I Like to Think That I Would Die for Jesus

by | May 7, 2020 | Can of Worms, Catholic Living, Sacraments | 238 comments

For some clarifications and considerations, see this follow up post, Abortion Jargon, Obedience, and Whether I Just Want to Kill All Priests: The Catholic + Coronavirus Can of Worms

I suppose one never knows for sure until one is faced with the opportunity, but I like to think that I would die for Jesus, and for you.

I believe in the authority of the pope and our bishops to dispense us from our Sunday obligation, and to offer new indulgences in new ways, and that both of these are licit and charitable and good. I believe that the Covid-19 Coronavirus is real and that it poses a real danger to the health of some and that there are steps that we can and should take to mitigate some of the risk.

However . . .

The annals of hagiography are filled with saints willing to be martyred in defense of their neighbor, the Church, and the sacraments. Specifically the Eucharist.

There are news stories of priests (here and here) and laypeople who risked or sacrificed their lives attempting to save the Eucharist from danger.

I’m not here to tell you what choices you should make for your own health and family in your particular circumstances. But it seems to me that the narrative that our bishops are hearing is that we, the faithful, are scared. They are hearing that we want safety. I want to come out and say that I want Jesus in the Eucharist, and I am willing to risk death for it.

I believe that Jesus is truly present in every particle of the Blessed Sacrament and I am willing to risk death to treat every particle with reverence.

I believe in the efficacy of the sacraments of confession, baptism, matrimony, anointing of the sick, and extreme unction, and that the faithful have a right to them even in times of crisis. (Can. 213)

I believe in the Precepts of the Church and that the requirement to receive the Eucharist during the Easter season is real and important. (CCC 2042)

I believe that friends and family and fellowship and community are integral parts of our faith and the human experience and there are levels of risk that I am willing to accept for those opportunities.

I understand that no matter what precautions I take, I and people I love might get the Coronavirus. It sounds pretty miserable. I understand that no matter what precautions I take, I and people I love might die of the Coronavirus or any number of other things. That is all the more reason why I prefer to have access to the sacraments, even with the risks that would entail.

It is the responsibility of the faithful, per Canon Law, to let the bishops know what we need. (Can. 212.2-3) I invite you to consider doing so.

See also: Control Is an Illusion: Some Things I Noticed While Spending Five Weeks in the Hospital with a Two Year Old (and a baby sidekick)

Update 5/9: New policy, because it’s my blog and I can.

I strongly object to the use of the term pro-life in this debate. To willfully and purposefully kill someone by abortion or euthanasia is in no way the same as to accept that there are risks associated with particular choices in life and to allow people the freedom to make those choices. I risk my own life and the lives of my children, other motorists, and passers by when I drive my car. But we consider that acceptable because the reward is high enough and the risk is low enough. It is not anti-life to drive. It’s not anti-life to allow people to choose other behaviors that have risks. 

Let’s talk about whether the reward of the sacraments is worth the risk. Let’s have this discussion, let’s try to convince one another to see it our way. But please don’t call it a pro-life issue.

In related news, please try to just say what you think without offering insult or speculating about the motivations of the people to whom you are responding. It just keeps everything so much more pleasant.

As always, I reserve the right to delete comments or portions of comments as necessary. -Kendra


  1. Edel


    You have just put words to the deepest longings of my heart. Thank you sincerely. I think we need to boldly proclaim our love for Jesus in the Eucharist and our desire to have the sacraments. I’ve no doubt that many are feeling the same but have felt obliged to do what what is ‘best for all.’ Jesus is the truth, the way and the life. He is the way out of this current crisis too.

    • Kendra

      Yes. I think we need to be willing to go against the prevailing narrative of “safety first” in the practice of religion. Safety is on the list, but it’s not first.

    • Elizabeth

      With you being in Cali- it seems to go from bad to worse with the state and local government including the police!!
      I follow another California family I think in your area who goes and peacefully protests. What are thoughts on all of tbis?
      Mike Pence is coming to Des Moines today to meet with religious and ag leaders- I thought for a second I could take my girls to go show our support but worry about the crazies out there so here we sit….

      • Kendra

        Yes, regular life seems particularly far away in California.

        I think peaceful protests are a good way to increase awareness that this is a multifaceted issue.

    • Pat Havener

      Thank you for expressing my thoughts so well. It’s time for us to live our faith. Thy will be done, Father. I put all my trust Thee! Please give us the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that we may sacramentaly receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ! Put ourselves in God’s Hands. Again, His Will be done!

    • Berney Neal

      Beautiful! Thank you for writing this. We NEED the Sacraments. We have gone far too long without them. The Sacraments are Essential for our souls and I hope our Bishops will start giving us the Mass again and the Holy Eucharist.

    • Nicolr

      Sister honestly I just applaud you for having the courage to share your sentiments, because the vitriol that is being pointed at people who question in any way the STAY HOME fervor right now is unparalleled to anything Ive seen since maybe 9-11. I appreciate your willingness to discuss this despite the nastiness you will receive. God bless you and ultimately I agree.

  2. teresa power

    It is really time to speak up, Kendra. Let’s not be afraid of it! It is really time to speak up… Thanks for this post!

    • Kendra

      I agree that people in particular circumstances may need to continue to make use of the dispensation from the obligation to participate Sunday Mass. But it’s no more reasonable for a bishop to mandate that NONE of us can participate in the Mass than it would be for a bishop to mandate sexual abstinence in all married couples regardless of circumstance.

    • Theresa

      Thank you Mike for this article. Beautiful written from the heart. My heart has only grown fonder for my Lord and Saviour and longs for Him even more. I have learned so much from this time away from Him Sacramentally but definitely finding Him closer to me by seeking Him in His Word and in the many opportunities presented to us virtually. Thank you again and God Bless you.

  3. Mark Taylor

    If you are saying that the Churches should be open in spite of the risk of getting infected, I agree. In fact, here in Australia, I signed a petition asking Scott Morrison to consider re-opening Churches.

    • Susan Mendel

      I completely agree!!! We NEED the church’s open. We NEED Jesus. I love your article and agree with you 100%!!

  4. J.B.

    We have the right to decide for ourselves whether we will risk our lives for the Eucharist. We do not have the right to decide on behalf of others, who will be infected because of us, whether we will risk their lives for the Eucharist.

    • Kendra

      I think we should regard the Mass and the sacraments as essential and give them the same access as other essential services like the grocery store.

      • Mary Ann

        Thank you!!! Our bishops need to hear from us, and I will be contacting mine today!

      • Andrea

        Yes! I miss the Eucharist so very much and am beginning to feel very disconnected without, even with our efforts at home. I do believe in the efficacy of Spiritual Communion, but materially, it’s not the same. God knew what he was doing when he gave us the sacraments-humans need the tangible! I never realized how much I took Communion for granted, and I don’t think I will ever again.
        I was fine with the initial directive to stay home. I understood the need to flatten the curve as they say. But we can’t stay home forever! I saw an article saying it was found that something like 60% of new cases in New York were found in people who followed the stay at home orders. There is so much simply out of our control.
        I don’t think it’s selfish to need Jesus. Thank you for standing up and saying so. I’m going to write our bishop today.

        • Jessica

          Andrea — just for the record, I read that survey. The data actually states that 2/3 of New Yorkers were *living at home* when they got COVID-19 (as compared to living at a nursing home, being homeless, etc). The survey did not ask if the patients were following stay at home orders and/or if they were essential workers.

          • Aw

            That’s true, but in addition to asking where they were living, it also asked if they were essential workers. The essential workers were not admitted at a higher rate than those not working.

        • Sarah

          Same story here! I didn’t mind staying home to prevent hospitals from getting overwhelmed and so they could get proper protective gear, but then the goalpost moved and now people just seem to think that they won’t get it and it will get eradicated if everyone stays home. It’s turning neighbor against neighbor.

      • Leena

        It is absolutely ESSENTIAL! What about those that are not receiving their sacraments? We are saying it is unimportant and we won’t move heaven and earth to baptize you, or marry you or let you receive Jesus for the very first time. My confirmation students have been put off for an unknown date. So many times I’ve told them that we are active participants in the mass, it is not a passive event like watching TV. It is so, so devastating and I weep.

    • Tara

      Do you drive to Mass? Have you gone to Mass during flu season with elderly people? Then you have risked killing those people. We now understand how to take precautions with Covid19 that will protect us at least as well or better than we were protecting people during flu seasons past. This “you might kill people” stick is an unreasonable tool to beat people with.

    • Skye Angioletti

      I do worry about infecting others. I may feel fine but could be asymptomatic and easily spread the virus to others. Which would in turn infect others – the possibilities are exponential. I would love to receive the sacraments again. I also trust the Bishops to balance the needs of the faithful. Once testing and tracing are more widespread, I will feel more comfortable. It will be an amazing moment to receive Jesus in the Eucharist again.

  5. Anastasia

    I have been saying this same thing all along! The early Christians (and Christians now a days) we’re willing to die for the faith…. it seems now our church is not willing to get sick for the faith. I am worried about the reprocusions of all the bishops saying ‘mass via internet is good enough’. Why would we drag our kids to mass every Sunday after this if via Facebook live is good enough?? Dangerous language! We need Jesus fully and physically in the Eucharist! But I know it is a gift to critique because we are not making the decisions.

    • Kendra

      Yes. I am concerned that there will be unintended consequences from the reliance on technology here. It’s going to require some re-education when all of this is over.

    • Julia

      Yes! I completely agree and have been expressing the same thing nightly with my poor husband. I am deeply saddened by how quickly the Church deemed itself nonessential.

      • Catherine

        I work for a Catholic church in MN. We were allowed to stay open or close. Our parish population skews 70% over the age of 60. Around us, it seems like parishes are just locking up, rolling up the sidewalks and showing up at the building to tape Mass. One parish literally coned off the parking lot to keep people off the property!

        My parish is different. Because we have a great priest who is obedient, we have creatively been able to distribute Easter Communion (with a sign up), provide Mass outside in the parking lot using an FM transmitter, parking lot adoration, our church building is open during the day for prayer as long as there are no more than 10 in the building. While we are still limited to 10 at Mass, my priest and his two deacons are driving pyxes around to families in a rotation so Communion is available. He’s doing anointings (according to our AB’s guidelines). We have curbside confession. We are working overtime to make all of this available for our parishioners.

        While I feel that our parish is much closer to what is ideal (PUBLIC Mass in church with full communion), we still don’t have and won’t have Communion during Mass. It will be after Mass, available to those who are comfortable receiving.

        I think some churches have chosen to make themselves nonessential, but not all churches.

        • Kendra

          This sounds really wonderful! God bless all of you working to make this possible.

  6. Colleen Gregory

    Amen! Thank you, Kendra!

  7. Helen Kreitzer

    I agree. Thank you. This is the clearest and most direct summary of what I truly believe. I need the Eucharist. I want to confess my sins. I had a conversation w a neighbor (mom of a large family) this week who’s husband found a priest at an urban parish who is hearing confessions outside in the rectory backyard during the lunch hour and are gathering their kids and (first calling to warm him about the 8 kids) to go to confession.
    My husband and I are in our 70’s-married 51 yrs next week. We look at the early Christians and persecuted church in Europe as our legacy and desire freedom to worship.

  8. Deborah Goodman

    Thank you so much for saying this! I am so desperate to get back to church. I have felt so lost. I will be sending our Arch Bisop an email.

    • Kendra

      I think it will help if more bishops hear this perspective!

  9. Beth

    Yes! Thank you for eloquently saying what has been on my mind for some time!!

  10. dittmer.elizabeth

    Thank you for this Kendra. Did you hear about the studies run out of the diocese of Portland, Oregon, stating that reception of the Eucharist on the tongue is actually more sanitary and does not at all increase the spread of COVID-19? I wish more bishops would acknowledge that fact. Here in the diocese of Orlando, we have been instructed to receive on the hand out of “charity for our neighbors”. How would you go about still receiving the Eucharist reverently and without desecrating particles of Jesus, but also not upsetting parish staff and other parishioners who do not understand why we receive on the tongue?

