rule, as are those who are able to provide proof of a medical exemption from the COVID vaccine, which is difficult to obtain in Germany. In any case, these people will have to show a negative COVID test upon entering.
Masses according to the less restrictive so-called 3G rule will only be celebrated once a day on Sundays and feast days in every parish.
The 3G rule allows unvaccinated people who have not contracted COVID-19 to attend Mass at specific times, provided they show a negative COVID test upon entry, which may be no older than 24 hours for antigen tests and 48 hours for PCR tests.
In addition to banning people who are not vaccinated from services during the Christmas season, people must wear masks at all times, and they may not receive Holy Communion on the tongue. In other words, in a time of fear, the Church is bowing to the State and closing its doors to those who refuse an experimental gene therapy that has lots of side-effects, unknown long-term effects, and time-limited benefits.
Image: Priest giving communion. Piqsels.
Perhaps this bothered me so much because I just spoke to a friend of mine who lives in a leftist-run city and learned that, because she is not vaccinated, she can no longer attend the synagogue that was a part of her life for years. Not for her the consolation of religion during these troubled times. Fortunately, she's found a haven at the local Chabad House, but not everyone is so lucky.
In the past, during plagues and wars, priests and rabbis ministered to the frightened, the sick, and the dying. (That's the kind of thing we history majors know.) Now, though, because of a virus that, for most people under 60, has a mortality rate hovering around 1%, lonely, frightened people are being deprived of the consolation of faith and the emotional benefits of community.
I'm not surprised that leftist-run governments have seized on COVID as an excuse to shut down religious institutions. Since the Enlightenment and the separation of Church and State in Western countries, statists have always considered traditional faiths to threaten their power. Lenin, Hitler, Mao, and every other leftist dictator has targeted the Judeo-Christian faiths that state eternal moral principles separate from totalitarian power systems and that support nuclear families and courage. (Religious people know they answer to a higher power than the dictator.)
What's been so disheartening during the past 20 months is the willingness with which religious institutions have gone along with the states' mandates. In Canada, Rev. Artur Pawlowski has fought back, but no representatives from major religions have supported his efforts. He embarrasses, rather than inspires, them.
The virtue of COVID is that it has separated the wheat from the chaff. To the leftists, the people who are chaff are those who refuse to wear masks and get shots. However, in the grander scheme of things, the chaff is those people who have used the virus as an opportunity for despotism and those people — including men and women of God — who have happily gone along with it.