    • Kendra

      This is such a hard question, and honestly, I don’t know for sure. I feel confident that our pastor would abide by canon law on the matter and allow reception on the tongue regardless of local instructions to the contrary, so I don’t think I will have to discern this for myself. However, my inclination is that I would reluctantly submit to receiving in the hand in the manner that is in usual practice. But if there were requirements for gloves or if the consecrated host were to be put in a plastic bag or something, I would look for another parish. If that was impossible, I think I would continue to abstain from the Eucharist while trying my best to respectfully educate my pastor and fellow parishioners on the fullness of the issue.

      • Gina Fensterer

        Kendra, regarding abstaining if the Eucharist will be passed out with gloves and in bags, I have been considering abstaining as well. To treat the Eucharist in such a way is awful. It’s truly our Lord! To put His Precious Body in a throw-away bag is unthinkable to me.

      • Emily

        Thanks for this post. For me, the past 6 weeks without Mass and the Eucharist have been very hard. They have shown me what an honor it is to physically receive the sacraments. It has been a huge sacrifice for all of us to go without these, and I will not take Mass or the Eucharist for granted going forward, that is for sure!

        I wanted to comment because of the discussion of receiving the Eucharist on the tongue.

        Receiving the Eucharist on the tongue vs in the hand does not place us at any higher risk, but it does place our priests distributing Communion at higher risk! With placing the Eucharist on the tongue, the priest is exposed directly to the respiratory droplets on our breath.

        This adds an increased level of risk to the priest to be directly exposed to our respiratory droplets. This is particularly concerning to me as many of our priests are elderly.

        I have never commented before but felt I needed to say something about this out of consideration for our priests. Our priests are so valuable to us that I feel we should do our part to minimize their risk of infection as much as we can.

      • Emily

        Our Bishop has continued the dispensation, but allowed churches to open with regulations in place. I went to a Friday Mass in person and watched the Sunday Mass on TV, because I’m not worried about getting Coronavirus at all for me, but we see several family members in higher risk categories. That makes me cautious for them. I’m also not keen on bringing my whole family Sunday when 3 are too little and horse around a lot and seats are at a premium. My kids are also terrible about keeping their germs to themselves. We’ve had Confessions the whole time, but not Communion til this week. But I didn’t know about the receiving on the tongue restrictions because our Bishop said we CAN receive on the tongue but if the priest makes contact, he must sanitize after, AND then our priest reiterated it at Friday Mass that no one could tell us “no” to that. They’re all pretty amazing!

        • Kendra

          I understand your concerns, and you have to decide what’s right for your family. God bless your bishop! What a reasonable approach.

    • Stefany

      God Bless Archbishop Sample!

  11. Lori

    Thank you Kendra! I totally agree!

  12. Betsy

    You would die for Jesus, but how would you feel if you killed your neighbor in the process? It’s not JUST about you.

    • Kendra

      I think that Mass and the sacraments should be considered essential and given the same consideration as other essential services like the grocery store. People at particular risk could choose to make use of the dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation.

      • Elizabeth

        Except that it is possible to maintain social distancing at the grocery store and completely impossible to maintain distance when receiving the Eucharist. They aren’t comparable. I think churches should remain open and there are plenty of creative ways to safely administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but distribution of holy communion is much more complicated. What we are doing right now – staying home – is heroic virtue and frankly it feels like a martyrdom of sorts to be denied the Eucharist, but it isn’t about me. It is about the weak, the vulnerable, and our priests who NEED to be able to go into hospitals to anoint the sick without becoming vectors to the rest of the parish community.

        • Kendra

          With hand washing/sanitizing and distancing of parishoners receiving the sacraments could pose a similar risk as a visit to the grocery store. And just as a particularly vulnerable member of the community might need to avoid the grocery store, those who are particularly vulnerable could use the dispensation available to them.

          • Elizabeth

            I disagree. As long as public Masses are closed, priests can minister to those most in need with relative confidence that they are not asymptomatic carriers. Once Masses resume, their contact with the public vastly increases and they no longer have that security. And what about the many, many priests who are themselves elderly and vulnerable?
            Realistically, how could communion be safely distributed? Should the priest wash his hands between each and every communicant? Even then, there would be about a foot between the priest and communicant. Some states are talking about contact tracing as part of their staged reopening. If one person receives communion and tests positive, then the priest becomes the point of contact for 500, a thousand, or more others.
            There are no easy answers here, but I don’t think the Bishops made the decision because they or we are afraid. I think they are doing the best they can to protect the least of God’s little ones.
            Yes, I hunger for the Eucharist, but God is not limited by the Sacraments. Some of the Saints went months or years without the Eucharist and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can too. I am not afraid that the faithful will become apathetic. If anything, I think the deprivation will spark a fire of renewed devotion.

          • Laura M

            I agree with you Elizabeth. People can choose to risk their own life but they don’t get to risk others. It is a very difficult situation, and the logisitics aren’t conparable to those of a supermarket. I want life to resume too but we can’t overlook the facts you’ve mentioned.

          • Kendra

            But in important ways the logistics favor the sacraments, since they could all potentially be moved outside, which appears to be safer than indoors, especially when buildings are air-conditioned. It’s less easy to move supermarkets outside.

        • Matilda

          I agree. I think we are in a lengthy Sabbath, and I think that denying ourselves the Eucharist so that others may live is the most pro-life thing we have done (as a society, not individually).

          I work in a parish and could receive but I choose not to out of obedience to my metropolitan and in solidarity with my fellow Catholics.

          • Kendra

            I don’t think anyone should begrudge you the opportunity to receive our Lord in the Eucharist! We should all rejoice with you!

          • Pam Fitzgibbons

            I agree with you, Matilda. Of course receiving the Holy Eucharist is my greatest desire, and I am willing to risk personal harm to receive, but I don’t believe it is right to risk harm to others for what I want. Doesn’t everyone remember those awful graphics that from high school health class describing how disease is spread? One person gets the disease, they pass it to a couple people who pass it to a couple people and so on? Eventually there’s this whole wedge of people who have the disease who wouldn’t have had it if that first person hadn’t become infected. WE ARE ALL THAST FIRST PERSON! That’s the whole point. Staying home isn’t about you not getting sick, it’s about saving the people you would’ve infected, because a certain percentage of them will die. And while personal willingness to die for the eucharist is noble, in this case it is selfish. You would also be risking the deaths of countless others if you became infected! That’s why I am staying home. While I hope I don’t get covid, I’m staying home (I literally haven’t left the house since March 14th. Groceries can be delivered) to protect all the people that may have gotten infected, directly or indirectly- from me. I’m choosing to make this small sacrifice in order to save others from death. If that isn’t pro-life, I don’t know what is.

          • Kendra

            I appreciate the consistency of your policy. That makes sense to me. But I still wish you wouldn’t call it pro-life unless you would otherwise have been leaving the house to perform or procure an abortion or euthanasia. Because that’s what that word has meant. And when we broaden the definition to include other (good! important!) things, then we don’t have a word that means “against the wilful and deliberate killing of innocents” and if we don’t have a word for it then we can’t talk about it, and that would be a great victory for the other side.

    • Danielle Jones

      Thank you, Becky! This is exactly what we need to be asking@

    • Tara

      If you have ever driven to Mass in a car, or gone to Mass with elderly folks during flu season, you have already endangered/killed people. You may not have known it, or cared about it then, but you did. We know how to protect people from Covid19 at Mass, just as we can be safe at the grocery store. It’s time to be reasonably careful. We need not be driven away from Holy Mass by unreasonable propaganda.

      • Arielle

        Car accidents kill 40,000 people per year in the USA. This virus has killed nearly twice that many in less than 2 months, despite the entire country being shut down. It’s not a good comparison.

        • Kendra

          I use driving as an example of something that we choose to do that is on the risk/reward continuum, not to say that the risks are equal. My point is that if we believe what we say we believe about the sacraments, how can we be unwilling to accept risk for access to them?

          • Arielle

            Yes, everything has risk, so the question is how much and what type.

            Car travel, swimming pools, and most of the risks we undertake on a daily basis are consistent risks that affect only the people directly involved in them.

            Viral contagion operates under a principle of existential growth. The more we go out, the greater the risk. It grows over time. The best time to bring the curve down close to zero, as New Zealand, Israel, South Korea, etc. have done, is when the number of cases is still small. The risk will not look very large to the general public.

            If the risk of car travel or other daily risks we undertake approached the risk of death in the 1918 flu, as this pandemic has the potential to do, we would indeed think twice about leaving the house.

            Judaism has a principle that preserving life trumps every commandment except for idol worship and sexual immorality. That’s the principle we’re operating under. There are no religious services and won’t be until it is safe. This is not a contradiction of religious directives or a show of inadequate faith, but part and parcel of our religious values. The preservation of life is itself a religious value. I know you don’t want to frame this as a pro-life debate, and clearly this operates differently in Catholicism than in Judaism, but that is the frame I’m coming from and clearly some Catholic authorities agree.

            Thanks as always for your courteous debate. You are a tribute to your faith.

    • Shelley

      Completely agree with this. Besides, due to your age, and lack of co-morbidity factors, you aren’t at risk. So your willingness to die isn’t even relevent.

      • Brianna

        I’m concerned that so many think they are without risk. Yes, the young usually live, but it may still require an ICU stay. The virus can cause miscarriages, has killed babies, is more prevalent among those under 40 than we realize. My husband lost a 39 year old coworker to COVID— and, no, to our knowledge, he has no risk factors. We have got to get away from the narrative that there are high risk groups and no risk groups…

    • TheoniBell

      You are very passionate about the idea that you will infect others who will die from the risk you have taken if you attend mass. Few things on this. First, if you are elderly or have preexisting health issues, you can stay home and have someone bring the Holy Eucharist to you there. The healthy and young should not be forced to quarantine. Second, all of the studies coming out more recently have lowered the death rate to what is akin to the flu. If someone said the Church should shut down because of the annual flu, you may think they are crazy. Well, Oxford studies and immunity studies in several counties are saying it’s about as bad as the flu. Here’s the thing, Jesus gave us His body and blood for the graces we need to make it to heaven. Nothing, even death, is more important than being in His grace. There is no point in time, as far as I know, when the Church has applauded cowardess in the face of war, famine or plague. It’s not the Christian way. If this were as bad as we’ve been told, I’d say maybe you have a point, but we know it’s not now.

      • Pam Fitzgibbons

        Where are you getting your information? The curve is not flattening! We are beyond 80,000 covid deaths in the US! And around the world, the places that have reopened are experiencing resurgence! This is not a war, maybe it is a plague. One cannot apply the words courage/cowardice to plague. One can apply the word selfless to someone who postpones their own desires for the wellbeing of others.

  13. Sylvia Dominguez

    I.completely agree!

  14. Katie

    Amen, Kendra! I have been talking to family, friends, our priests about this throughout the entire ordeal. The physical reaction I had when they stopped public Mass was undeniable. Because I am obedient to Holy Mother Church and her hierarchy, but I have a bit of rebel in me, the day we were told public Mass would cease, I immediately got on the phone to a priest friend, and secured a Mass for family and friends at a friend’s house. That was March 15. After that, things seemed to take an ominous turn, and although I was not fearful of getting in trouble, I was fearful for my priest friend. How sad, frustrating and awful this has been. I agree with you about the virus. Yes, it is here and dangerous to some, awful for others, and no big deal for many. For millions more, it has devastated their lives due to job loss (my family is in this category). So, boy…do we need the Eucharist for strength during this time. Obviously, we need the Eucharist (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ) at all times, but it seems to have been stripped from us when we need it most. Thank you for your clear and charitable post. We are beginning to go back to Mass here this weekend, albeit with all sorts of cautions. That we will receive Jesus again has my heart soaring!!

  15. Emily

    I see what you are saying, but this is a “self-first” narrative. Saying that vulnerable populations can stay home is not good enough when we have direct and indirect contact with them all the time. The bigger picture is that gathering in large groups right now (for any reason) presents are real danger to our communities, whether the vulnerable are present or not.

    • Kendra

      Masses could be resumed under similar conditions to other essential services.

      • Emily

        What other essential services require gathering in large groups for an extended period of time? The sacraments have been and still are available. All you need to do is call a priest.

          • Nicole Cox

            Oh my goodness, that is so sad and absurd. We’re VERY blessed in Arlington Diocese that we’ve had open doors to our churches and a multitude of opportunities for confession (In fact, our local pastor *added more confession times* as soon as Masses were canceled). It’s not the same as attending Mass but it is so life-giving to get to Confession and sit in front of the Eucharist.

          • Lily Mar

            In Phoenix our pastor will offer communion right after más. We were able to receive Last week. They never suspended confessions or perpetual adoration, instead moved perpetual adoration to the main chapel to encourage distancing.

          • Bre

            Hi Kendra,
            There is confession available daily with the Nobertine Fathers in Silverado if you would like to haul your family there… my husband and I went and it was so beautiful.

          • Kendra

            Thank you!

    • Heather McCosby

      I don’t understand why everyone is arguing over this. She prefaced it with she isn’t telling anyone what to do but voicing what a lot, not all, feel. I don’t understand why we’re arguing. If you don’t feel comfortable attending Mass or receiving the Eucharist, you don’t have to.

    • Tara

      I know you truly believe that your way of thinking is the more caring way but this is single variable thinking. The non-Covid death toll from isolation is rising astonomically as we speak. Suicide, drug overdoses, heart problems from the stress of unemployment, abuse and molestation, deaths from deferred health care…do those people matter less? It’s time to pick up our eyes and look at the whole picture. I recommend reading the part in the CCC where it talk about common good. It changed my mind, and I hope it will help you, too.

      • Kristin

        Wow! I saw your comment about the catechism on the common good, and decided to go read it. FASCINATING! It’s incredible to me how many people are throwing that phrase around and IT DOESN’T EVEN MEAN WHAT THEY THINK IT MEANS!!! Thank you for pointing me to this.

  16. Lisa

    I think the Bishops were thinking, not so much that we’re all scared, as that the medical system needed to buy some time to properly stock up for an influx of cases, and not have to deny care to anyone who needed it. The problem with us being allowed to take risks for ourselves is that by doing so, we also pose a risk of contributing to the hospitals being overwhelmed.

    I am grateful that the Bishops in some places are now making plans to resume public Masses soon, now that the hospitals are better prepared. And I sincerely hope that all will soon be able to follow suit.

  17. Silvia

    Dear Kendra, I want to share the situation here in Italy. Here in Italy we had to join to the Mass only by streaming for two long months. During the daily Mass, 20 days ago, Pope Francis told that we must be prudent, but we also have to remember that our Faith is complete only joining to Sacraments and that we don’t have to be used to this new situation, that must end. He remembered us that this is an extraordinary situation, that must have an end.
    Now, in Italy have started the first reopening, we’re slowly starting a new life. And Italian Church and scientists have made a “protocol” to come back to Mass in safety. We are ready, we’re organizing our churches. And on Monday 18th of May (birthday of Saint John Paul II) we can come back to Mass and holy Sacraments. This fasting was hard, painful, and not got by everybody. But I’m sure that in the worst momenti of the epidemy, when thoinds of people died everyday, it was the right thing to do (moreover, in Italy Covid killed hundreds of priests, monks and nuns :(). Now that the situation is almost under control and we have to start the cohabitation with coronavitis, Italian Church fought for the reopening. I tell you this to tell you to be faithful. I don’t know USA Catholic Church, but I’m sure that as soon it will be possible, she will fight for you. A great hug from my beloved and injured Italy

    • Nancy Gomez

      Thank you for sharing your story.

      • Silvia

        You are welcome! I have a question, are churches still open in USA? Because during the lockdown, in Italy Mass were stopped, but churches never closed. So we could still go to church to pray and to confess (after a call to the priest) using masks and glovers. The only request, during the lockdown, was to go to the nearest church. Now, in this first reopening, we can go to pray in every church we want. The next week we’ll come back to Holy Mass

        • Kendra

          It differs between areas. In the Los Angeles Archdiocese all churches are locked. Masses can be celebrated only by one priest and two media support people. No adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. No confessions except in danger of death.

          • Silvia

            O my God, churches are locked and no confession?? I’m so sorry! No, in Italy the situation is different. I don’t know what to say… According to the media, the situation in USA is really bad, am I wrong? Anyway, I don’t know why USA Catholic Church made this decision. Are they talking about a nex reopening? Calendar, protocols… A plan of what to do next…

          • Kendra

            It has been bad in New York with 20K deaths for 8.5 million people. In other places it has not been overwhelming to hospitals. Los Angeles has had 1,500 deaths for 4 million people. There are no current plans to reopen of which I am aware.

          • Hannah

            The same is true in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. We’ve been told the earliest they will consider opening the churches will be June. No Sacraments or Adoration in the meantime. But hey, you can go bowling!

  18. Gene Honigford

    I completely agree! As I watch Mass via live streaming from a multitude of churches – I am moved to tears during the Eucharist as I am not able to receive our Lord. It pains me deeply.

    I long for the opportunity to be with him in our church again.
    Thanks for posting!

  19. Georgina

    But what about the EMTs, nurses, and doctors whose lives would be so much more traumatic if the emergency rooms are overflowing? Your desires are more important than their safety?

    • Kendra

      My understanding was that these last few weeks of isolation was to flatten the curve, which we have done. Hospitals are not overwhelmed. But essential business can still operate, and Mass and the sacraments are essential.

      • Emily

        Front lines health care workers continue to put their lives at risk, even if ERs are not currently overflowing. Instead of letting this virus die out, society is celebrating reopening far too early… The result will be a prolonged virus, more lives lost, and longer restrictions/possibly MORE shutdowns. Talk to some frontlines workers, infectious disease doctors, or epidemiologists. Here the advice of experts on this matter.

        • Kendra

          Unfortunately there isn’t a consensus, even among those experts. A downside of social media is that it’s very good at showing us opinions we already agree with, so it’s easy to get a one-sided view of a complicated issue.

          • Arielle

            What public health expert disagrees with the position that reopening requires decreasing infections, increased testing, contact tracing, and isolation of cases?

          • Kendra

            It’s my understanding that in many places those criteria are being met.

    • Tara

      Oh, my, this is straight up fearmongering. We know how to go to Mass safely!

    • AMK

      As an ICU nurse married to a paramedic, I speak for both of us, please let us have Mass again. We have seen a significant decrease in the number of cases, at least in the hospital.
      Kendra, I echo your sentiments absolutely. Thank you!

  20. Jessica

    You may be willing to give up your life but would you be willing to kill your neighbor? I can’t think of a single saint who made the sacrifice of another person’s life.

    The thing about this disease is you are not just risking your life, but the life of others. You may be carrying it without realizing it. If you don’t realize you have it, and go to Mass, you may give it to someone there. Or you may pick it up there and start spreading it around the community.

    Staying home is NOT about saving your life. It’s about loving your neighbor by making a really, really difficult sacrifice for their well-being. It’s about making sure the transmission slows, so there are enough hospital beds for all those who need them.

    Please consider reframing your thinking. This is not about being too afraid to go to Mass.

    • Kendra

      Masses could be resumed under similar conditions to other essential services. People are creative!

      I know how baffling it is to feel really strongly that one is right on an important issue and not get how anyone could be on the other side of the issue. But in this case, I think that good Catholics with informed consciences can rightly have differing views, both with good intentions.

      This isn’t an issue of doctrine. There is a dispensation that people can rightly use. I believe that you could stay away from Mass motivated by good and that I could attend and be motivated by good.

      Courage and prudence are both virtues. Some people, guided by their consciences staying home, and others, guided by their consciences going to Mass would help keep people spread out at Masses.

      • Erica

        Kendra, like you, I hope that I would die for Jesus if I was called to do so. If this was a matter of ONLY risking ourselves – for instance, if our bishops had closed public Mass due to weather conditions making travel dangerous – I would totally agree with you. But risking the life of another is never a matter of virtuous courage. “Would I die for Jesus?” is a red herring, the completely wrong question to ask.

        If we are sick with contagious illness, it is a sin against charity to attend the Mass and risk making the Source of Life a vector of illness or death to others. Because of the nature of this pandemic, prudence has required assuming that any one of us could be sick, meaning each of us (who haven’t recently tested negative) must behave as if we are contagious. Thus, the ceasing of public Mass, because of the fact that any of us would be in danger of serious sin against charity by our attendance, makes sense and I believe has been the right choice by our shepherds.

        Now that we are better prepared and have at least a little more information about prevalence, which hospitals are likely to be overwhelmed, etc., many bishops are doing as you suggest and finding ways to make the Mass safely available while still dispensing the Sunday obligation. (In my area, it seems we are at low risk for unmanageable hospital surges and are close to adequate testing and contact tracing, and very small public Masses will begin this weekend.) But to make that decision in areas where there still isn’t enough testing/contact tracing/hospital capacity, or where that is still completely unknown… I don’t think that’s right. It’s not a matter of individual conscience to put our neighbor at risk.

        I converted to the faith at age 23. The longing I felt for the Eucharist during the years leading up to my baptism is indescribable. I will never forget, one Sunday shortly before my baptism, seeing the priest elevate Him and being nearly overwhelmed with the urge to stand up, cry out, rush forward to my Beloved. I could feel my soul reaching out desperately for union with Him. I had to rely totally on God to give me the patience to get through, trusting that our separation was only for a time and that it was His will for me to wait. It has been so painful to return to a period of fasting, as my love for receiving Him has only grown over the years. So I really do understand and share the longing you and other Catholics who share your opinion on this are feeling.

        But I also know that, while we hunger for the Eucharist, fasting from Him for a limited time will not physically OR spiritually kill us (otherwise Catholics in remote areas, or Catholics who are unable to receive due to grave physical reactions to the species, would be spiritually dead, which of course they are not.) God will continue to nourish us spiritually during our separation and we will be able to return to the Eucharist as soon as it is safe enough to do so. This is why attendance at the Mass cannot be compared to a grocery store, without which we would quickly physically die.

        I simply cannot agree that this can be framed as a matter of individual choice – this is a matter of the common good, not each of us alone.

        • jennifer

          Thank you Erica. You have stated my thoughts so eloquently.

        • Wendy Heath

          Thank you, Erica. 100% agree with you.

        • Kendra

          I would agree with you if we were really all staying home. But we are not. We are deciding what is essential and what is not. I can understand the government closing churches as part of a stage one, only grocery stores open situation. I can understand the bishops cooperating with that. Although I was disappointed to see some bishops shutting down even small private Masses and drive through confessions.

          But, now, in many places, we are entering phase two. Pet stores and beauty salons are opening. In many places the government is saying we can come together in groups of a particular size following particular instructions. Whatever they are, creative priests can figure out a way to offer the sacraments in accordance with those guidelines.

          It’s not a red herring to say I would die for Jesus, it’s true! The silly thing is that I would also die to drive to the park. That’s a risk too. All life is risk. For all of us. I don’t want to die. I don’t want anyone to die. But we are all willing to assume some level of risk for any activity we undertake.

          What’s really a red herring is the idea that we can make choices that will guarantee our safety or that of anyone else. We can’t.

          We take precautions and choose to do things that are essential to us. We can receive the sacraments as safely as other activities that are currently being practiced.

        • Rebecca

          Yes, this is the wrong question to be asking right now, because dying for Jesus is not what’s being asked of us. Instead, we are being asked to make sacrifices— difficult ones, ones we wish we didn’t have to make— of not being able to attend Mass or receive the Eucharist (and other sacraments). I am looking forward to eventually being able to return to Mass and receive the Eucharist again, but in the meantime, I must pick up the small, not nearly as noble or compelling cross of these sacrifices.

        • Sarah A

          Erica wrote that so beautifully, & I agree with all she conveyed; I converted also in my early 20’s, & her writing echoes my experience. In addition, I am curious about Kendra’s statement on not equating the term “Pro-life” to apply to the sanctity & dignity of all living people (whether unborn, unviable, unconscious, unhealthy, unpopular, etc), because that particular teaching of the Catholic Church, as opposed to the Protestant Evangelism in which I was raised, is one of the MAJOR reasons of my conversion over 20 years ago. Only in the fullness of our Faith is the culture of life teaching so whole; this consistent ethic of life as it’s sometimes called, shapes the Church’s teachings of TOB, NFP, anti-embryonic testing, anti-euthanasia & other end of life issues, anti-capital punishment except in extreme circumstances, etc. So for me, it’s interesting to see a cradle Catholic negate the meaning so staunchly, & makes me wonder what has been written about it from other Catholics, papal encyclicals, or even straight from popes without turning it into an encyclical (just kidding–I’ve read them! ) Obviously, being “anti-abortion” is the FIRST part of this culture of life (why not use THAT term when speaking of the unborn? It’s absolutely what we mean…I love having choices in nearly everything, so that “anti-choice” seems like a crazy name), & it’s why I have held my nose to vote for some people who are not entirely pro-life in other areas but are outspoken about the rights of the unborn. [It’s a shame that it must be so in elections, but the unborn are killed at rates higher than anything else in history, so until that changes, it’s what we’ve been called as Catholics–by our bishops–to put first.] At any rate, my point is that it HAS been a Catholic notion that “Pro-life” means more than simply “anti-abortion” for some time now–otherwise our teachings are no different than what I was raised thinking & found false…or at least not the Whole Truth that I discovered in the Catholic Church. So many more thoughts about it all, but it makes one wonder how much our backgrounds & different faith histories play into interpreting the Church’s teachings on this? It may be similar to people unfamiliar with people & cultures of Central & South America constantly misinterpreting & misunderstanding what Pope Francis says, even though he has written so much & so similarly to Papa Benedict. Fascinating. I know tone is always hard to read, but this is not in any way written with sarcasm or snark (the minor exception being the winky face for effect to show that the “Culture of life” view meaning the same as “Pro-life” isn’t an unheard of notion. But it’s in good fun, honestly!) I truly appreciate & admire discussions with people of varying viewpoints, & am just slightly shocked/amazed at having a different viewpoint than Kendra on this because I agree with her on SO much!

          • Kendra

            I think the idea of “culture of life” issues or, as JPII said “Gospel of Life” (Evangelium vitae) are good and important and that Catholics have a genuine obligation to worry about the quality of life of their fellow man. But I’m just honestly talking about semantics here. The idea of caring about a person at all ages and in all circumstances is called “charity” and it is required of us. But “Pro-life” has meant “against the willful and deliberate killing of an innocent” and if now it means the same as “loving your neighbor” then it makes it more difficult to literally TALK about being against abortion and euthanasia and I think that’s a bad thing.

      • Lorine

        Thank you, Kendra! First, you put into words how I feel in this post. But also your beautifully worded and charitable responses to those who wish to debate have been so helpful to me. They give me hope and perhaps some tools for dealing with those who push back against my opposing opinion. May God continue to guide and bless you as you guide and bless others.

      • Ivey

        Beautifully put. And I also find comfort statistically (We are not being impacted by this virus as radically as the fear based media messaging portrays) and with a broader view of science and history.

      • Ben

        Courage and prudence go hand-in-hand, though — it’s not like we can just pick which one to exercise in a given situation.

        Prudence makes it possible for us to judge whether a particular act is truly courageous, or merely rash. On the flip side, only the courageous are capable of real prudence; the cowardly and the rash will have their judgment clouded either by fear or immoderate zeal.

        Your situation sounds difficult and frustrating. Where I am, deep in flyover country, our churches have been open and confession has been available the whole time, and public Masses resumed last week with some sensible restrictions.

        On the other hand our county (population 500,000) can count its cases by the dozen rather than the thousand, and we’ve had 20 deaths.

        I’ve found it helpful to meditate on the fundamental definition of all the sacraments: they are *signs*. Of course unlike other signs, they actually bring about the things that they signify. But they are still signs, and what we want, ultimately, is not so much the signs but the things — remission of our sins, configuration to Christ, and union with God.

        When we are deprived of the signs through no fault of our own I think we can be very confident that God will generously provide us with the things, if we ask with humility and trust. We don’t get the ordinary assurance that comes with seeing and hearing and touching the sacramental signs, but we do get an opportunity for a very profound exercise of the virtues of faith and hope.

    • Tara

      More fearmongering. Who are you going to kill today? I am telling you right now that many saints put other people’s lives in great danger in doing the good. Margaret Clitherow, St. John Fisher, any of the priest-martyrs who were hidden by laypeople, they all knew they were endangering their families and their neighbors and anyone who kept the sacred vessels or holy books. Safety is the new god, for whom our entire planet will sacrifice public worship. This is about being afraid, Afraid of social shaming and afraid of being odd, and afraid of fear itself.

      • Laura Pearl

        Yes to all this! The fear of sickness and death is crippling the world right now–as if we can truly control things, even if we stay inside our houses forever. Risk is a part of everyday life; we need to get back to living!

  21. Adele

    Thank you for putting into very kind words, my thoughts and feelings. The letter from our priest about beginning to have Masses (in SC) started with a paragraph reassuring the parishioners of his desire to keep us safe (healthy). He never mentioned keeping us spiritually healthy. I wish he had. I, too, believe the clergy think that their people are scared. I am much more afraid of losing the Eucharist (for me and our society) than of losing my physical life.
    To people who are saying, that by going to Mass, I am endangering others, I would say, as your replies have: that going to Mass is as essential to me as going to the grocery store. Every time I go to the grocery store during this pandemic, I am risking infection and thereby risking infection for others. But I must find a way to be fed….physically and spiritually. And Jesus is the Bread of Life.

  22. Rita

    Yes! Thanks for writing this. You’ve expressed my feelings exactly. People need to hear this message. I was beginning to think fellow Catholics had forgotten about the true presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. So many seem to think it’s not essential right now. What could be more essential than being close to Christ?!

  23. Kristen

    Yes to all of this!! We need the sacraments and graces from them all!! TV Mass is not cutting it.

    Honestly, I saw the bishops canceling Mass and all the sacraments as they were scared (to not listen to the government). However, I can see how the bishops think the people are scared. Spiritual health (Mass) is just as important of a “risk” as physical health (grocery shopping). Allow the priests be creative in how they follow “social distancing” guidelines for Mass and sacraments.

    Final thought I’ve had is why some churches have remained open for prayer and others have not (I understand the greater risk in specific areas of our country.)

    Again thank you!

    • Kendra

      I did. I’m glad people are talking about the issues. It’s not exactly the call to action I was looking for. But they didn’t ask for my advice. 🙂

  24. Sarah

    I recently heard a Priest say “I think it’s important that we deny ourselves the privilege that we want for the sake of the Body of Christ.” I understand your viewpoint and your concern that the Bishops are not aware of what their flock needs (I could be wrong in this assumption?). I am curious though as to why we are not trusting our Bishops here? I believe they are in this challenging situation right beside us. Where I live we are currently dispensed and outdoor masses began last week. Many in attendance were not wearing masks or practicing safe social distancing. I get it, it’s hard! My concern here is that many of those at risk for this virus are unaware of their risk or simply uneducated. In a perfect world resuming mass with new procedures to keep the reception of Jesus Christ Sacred sounds like an easy fix. But it does not feel this black or white and I’m afraid we are polarizing each other on this issue. This is disappointing and confusing to be very honest. I think we should trust that our Bishops are doing their best trying to lead their flocks well. Most importantly, we should continue to pray and ask God for grace and patience and love those in our care. Vulnerable people are dying alone and I think when we argue over things that are the utmost importance to us we may lose sight of the devastation of this virus. Maybe a post about how to incorporate praying for healthcare workers and victims of this virus daily could uplift and not polarize. I respect you and have really enjoyed your blog and I mean no ill will with this comment.

  25. Wendy Heath

    Buckle in, because this is going to be lengthy and strongly worded.

    I speak to you (well, mostly to your readers, as I have a feeling that my words will have little traction against the decisions you’ve already decided to make in your heart and head about this) as a Catholic, a mother, a woman with asthma and heart problems, and a front line ER nurse working with and bearing *direct* witness to the realities of this pandemic.

    I too yearn for Communion. Perhaps never stronger in my life than I previously have, as an adult convert who has drifted back and forth from the Church at times in my life. I hunger for the Eucharist and connection to Our Divine Christ, and that absence in the face of everything that I have dealt with in the last several weeks has been an open wound. I understand those feelings, and empathize with them. Facing this pandemic, and personal illness, and loss, and anxiety, and fear, and grief without the Mass has been a true challenge.

    But I completely disagree with you that remaining away from the Mass is borne of personal fear of illness, or that the leadership in Our Church is somehow caving to fear. You say you would die for Christ, but it is the epitome of anti-Christian behavior to willfully place the fragile and those with no choice in the matter at greater risk because you, a woman, feel deprived and have had enough of not going to Mass after just a few weeks. Pull on the strength of sacrifice demonstrated by our saints and our Lord, and put aside your own desires and look at the larger picture. It is our duty to live as Christ, not to our own wants.

    “Shelter the vulnerable, and let the rest of us do what we want” is not reasonable, because THAT IS NOT HOW THIS ILLNESS WORKS. We have no vaccine. We have no direct therapy modules that are effective. We have tests that are not accurate enough, and those that we do have are in short supply. We have *barely* had a few weeks to bolster our medical response capacity, and we are but one strong wave of infection away from the disaster we have desperately been fighting to get ahead of. This infection is capricious, and devastating.

    Would you really honestly say that you are willing to condemn someone to a painful, isolated, death of intense suffering (and also condemn their family to watching them die isolated and alone, and also condemn the medical staff who have already seen several lifetimes’ worth of suffering in the last few weeks to bear yet another psychic blow) because your longing for the Eucharist is worth more than all of that? If so, you need to do some serious self-examination, because in your ignorance that is *EXACTLY* what you are saying.

    It’s so easy to roll out “I would die, I would risk death, I would risk suffering” when it’s in the abstract. It’s the statement, theoretically, of bravery and self-sacrifice. I . see people do it all the time, and as an ER nurse, I see the flip side when people are brought face-to-face with their own mortality and suffering. We all, in those moments, are brought into the stark reality and like Christ on the Cross, call out “Father, why have you forsaken me?”

    In the face of this pandemic, it is not your death or suffering that you truly risk. You risk so much more. We are to be servants to each other, even TO THE LEAST OF US. We are to protect each other and live in SERVICE.

    Be a servant. Be humble. Endure this sacrifice for yet a little longer, and have some faith in our leadership (both medical and liturgical.)

    • Kendra

      We all take risks every day. You might kill someone with your car driving to work, but we as a society are willing to assume that risk. We might get infected at the grocery store, but we take precautions and do our best. I don’t deny that caution is mandated, but there are creative solutions possible to make receiving the sacraments as safe for everyone as going to the grocery store. Hopefully safer!

    • Patricia

      Amen! Thank you so much for your response and for your work in the front lines. The rest of us really can’t understand it with the same clarity. That’s why we need to listen so carefully to the leaders in the medical field. Blessings to you and yours!

    • Margaret

      Wendy, the world’s thy ship and not thy home. To unknowingly transmit disease is a consequence of a fallen world, not murder. St. Pier Giorgio died of a disease he caught from a sick man he went to visit. St. Francis kissed lepers and went home to his parents. God will not judge your soul for who you may or may not have infected. He will judge every bishop and archbishops’ soul who let their sheep die in a state of mortal sin.
      Let us go to confession. Let us stay close to Him. We will all die one way or another.

    • Jennifer Reed

      Grateful for this response, Wendy.

  26. Arielle

    I’m disappointed to see this.
    Public health guidelines are not to reopen once the curve is “flat.” Public health guidelines are to start reopening once the number of cases has been *decreasing* every day for 2 weeks, when they have the capacity to perform adequate contact tracing and isolating. Re-opening without doing this will simply lead to the return of exponential growth.
    Because of our baffling inability to follow guidelines for a short period of time, because of American individualism and inability to perceive the common good, we are one of the only countries in the world that has not succeeded in bringing our numbers *down* so that it is actually safe to start reopening. Outside of New York City, the numbers are going up.
    I thought Catholics were serious about the value of life. I have my disagreements with the application of that ideal since I am not Catholic, but I always respected the view. I am baffled that the Catholic internet seems now to be for mass death. I am baffled by the view that young, healthy people should live their lives, while the elderly and immunocompromised should cower at home, because we are not willing to sacrifice on their behalf.
    As others continually try to point out to you – this is not about an individual right to make a decision about sacrificing one’s own life. This is about putting entire communities in danger. One person can infect hundreds of others. One person *single-handedly* re-started the epidemic in South Korea. We are talking about a virus that spreads by exponential growth. Martyrdom is simply not the relevant category.
    I beg you to look into what other, faithful countries are doing. Israel, for example, was extremely hard to lock down because of the religious requirement to gather in groups of 10 for our most holy prayers. The sacrifice of those who have gathered three times a day for these prayers for their entire lives was immeasurable. But they did it, and now the number of new cases is in the dozens, not tens of thousands. They have closed the COVID ward at the major hospital in Jerusalem.
    This virus can be beaten.
    Our half measures will cripple our economy and our faith life AND cause mass death. We are truly proving ourselves to be incapable of leading the world.
    I am disappointed. I hope you reconsider your position.

    • Emily

      Totally agree. But yes, let’s put the “holy” ones on a pedestal, too impatient and self-serving to stay home. I agree with Kendra that our consciences can lead us different ways, but we should also remember that some consciences are better formed than others. And of course, it doesn’t help that we are not being given clear guidance from government leaders (who are often ignoring the science, as well, in favor of perceived economic gain). I love Catholicism and America, but this attitude is individualism at its worst.

    • Kendra

      In many places these criteria are being met. The governor of California has announced plans to move into stage 2 and begin reopening more businesses, but the Los Angeles Archdiocese remains completely shut down, without official access to Mass, or confession except in danger of death, or adoration.

      • Arielle

        In places where the criteria are being met, I don’t see where there’s a controversy, or why one needs to invoke the concept of martyrdom. They are reopening on the basis that it is safe enough to reopen.

        • Kendra

          For literary effect? But it’s true! And although things are beginning to open up in my state, and have opened up in other dioceses, I’m not aware of plans to resume the sacraments in my diocese.

    • Theresa

      “Mass death? Us leading the world? Virus can be beaten?”
      Those 3 statements are scary! I’m trying to be respectful in my reply (I’m not as articulate or have a Christ-like attitude as Kendra does) …
      Mass death? In NY, yes, I’ve heard of no other place that is overflowing with “Covid” deaths.
      US leading the world? Really? We’ve given up OUR God-given rights! That’s a horrible example!
      If viruses could be beaten, we would not have the cold or flu or …
      Our economy is already being crippled.
      SN: do you and all your family still have jobs?

      • Arielle

        Theresa, we seem to be coming from different frames of reference, so I’ll try to explain.

        “Mass death” – this virus is estimated to have about a 1-2% death rate. Possibly as little as .5%, given undercounting of total cases due to asymptomatic cases and inadequate testing. In places where the health care system has been overwhelmed and people cannot receive adequate treatment, the death rate is 5-7%. These statistics are fairly consistent throughout the world. There is no vaccine or treatment for the virus, and because it is novel, no one has any immunity to it. Therefore – yes, mass death. The Spanish flu in 1918-19 had a similar profile in terms of contagion rate and death rate, and 50 million people worldwide died of it. That is what would have happened had we done nothing.

        The situation in New York is not unique. It has happened in Wuhan, Italy, and many other places where the healthcare system has been overwhelmed by the virus. Have you read about the refrigerator trucks, people being buried in parks, and bodies decomposing in nursing homes? We are talking about a truly gruesome situation that is horrifying to anyone who values human life and dignity. Absolutely heartbreaking. It can happen anywhere.

        In terms of the US leading the world: I am not sure what you thought I meant, but I was referring to the fact that the US is the most powerful nation on earth and is considered to be a world leader. This is because of our exemplary character: democracy, freedom, economic growth, etc. Our woefully inadequate response to this virus is diminishing our world standing.

        “This virus can be beaten.” This is not scary – it is hopeful! Our healthcare system can do truly wonderful things. Smallpox has been eradicated. Polio no longer cripples our children because we have a vaccine. Look at the viral curves for Israel, South Korea, and New Zealand.


        See this article.

        These nations acted quickly and decisively, brought the new infection rate down to a few cases a day, and are safely reopening without experiencing mass death. I’m not suggesting that every source of sickness and death can be overcome. That would be ridiculous. But certain things can be, and are, through human ingenuity and cooperation. We haven’t done it because we don’t have the political will.

  27. Loretta

    I appreciate this viewpoint but I do think the situation is more nuanced. I would hate to be a person in any sort of power right now and have to make these hard choices. So many people are in need of the sacraments right now. Not to mention jobs. So many people have been given crosses and suffering.

    As I reflected on your article, I was considering the idea that as a priest, you would have to risk killing off members of your congregation by your own hand. What a terrible thing to carry. Maybe the question they are asking themselves is “Do I want to potentially kill off members of my congregation when it can be avoided?” I don’t know the answer. But I can understand the hesitation in the face of zeal.

    • Tara

      This is why it seems good to let people make decisions on their own. We are behaving like a nation of children who must never be left to ourselves. Who will take care of us? Who will tell us what to think? What to do?

      The first Sunday of this whole crisis, the Bishop of our diocese suspended the Sunday obligation and encouraged people to distance and be safe. Guess what? They did that. Lots of people stayed home because they had good reason to do so. The church was sparsely attended and everyone kept distance.

      Everybody has already been potentially killing off members of the parish during every flu season. You potentially kill people every Sunday in cars driving to and from Mass. You potentially kill everybody you have ever shaken hands with. This question is, quite literally, insane. The fact that so many on this thread have repeated it…very very troubling.

  28. CK

    Has anyone heard about parishes considering or do you have any thoughts on one family representative going to Mass and bringing home a pyx with the Blessed Sacrament for other family members? I’m not sure about taking my younger children who can receive (and definitely wouldn’t be bringing those who are so young they can’t). Also, I feel like I strongly agree with Kendra’s post, but then feel this nagging sense that having so many young children to care for (six with a seventh on the way) means I have to be extra responsible for their sake. Does anyone else feel like this? This leads into another question of guardians when you have a big family–do most of you have Catholic family members whom you trust would care well for your children?

    • Kendra

      To me that feels like a very slippery slope, with the potential to further degrade our understanding of the Real Presence.

      • CK

        Will you take all of your kids? Our diocese *might* say they’re not even allowed–it’s not set yet. I’m really just interested in hearing what other people whose judgement I respect are doing! Is your parish doing a lot to support people who are at home and feel they must stay there? I’m concerned about what to do for my own family, but also what to suggest that our parish do to keep people “in the fold” during this difficult time/to make sure they feel like the pastor and our parish do care about their spiritual health as well as their physical health! Increasing our occasions of bringing communion to those who feel they need to stay home seems like it could be helpful in this regard, though I do understand your point.

        • Kendra

          Yes. I’ll take my kids. Only my oldest has been out of the house since March 19th, but I don’t have reason to think that they are especially vulnerable. We would all go, given the opportunity.

      • Rachael Jones

        Do you have an open letter that we can send to our Bishop or advice on how to send a respectful email on this? I’ve been wanting to reach out and unsure of the best option.

        • Kendra

          I don’t, but it’s an interesting idea. I’ll have to think on it.

        • Kristin

          Rachael, I started a movement in our diocese for prayer, fasting, and letter writing to our bishop. I wrote a sample letter as well as a guide to writing a letter respectfully. Now, I’m not Kendra, maybe she would word something differently, but I’ll leave the info here in case it helps people! http://www.thenicasiusproject.com

          • Kendra

            I LOVE YOUR LETTER! It’s perfect. Respectful, understanding, positive, with ideas for going forward. Thank you for sharing it.

  29. mjsmommy

    “To the Christians prepared to gather in church, comparing themselves to the early “martyrs,” you aren’t being thrown to the lions by being asked to stay home. You are very likely throwing others to the lions by spreading a virus. That doesn’t make you Martyrs. That makes you Caesar.”-@RevDaniel

    I agree with the above. Being willing to risk vulnerable populations doesn’t seem terribly prolife to me. Even if they’re not at Mass, they can very easily be directly affected, but you know, it should all be individual choice — every man for himself. It almost seems the country is collectively willing to just hurry up and sacrifice the vulnerable populations, just so they can get back to business as usual. That looks a lot like eugenics.

    • Kendra

      There’s no reason we have to be in more danger receiving the sacraments than we would be doing other activities that are currently being practiced. People are good at coming up with creative solutions!

      • mjsmommy

        Then why are you saying you’re willing to die to do it? Can’t have it both ways, either it’s safe, or it isn’t.

        Yes, people are creative, but that’s your tired comeback for everyone on this thread with legitimate concerns. What is your creative solution to keeping a 6ft distance while receiving? How do you keep 500 people 6ft apart at all times? Have you considered the safety of our priests? I live in a diocese where most of our priests are quite elderly and we have a shortage of vocations. To lose our vulnerable priests would mean no Mass for us permanently. I lack the creativity to solve that potential problem.

        • Kendra

          Because although there is a risk, it is safe enough to be a reasonable choice. We can offer more Masses, we can increase separation between parishioners. Many people will make the decision to stay home. In a busy parish with a single priest, perhaps families would have to attend on alternate weeks. Individual decisions could be made by individual priests as to individual health concerns. But there are parishes with young priests who are not particularly vulnerable. There are priests who want to be allowed to hear confessions and say Masses for their flock, and they are being prevented from doing so by one size fits all mandates.

          • mjsmommy

            Fair enough. I do agree that one size does not fit all.

    • Tara

      I know it feels really virtuous to make the claims you just made, but please, answer this question: Have ever driven to Mass in a car, or gone to Mass with elderly folks during flu season, or with a sniffly nose? If yes, then you have already endangered/killed people. You may not have known it, but you did. We know how to protect people from Covid19 at Mass. I wonder if you have seen the stats on Latvia, where the Bishops fought to keep public Mass available and succeeded? Interesting to see their stats.

    • Alice

      mjsmommy, I couldn’t agree with you more. Being pro-life isn’t just about protecting the child in the womb but means protecting life at all ages, including those of the elderly and immuno-compressed. It is our duty as Catholics to protect the vulnerable and if that means public Mass has to stop for a few more weeks then so be it, as difficult as that is for us.

      Kendra, is Jim not in the vulnerable category due to his cancer treatment?

      • Kendra

        It’s hard to know whether or not Jim is particularly vulnerable, because his treatments include both immune boosting therapies and (in a recent development now also) chemotherapy which is understood to be immune compromising.

        But I have to say that I strongly object to the use of the term pro-life in this debate. To willfully and purposefully kill someone by abortion or euthanasia is in no way the same as to accept that there are risks associated with particular choices in life and to allow people the freedom to make those choices. I risk my own life and the lives of my children, other motorists, and passers by when I drive my car. But we consider that acceptable because the reward is high enough and the risk is low enough. It is not anti-life to drive. It’s not anti-life to allow people to choose other behaviors that have risks.

        Let’s talk about whether the reward of the sacraments is worth the risk. Let’s have this discussion, let’s try to convince one another to see it our way. But please don’t call it a pro-life issue.

  30. Elisa

    Amen! There are worse things than sickness and death. Namely separation from the Holy Eucharist. God bless you!

    • CK

      How we find and start sharing these creative ideas? I can’t really handle scrolling through FB any more but I haven’t seen any one cohesive recording of what different places are doing/considering. I would love to find more ideas as a member of a very mixed (in age) parish in a rural area with no other parishes in our county!

      Also, Kendra, I love how you keep reminding everyone of the risks we take every day. I have shared many, many of your posts through the years, but perhaps none more so then the one on George and not being in control.

      • Laura Pearl

        Yes, that was a post I have saved and shared as well. We all think we can ensure a safe outcome for any situation, but there are things beyond our control and we have to put our trust in God and His will for us. I loved that blog post for the way it put into words so perfectly the thoughts and feelings I have on that topic!

      • Kendra

        The best ideas I have seen are for the bishops to allow outdoor Masses, more frequently, with smaller groups, and physical separation between families . . . and NO singing. We could even have someone to give hand sanitizer to the priest between communicants. Confessions could be heard outdoors with proper distancing and organized ways in and out. Adoration could be by small, distanced groups, perhaps outdoors. Baptisms and weddings and funerals could be conducted in smaller groups, short ceremonies, no singing.

        • Kim

          Wow. My diocese is doing literally everything on this list (except there is singing), and more. This is in Lafayette, LA, where our governor is being pretty strict about willingness to lift the stay at home order until we meet the criteria recommended by the federal government (we aren’t even in phase 1 yet). I’m just having a moment of gratitude for the willingness of our clergy to administer the sacraments, and the creativity to do so in safe ways. And I will pray for you and your diocese.

  31. Micaela Darr

    It seems like there are many opinions here, so perhaps this has already been covered, but somewhere along the way the goal went from flattening the curve to avoiding all risk. This is not only difficult, it’s impossible. Life without risk is not possible, nor is it promised by our God or our government. It’s also not what we signed up for during this lockdown. We all have different levels of acceptable risk. Kendra has expressed hers, and I feel similarly. I wholeheartedly respect the opinions of Catholics who feel differently. But to ask someone not to express an opinion that differs from yours because it’s hard to hear… that’s not what our faith teaches. It’s not just. To call someone not pro-life because they express a contrary opinion to yours is manipulative. We can stand difficult discussions. We can and we must, especially if this is shaping the future. In all things, charity, of course, but we do not all have to agree.

    There are certain topics on which the Magisterium of the Catholic Church has spoken definitively. This is not one of those issues, therefore the faithful are allowed to hold differing views. I personally have noticed an increase in the things that Catholics aren’t “allowed” to disagree on over the course of the last few years and, I would argue, this dilutes the clarity with which Holy Mother Church teaches her children. It would be helpful if we all considered before commenting whether our words imply that we are speaking with the authority of the Church, or whether we are expressing a deeply held opinion.

    • Theresa

      Very well said, Micaela! I have read ALL the comments.

      I believe we are so divided on every issues because our so-called “news” is no longer anything but … there is no place to find accurate data, so we go the information we want to – I even tried the CDC, then read the fine print! Oh, no!

      • Elizabeth

        I don’t think there is a single commenter who disagrees with the sentiment. We are all longing for the Sacraments. Kendra lost me by framing it as a martyrdom. Right now, staying home because the Bishops ask us to IS the death to self for the sake of others. Presumably bishops are working with medical experts to do the best they can with the information they have. This virus has flummoxed the scientific community from the beginning. It is not the flu. We have never been in this situation and I think we owe the Bishops space and time to make decisions for their own diocese. There are many dioceses which are opening churches for private prayer and offering safe routes for confession and that is wonderful, but each diocese has unique circumstances. There is no one size fits all solution. It may be possible to attend Mass with safe social distancing, but I haven’t seen a single suggestion for the safe distribution of Holy Communion which would not make the priest or EMHC a potential vector.
        The most optimistic projections suggest that we can gradually approach herd immunity (assuming antibodies provide protection which is not at all clear at this point) as more people are exposed. That takes time and it means people will get sick and be hospitalized. Yes, businesses are slowly reopening, but any gathering of hundreds or thousands of people is just asking for disaster even taking every precaution.
        There is no Church teaching which specifically addresses pandemic. Sure. But there is a lot which speaks to our situation. The preferential option for the poor seems particularly relevant. “…the deprivation and powerlessness of the poor wounds the whole community. The extent of their suffering is a measure of how far we are from being a true community of persons. These wounds will be healed only by greater solidarity with the poor and among the poor themselves.” (USCCB) The poor among us are those without financial means who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic, the sick, and the elderly. Those of us who are rich in health and means can engage in true worship by sacrificing our own wants for their sake (Isaiah 58:5-7). This also seems like a wonderful opportunity to practice solidarity with Catholics living in spiritual poverty – deprived of the Sacraments for months or years because of persecution or priest shortages.

        • Kendra

          I apologize that it sounded to you as if I thought someone would be a martyr if he was to choose to go to Mass, contract the Coronavirus, and die. I do not believe that, and I didn’t say it in so many words. I meant to highlight the fact that many martyrs have died to have access to the sacraments and have died protecting the Blessed Sacrament itself. That shows me that the sacraments are real, that they are important enough that people have chosen martyrdom for them. Because I believe that, I am willing to take reasonable risks for health to have access to them. I understand that there are risks to others as well, and I think we should take steps to mitigate those risks as much as possible. I believe that in our current circumstances, the risks to all of us don’t outweigh the reward.

          • Elizabeth

            I do understand and appreciate the charitable and respectful discussion. Truly.

          • Cait

            I think one of the trickier things that bishops have to, no doubt, consider, is that when Mass is made publicly available again there will be many people who should *not* attend, will. Either because they are themselves unwell or they are especially at risk/vulnerable. Should that completely dictate policy? I don’t believe so. But it must be incredibly daunting to know that ones decisions will likely have a direct impact on rate of infection and loss of life in ones diocese.
            I think the grocery store argument holds weight in terms of what we deem essential, but not when we take into account the sense of obligation that is very, very strong in the faithful. It is possible (certainly not in every circumstance) to have groceries delivered or to have a family member/friend go shopping for you. I don’t know many people who feel an obligation to be physically present in the grocery store despite the way they feel obligated to be physically present at Mass. I have, unfortunately, attended Mass while actively sick more times than I can count, out of a misplaced sense og obligation and imprudent piety. Again, not saying that this should dictate policy, but I pray for our bishops and am grateful that I am not the one making such weighty decisions.

            Thank you for sharing such eloquent thoughts, Kendra! This is certainly an incredibly important and nuanced conversation that needs to be ongoing!

    • Micaela Darr

      I don’t understand this comment. I read every comment on here, refrained from replying to many I disagreed with, and commented charitably here. I am not trying to summarize the dissenters. That would be impossible, as this is a very complex and nuanced discussion.

      • Elizabeth

        Cait, you make a very good point. I have friends who are talking about traveling hours to attend Mass in a diocese where the Bishop has given permission for Mass to be celebrated with many precautions taken. If people turn out in large numbers, then guess what? Masses will close again. I think there is a lot of intense scrupulosity in the traditional Catholic element. People who should stay home won’t and I get it. The thought of staying home from Mass in the future if I have cold symptoms makes my gut twist a bit. But as Masses reopen, we have to have the humility to accept the dispensation.

        • Kendra

          It’s definitely a pastoral concern, but not being willing to trust the prudential judgment of individual adults and families leads to an impossible situation all around. If Masses are offered in an area, some vulnerable people will choose to come. If Masses aren’t offered in an area some people will go to other dioceses or leave for other rites or schismatic groups. If we take responsibility for one, we have to be willing to take responsibility for the other as well. Grocery stores are offering special shopping hours for seniors, with fewer people allowed inside. Surely we could come up with creative solutions for the sacraments as well.


    When I was young, about around 70 years ago! we all received the host on our tongues and sometimes the priest’s finger would touch our tongues. Never had nor have, I ever heard of a spread of any sickness, not even colds was passed on nor any blame being put because of this practice. Consequently I freely take Communion from the common cup. However, I have not researched the Black Plague etc in this regard. I dearly miss the Eucharist too, in fact
    wrote a children’s book “God’s Greatest Miracle” about it. I fear loss of freedoms and will prayerfully wait only so long.

  33. Dee

    Hello Kendra (and fellow readers/commenters),

    You had me at “it sounds pretty miserable.”

    But – before we get into that, want to preface this by saying that I am writing in as a nurse in NYC . I also consider myself to also be a fairly devout Catholic (wife, mom). What is happening here is unlike anything we would have imagined in a million years. Literally. I think of that every time I drive home from work and I pass a hospital separate from the one I work at. I see the 6-9 refrigerator trailers parked outside because that hospital‘s morgues are full (and have been full for weeks). Funeral homes have a 2-3 week back log of even taking in people’s remains. People are being sent to potter’s fields. A funeral home in Brooklyn was in the news last week for storing bodies in a U-haul. Horrible is the understatement of the century. Folks are dying sad, scared deaths ALONE. People are afraid to go to the hospital and are dying at home. They aren’t counted in the 14,000+ who have succumbed to covid in NYC so far. We didn’t think what would happen in Italy would happen here and it did. This is also not taking into account the easily Google-able stats of our NY Metro suburban neighbors who have equally as dismal stats, for those who care to bring up population density as an issue.

    A recent survey from the Governor’s office found that folks are listening and social distancing and still getting sick. Our numbers are trending down, but hundreds of people a day are still dying and getting sick. One could be as healthy as a horse, but you could be a carrier and infect others. And, plainly, kill them. I have coworkers who were sick and tested positive for Covid and now with antibody testing in full force have ZERO antibodies to this virus. Explain that one. There so much more science and research that needs to go into this virus. For those saying that it isn’t bad where you are, just wait. People will start traveling, restrictions will ease and Boom! Grocery stores are essential. People need food. They have the staff to clean, space customers appropriately and other staff to control the flow. Unfortunately, most parishes (at least by me) are not so lucky.

    That being said- with all I’ve seen, I’d love nothing more than to receive Communion. Or go to confession. Or chat with a priest. Or see my neighbors outside of church. Now is not the season, and now is not the time. That is my offering. I think of our one pastor and the occasional help he gets saying Mass on the weekends (there is a shortage of priests here as well) I would think that our parishioners would lend a hand physically cleaning the church after each Mass (that would be a job in and of itself!) One is also exposing the priests, Eucharistic ministers, et al to the germs of many, many people depending on size of your church. We have lost priests in our diocese to covid already. It is heartbreaking.

    I also don’t believe that Jesus is sitting up there with a little score card saying “tsk, tsk… so and so hasn’t received in 7 weeks!!” I myself am looking for the church around me. I see God and all of the church community in coworkers risking their own lives and safety of their families coming into work every day; in those who send us delicious food and cards and well wishes to thank us for the job we do;
    in my children’s school – for the teachers working extra hard to make remote learning possible and even calling us from their personal numbers to check in; the extra environmental folks who clean day in and out to make our hospital super safe. We work together more in sync than ever before all for the greater good (of God, in my opinion) but of helping those who so desperately need us. There are less complaints, more picking up the slack, a ton more helping hands. This is church. Church is also being able to listen in on my headphones to a beautiful liturgy this past Sunday while I had a quiet moment sitting outside of my patient’s room (who was a covid pt)
    I was struck by St Peter’s words in the second reading – “If you are patient when you suffer for what is doing good, this is grace before God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.” (1 Pt 2 :20B-22) if that isn’t the Holy Spirit talking to us, I don’t know what is. We can all suffer a little longer for the safety and well being of each other.

    Please stay home. And while everyone is there, please pray for the souls of the poor people in the refrigerator trucks waiting to be properly buried (and their families too).
    – your friends in NYC.

    • Elizabeth Bates

      Thank you, thank you, thank you, NYC nurse. Thank you for risking your life for your neighbor, and thank you for this dose of reality.

      I am a doctor in Australia who has stayed home from Mass since early March, and expect to stay home through August, when winter ends here. I cannot afford to get sick with corona or anything else, and I do not want to make anyone else sick. Modern medicine has saved my life a number of times, and I want to use that gift to continue to help others.

      To me, staying home expresses gratitude to God and love of one’s neighbor.

      • TheoniBell

        Thanks for taking up this conversation and sticking with it all day. It’s interesting to read all the views within our Church. Your kindness and patience is exemplary, as always .

    • Kendra

      God bless you for your service! I understand your concerns and agree with most of them. However, priests and the faithful in my Archdiocese are extremely restricted now, much more so than the general public. Masses can be attended by a couple media support people only. No adoration, by even a single person. No confession except in danger of death. In my Archdiocese clever solutions like drive through confessions were specifically banned. None of which is in keeping with canon law our our professed beliefs. I do not doubt the severity of the virus. I support measures being taken to be as safe as possible. But I’d like our leadership to allow our priests to minister to their flocks in ways that are appropriate to their needs. And I’m willing that there would be some risk involved.

    • Wendy Heath

      Thank you, Dee. Stay strong, fellow nurse. We do all things (including staying away from Mass) through Christ who strengthens us.

  34. Jodi

    Amen. Your thought have also been my thoughts. Solidarity!

  35. Paige

    Thanks for your comments and thoughtfulness (to all, truly but especially to you, Kendra). I recently wrote a letter to our Governor expressing this exact sentiment – that places of worship should be considered essential like grocery stores. In my mind, aren’t they? I also so agree that this issue is multi-faceted and that reasonable Catholics can disagree. So thanks for providing a platform where (mostly) respectful discussion can occur. If anyone is looking for language to write your own Governor or elected official, feel free to use any of mine and change/edit it in any way: https://tinyurl.com/y77qlvbp

  36. Helena

    Maybe we should be listening to the doctors and nurses, some of whom have even commented here. This is not normal. This is not like flu season or driving a car to Mass. Saying “we have the possibility of killing people all the time, so it’s fine” is ignoring the brutal realities of the current situation.

    ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ It’s the least of these that we need to be staying home for. It sounds like you’d die (and also kill) to get what you want, but I don’t think that’s dying for Jesus at all. Maybe we should be saying “not my will but yours”.

  37. Momof8

    I love this essay so much!! I just wrote to my Bishop just begging for our church to open for private prayer and adoration. I don’t really buy that one person can kill another by spreading this virus. It would be a persons immune system or lack there of that would kill them and like most viruses, your immune system becomes healthier having fought off germs. Where is our trust in God? Shouldn’t we be more concerned about our eternal souls (and those of our neighbor) than our earthly bodies?? Where is the sting of death if we are committed to the sacraments? Isn’t that the whole Easter message? Isn’t it all in Gods hands how we get the virus and how if affects our bodies?? If anything the Church (in a safe, clean environment) should be yelling at us to get our souls in order during this time of sickness and death and providing the means to do it! Open up for those who WANT to be there, clean up and trust in Providence!

    • Dee

      Re: “not buying that that one person can kill another by spreading this virus. It would be a persons immune system or lack there of that would kill them and like most viruses, your immune system becomes healthier having fought off germs.” Um, no. One word- kindly, Pandemic.

      What is baffling to most scientists and the current medical community is the inflammatory response that COVID 19 causes in the body which is what ultimately kills the person. This is called cytokine release syndrome. Young, previously healthy people are dying from this. Others are having heart attacks, going into multiorgan failure, obvious respiratory failure… take your pick. Yes, the larger percentage of fatalities are those immunocompromised and with preexisting conditions. In NY this week, there have been new reports of CRS in children (2 have died) linked to covid. This is a new finding.

      I could argue science all day (science background and worked in a research lab before I was a nurse). When I see a statement like this, which is so wildly untrue and lacks all basis for making any sort of sense with respect to what is going on in the world, I must step in. I certainly don’t mean to stir things up on a blog comment board.

      From a religious standpoint, not going to argue doctrine either. I hope that others would join in with myself and Wendy (above) and have the same faith. I have faith in the Good Lord that for now, listening to a livestream Mass will do because that’s all we have. That there are no drive by confessions in our area, so maybe saying a good Act of Contrition at night or the examination of conscience suffices until it is safe for our priests and for church to open. I have faith that I would be judged by that and how we made everything work during this time. How we took care of family, neighbor, friend, community.

      Small aside- Strictly speaking here from the Archdiocese of NY- I’d reconsider bombarding the Cardinal/Archbishops with emails/letters on reopenings. At least for us, there are greater needs like the current backlog of funerals (Ahem, memorial Masses since people are being buried without proper funeral masses! Those stopped in March) they might have to get to when life returns. Or the massive loss of income they have. Just some food for thought.

      Speaking of which, I wanted to share a visual on those refrigerator trucks I mentioned in my above comment:


      Stay safe, and peace be with all of you.

      • Katie

        Thank you for your words of wisdom, Dee.

      • Momof8

        I think you kind of made my point, you said “ the inflammatory response that COVID 19 causes in the body which is what ultimately kills the person.“. Which I’m sure is way better terminology than I used when I said “immune system“. But isn’t it each unique individual’s genetic response to the virus which determines whether they survive It or not? It’s really out of our control how sick we get… it depends on our body’s response which we can’t control or blame on someone else.

  38. Laura Pearl

    Kendra, I appreciate that you posted this. You eloquently stated what I’ve had on my heart but have had trouble expressing properly. These are strange times we live in, where people are clamoring for contact tracing (which I fear will open up a whole new can of Big Brother-style worms) and calling those who want to get back to the business of living, in spite of the fact that it involves risk (and it always has!), “killers” and “murderers.” I saw this post shared on your Facebook page, too, and ended up scrolling through many of the comments; I felt heartsick at the way some people who disagree will treat those who have a desire to see our churches open up again. There is so much vitriol and name-calling. You are unfailingly patient, fair, and gracious with your extremely reasonable responses, however. God bless you.

  39. Danielle

    Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you for articulately so well my exact opinion and those closest to me on this issue.

    A few blog posts ago I commented about this issue, specifically about how our bishops and our pastors are our Shepard’s whose job it is to save our souls by bringing us the sacraments. At the time I expressed my surprise that so few had been courageous or creative enough to get them to us. Now 7 weeks later we have even fewer sacraments then we did then.

    I’d also like to note that no one is suggesting churches re open without any safeguards in place. If the safeguards established for grocery and alcohol stores are safe enough for people to patronize them, why can’t those same safe guards be instituted within churches? (Masks, 6 feet apart, gloves, etc.)

  40. Grace

    As someone who is the caregiver for an at risk individual and cannot prudently attend mass for the foreseeable future given the rising case numbers in my area, this post cut deeply into my heart. I too hope I would lay down my life for Christ. But right now, laying down my life for Christ means caring for my mother whose already experienced being placed on a ventilator. You obviously rationally give lip service to the importance of individual discernment. But you did not express the reality that sacrificing the mass out of charity is also laying downs one’s life for Christ, as you are sacrificing your greatest desire for the well being of another. Nor did you express the virtue of humility in obedience to our bishops. Christ broke all the rules and ideas of holiness to physically heal on the sabbath. He looked after the physical needs of his flock before he addressed the spiritual. I hope that we do not turn into Pharisees in our pursuit of the sacraments at the expense of our neighbor.

    • Kendra

      God bless you for caring for your mother. I’m sorry that my support for the dispensation available for caregivers and the sick came off to you as insincere. I can assure you that it’s not. It’s a big world and there are, of course, some people in it who currently have access to the sacraments. I’m sure that you understand and support the desire of others to receive Jesus Christ in the Eucharist even if you would have to choose not to receive yourself.

  41. Samantha

    This is lovely. I am so blessed our priest and deacon are aware of the Easter obligations for Eucharist and are offering communion to our parishioners. It is done legally and safely. It will be offered tomorrow and next Sunday and that’s it. I am curious how it will all go. There are very strict procedures we are to follow and thankfully our county has very very few known cases but yes I am glad we are taking steps to acknowledging the importance of Jesus in the flesh.

    • Kendra

      That’s wonderful news!

  42. Jennifer

    Thank you Kendra! I was under the impression that shelter in place was to flatten the curve not to eliminate Covid. The curve is flattened here in CA. Hospitals are now in a position to handle the cases coming up. We should no longer be prohibited from our freedoms now that we have reached this phase.

    • Kendra

      First, again, thank you for your work with those suffering from this virus. Now let’s look at this article. 7 priests have died, out of 932 priests in the Archdiocese of New York. That’s .7%. There have been 20K deaths among 8.5 million residents of New York City, which is .2%. For our priests, who have dedicated their lives to Jesus and pledged to lay down their lives for their flocks, an increased death rate of .5% seems not outside the range of reasonable. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. And may the perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

      • Arielle

        Just a small correction Kendra, the death rates are .7% and .2%. You have to move the decimal over 2 places to turn it into a %.
        Thanks for the charitable and courteous conversation.

      • Dee

        I’m actually not quite sure how to respond to this. To hear that “an increased death rate seems reasonable” from a Catholic, let alone supposed pro pro life Catholic, is… I can’t even think of the proper words but absurd and contradictory will have to do for now. Life is life, not a statistic. Funny how things can get twisted when they are convenient for our own uses. One of the priests mentioned in the article was the pastor of a very large (actually largest in his borough’s) parish who was a staple in the community for decades. Tell his parishioners that his death “seemed reasonable.” As for the rest of the city, 20,000 dead is just insanity, regardless of whatever actual percentage of people it is.

        I didn’t come on here to argue but to say that it is actually way worse here than what I am assuming (based on most of the comments) than the national or people’s local news are telling them. My comment to momof8’s reply got sort of smushed in there but, again, I bring up the refrigerator trucks. Why? Because, even with all of the bad stuff I see at work all the time and what I thought was the worst thing I ever saw in my life (the giant hole in our sky on the morning of September 11, 2001) this, by far, trumps that. One of those trucks even had to come and pick up a neighbor who passed away in the home a few weeks ago. The funeral homes are too full (literally) to take anyone in. Or one of the days a few weeks back when we hit the “apex” of the virus- all day long, we heard sirens, after sirens, after sirens. We knew what the sirens were. It was terrible and very real. I don’t know about you guys, but the back of a truck is the last place I’d want any of my loved ones hanging out until the cemetery/crematorium is ready for them. Going rate is currently 2-3 weeks.

        This is how bad it can get. There is so much information out there – both sides of the story. I saw a lot on instagram today as well. Not getting political, but I hope my “frontline” view shows the other side to this very sad story.

        • Kendra

          I don’t wish to upset you further, and I’m clearly getting on your last nerve, but I can’t just let this be the last word here. Of course all seven of those priests are being mourned. All twenty thousand people who have died of this virus in New York should be mourned. I am so sorry for all who are suffering the loss of a loved one. Everyone deserves a proper burial and I pray with you that they will all get that very soon. But as a Catholic you have to know that we do not see death as the end. A noble death in the service of others is a great consolation to those left behind. If his parishioners knew him to be a good man, then they are hoping in his eternal salvation. If we believe what we say we believe about eternal life then we allow priests to take risks and make heroic choices, in the same way that doctors and nurses are doing. I don’t think that the solution to the tragic situation that you are enduring is to lock up all the churches in cities across the US and shackle good priests who want the opportunity to care for souls the way you are caring for bodies.

          I will pray for you, please pray for me.

          • Dee

            I will, thank you for the discussion. Same for other commenters! Keep praying, guys.

          • Dee

            *meant to say opportunity to discuss, hit submit too quickly. Thank you.

            (And offering it up, too)

  43. Rose

    The number of cases in California continues to rise. That is one state that has not flattened the curve, and as has been previously pointed out, the goal was NOT to open after the curve is “flattening,” it was to open after 14 days after progressive decline. I am a frontline worker. I would love to go back to Mass, but it isn’t about me. The Church is for calling a death to SELF in the name of saving lives. It has nothing to do with fear.

  44. parker

    Now, I’ll preface what I’m about to say with the fact that I’m living in a state that is currently re-opening in a reckless manner. Our major metro was still seeing a rise in infections when our governor decided to reopen anyway and now we may see a new wave by the end of the month. So, I fully acknowledge I may have less patience for whining about social distancing measures, however, I do think I have a few dispassionate opinions on this issue.

    First of all, caution isn’t fear. I see so many people talking about their life not being ruled by fear, not living in fear, not “holding space for fear,” etc. I constantly see this bizarre assertion that “the media is filling people with fear” simply because they are serious about social distancing. (Ironically, these statements are usually made by people who are also sharing every single conspiracy theory under the sun.) Practicing mitigation measures is not a sign of *fear*. It’s an exercise in caution. I didn’t support our diocese shuttering our churches because I was filled with fear. I supported it because it was the prudent decision during a pandemic with a novel virus *and not the least bit unprecedented.*

    Secondly, the Eucharist isn’t in danger. Our priests aren’t just continuing to say Mass, they are live streaming it for us. No one is being called to die to protect the Eucharist. Christ is physically in every tabernacle and he’s spiritually present with every single one of us as we pray an Act of Spiritual Communion.

    Third, a martyr is someone who chooses to sacrifice *their own life,* not the lives the the vulnerable around them. “I’m willing to die for Christ” is an admirable and *necessary* sentiment, but that is not the same thing as having a cavalier attitude about how one’s actions might affect others’ health. We haven’t doubled down out of fear or because the Eucharist isn’t necessary. We’ve doubled down in order to protect the vulnerable. I’m hope and believe I’m willing to risk my own life for the Eucharist, but I’m also perfectly willing to sacrifice my need for Christ’s Body as an act of charity for my neighbor.

    This isn’t a *permanent* situation. Pandemics are inevitable. They come and significantly alter people’s lives for the duration and then *life resumes*. The Eucharist isn’t being stolen or endangered. It’s merely out of reach. We are spoiled by the easy access on our terms, but throughout the time and space the Eucharist hasn’t always been something you could have access to at 5 different Masses on the weekends and every day of the week. Now, suddenly, it’s not for us and I think that’s where the sense of…almost entitlement…is coming from.
    However, at this time, I think a really important question to ponder is why? Why is the Eucharist out of reach at this particular moment? I don’t for an instant believe God wants a pandemic, but I think we *should* pause and meditate on why it might be His permissive will to withdraw from us in this way at this moment… Is it so that we might better appreciate what a treasure we have, as Catholics, and appreciate His Real Presence all the more? Is it in order for more Catholics to be drawn to the knowledge and appreciation that the Eucharist IS His Real Presence? Is it so that we might be shaken into a more active pursuit of His Presence both in our parishes and in our lives? Is it so that our parishes and diocese might be prompted to get creative and find new ways to engage with parishoners in a way that leads many to stop being spectators and start being participators? Is it to an effort to get more of us to dive into our prayer lives outside of Mass? I don’t know, but I think there ruminating on what purpose this could serve is both productive and humbling.
    The Eucharist isn’t something we deserve. It isn’t something we are owed. It’s not something to be demanded. It’s a gift. In this short post, you used the word “I” twenty five times, but this issue isn’t about individuals making individual choices. This is a question of how our choices will affect the most vulnerable around us. This is a situation in which we should be discerning what God is asking of us, as a communal Body of Christ, to do in charity for our brothers and sisters, not demanding access to the Eucharist whether it’s prudent or not.

    I don’t know what the right answer is, but I know for a fact the answer isn’t about what I want or what I’m owed or what I think I should be able to do. I know the answer isn’t going to be found in my weariness with streaming Masses or my desire to be in our church again or my need for the Eucharist. I know the answer isn’t going to be found in me ruminating on what’s best for me.
    The only answer to be sought is “what does God want from all of us during this trying time?” Rather than all the letter writing, phone calls, and petitions demanding churches reopening or that public Masses be resumed, etc. why aren’t we simply praying and calling on each other to pray that God make His Will known to those making these difficult decisions. Not only would that be more charitable, it would probably be more effective.

    • TheoniBell

      I don’t know where to start, but I think many people are missing the bigger issue here. No government should have the ability to pressure any religious organization to shut it’s door. Some diocese wanted to do car masses or car confessions and they were not allowed. That is unconstitutional. That infringes on our freedoms. And we cannot trade our freedoms for fear, especially about something that we now know is not as harmful as once thought. You have the freedom to quarantine and mask yourself. You don’t have the freedom to tell me what to do in the practice of my faith or with my body. The government does not have the authority to govern the Church, at least it shouldn’t, when the Church isn’t breaking laws or advocating violence or infringing on others rights to life. If we give up our freedoms so easily we may lose them someday, like so many people under authoritative, secular, socialist and communist government’s in the past and now around the world. Our Church leaders need to stand up against the pressure, especially now with new data on the miniscule death rate of this disease. I’m not very educated in all of this, but this is what I think. God bless.

      • parker

        I’m not even going to get into an argument about the assertions your making regarding current data, but I do want to address a couple of other things.

        First of all, you’re discussing some complaints here that are state specific. If you live in a state that is saying churches can’t creatively observe mitigation measures in their worship, that IS a problem…but it’s a problem you have with your state, not with your diocese. That’s a great example of where letter writing, phone calling, and making demands of your local, county, or state representatives is entirely appropriate. The experience to which you’re referring (where churches have gotten creative and the government has over extended its reach of authority) is not a universal situation.

        Secondly, I know this is small, but I think Catholics should give real consideration to never using “you can’t tell me what to do with my body” as argument for anything, period. The optics of co-opting that particular phrase are terrible and using it in this specific context where what you do with your body affects someone else’s body is a really easy way for outsiders to call us out for being hypocrites. It’s just not a good look and there are other ways to express the sentiment.

        Lastly, various pandemic measures are being thrown out as “this could change everything forever” or “we’re showing them we’ll give up our freedom in fear” etc. but I don’t think that argument carries water the way you think it does. Either that or existence split into two parallel universes somewhere between 1918 and 1920 there’s a whole other existence where quarantines, mandatory mask wearing, closed churches, etc. led to a permanent loss of basic freedom…but I don’t think that’s the case. I think it’s for more likely that in an age of extreme asymmetrical motive attribution and political polarization people are getting neck deep in hyperbole without even realizing it.

        Finally, I see this argument of “temporarily giving our rights away will lead to a (insert adjective here) state” all the time. It’s typically paired with some form of the wildly butched Franklin quote “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” which actually originates as a comment on a tax dispute and, in context, defends the legislature’s right to govern in the interest of the collective community, but I digress. I think this is an issue where, very often, Christians project faith onto politics in a way that isn’t entirely appropriate. We, as Americans, have certain inalienable rights, the top 3 being a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…but those aren’t rights I, alone, have. Those are rights we all have. We have conflict when my exercising my rights begins to infringe on someone else’s ability to exercise theirs. I understand the immediate bubble up of panic, insecurity, and “you can’t tell ME what to do” that is caused by the handling of acute situations, such as a pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that emotional reaction is also a logical one. We shouldn’t handle acute situations with maintenance mode protocols and we shouldn’t handle maintenance mode with acute situation tactics. In other words, our response in a pandemic shouldn’t be “you do you, boo” and let the chips fall where they may. You can do both, advocate for serious mitigation measures to slow the spread, give physicians time to understand the virus better and hospitals to be better equipped to handle covid patients while treating the standard medical issues they will continue to see so that we don’t see unnecessary death, AND be an advocate of civil liberties and personal freedom when the crisis passes. It’s not black and white or either/or. Different situations call for different responses.

        • Kendra

          This is really well written, Parker. I appreciate you taking the time. I agree with you on most of it, and the rest will give me things to seriously consider.

          Theoni and I are both in California where church services are not considered phase 1 essential, or it appears, will be considered phase 2 essential either. And we are in Los Angeles, where our Archbishop took steps beyond the requirements of the government mandate, like disallowing private Masses, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for even a single person, not allowing people to visit the outdoor gravesites of their loved ones, and specifically banning creative solutions like drive through confession. It can make one feel a bit punchy.

          But I could not agree more with the plea to end the use of abortion debate jargon from both sides of this issue. It’s not applicable and it’s not charitable and it’s not good debate. Everyone stop it forever.

          I 90% agree with your take on the future. The husband and I had exactly this conversation last night over dinner. The human spirit being what it is, if small businesses fail, others will start up. People will curtail their usual behavior for a time, but will continually assess the risk/reward and eventually the risk of usual behavior will seem reasonable and we’ll be back to normal. But then there’s that 10% of me that loves dystopian novels and thinks how silly it is that here we are in chapter one and I’m editing a book and teaching my kids grammar when I should be learning subsistence farming and procuring weapons. And on the non-fiction front, there ARE oppressive government regimes. There are oppressive government regimes in places where there were other governments before. And SOMETHING changed to allow them to come into power. I think some level of vigilance and distrust of the government is prudent.

    • kerry

      i very much agree with many of these sentiments in this comment.

    • Kendra

      I mention the martyrs because their sacrifice is a witness to how real and important the sacraments are, and why it is worth getting creative with solutions and taking reasonable risks to have access to them.

      I absolutely agree that prayer is more important and more effective than letter writing. But bishops are human. They are influenced by the narrative they are hearing from the government and the media as much as the rest of us. If they believe we are content to sit home without the sacraments, then why bother to offer them to us? Only if they understand that this is something that’s important to us can we expect that they’ll start getting creative and finding solutions. We CAN demand things of them. It’s a right explicitly given to us in canon law.

      And as for using the word “I” twenty-five times. I’ve been blogging long enough to know that first person is the way to go. “You” is infuriating to people. “We” comes off as condescending. All I can do is offer my personal experience and perspective, and give people permission to consider the issue for themselves.

    • parker

      I kind of addressed this in a reply to a comment above, but I think there is probably some disconnect between how different states and different dioceses are handling this issue. However, I have seen in my own diocese and in others that have made the national news, that some parishes/diocese have gotten creative regarding confession at least and individual parishes have been getting creative about reaching out to their congregants. Catholic parishes are certainly at a disadvantage when it comes to actual worship (it’s easy for Protestant churches to do parking lot services or drive through ‘communion’), but that’s the nature of our faith, not the fault of civil or religious authorities. There is only so much we can do *because* we take our sacraments so seriously, not because we don’t care about them.
      Honestly, I’m really perplexed by the argument that we need to show our Bishops we value the sacraments and want to return to them? Aside from the standard “the media” argument (which is a whole other conversation because “the media” isn’t one solid cohesive entity and you can find media outlets that will tell you anything you want to hear in this day and age), I haven’t seen *any* indication that Bishops are getting the impression from practicing Catholics that they are happy with the current situation. The loudest voices have been angry about churches shuttering (sometimes in really uncharitable ways) from the start and are demanding things return to normal every single day. I have trouble believing there is an overwhelming number of Bishops who are worried their parishoners want more caution from them at this moment.
      As for our being allowed to demand things, I never argued that we weren’t allowed. My argument is there is a difference between autonomy and freedom–between having the power and it being a prudent time to use it. Bishops are human and incredibly fallible, as we have all witnessed, but they gain absolutely nothing by shuttering churches. They don’t need us to demand or pressure them to do what they already want to do. They want to open churches. They want us to have access to all the sacraments. Banging our fists on the table and expressing our frustration isn’t helpful or productive. We aren’t trying to persuade them to do something they don’t already want (or financially need) to do already. Pressuring them to do what they already want to do (sometimes in an uncharitable manner) has to be incredibly draining and disheartening. It’s same the kind of church culture that leads people who work in ministry to burn out everyday. I’d understand calling on bishops to do things they don’t want to do. I was first in line to sign petitions regarding oversight of abuse proceedings, but I don’t need to sign a petition encouraging my Bishop to do what he already wants to do. At that point, I’m just adding pressure to someone who’s already under pressure and for what?
      I understand using “I” to avoid any appearance of suggesting everyone should feel the way you do, my point was this isn’t an “I” situation at all…its a “we” situation…and the “we” nature of this conversation really seems to be missing in a lot of Catholic circles. I see calls to action and demands in Catholic groups, blogs, forums all the time where people are talking about what they want, what they have a right to, what they believe should happen, etc., but I’ve seen very little “offer it up” commentary or calls for discernment of God’s will coming out of our circles. I think I struggle with that attitude because it feels so Protestant in nature.

      I don’t mean *any* of this in an uncharitable tone. I certainly enjoy your blog and social media presence. I use your resources in our home constantly. I’m incredibly grateful for all your work and effort that made Eastering at home, a really disheartening experience, a LOT easier. I just think your voice is one that so many people look to and respect and that it carries so much weight in the Catholic community that I struggle with what feels like pouring gasoline on a fire that’s already raging.

      • parker

        (Sorry, this reply was supposed to be to Kendra’s comment–I’m not how it ended up showing up as a reply to Mollie.)

      • Kendra

        I don’t read it in an uncharitable tone. You seem awesome and I think we should go get coffee sometime, outdoors, facing different directions, and without any shouting or singing.

        My concern is twofold: the message the bishops are getting from the faithful, and the message the faithful are getting from the bishops.

        First, the bishops are human and just as susceptible to the 24 hour news cycle as other people. The media narrative is that physical safety should be our number one concern. If our bishops believe that their top priority must be our physical safety above all else, then they are going to make decisions based on that. As of this weekend, church services are permitted by the state of Iowa (where my sister lives). But the bishops of Des Moines have decided to continue the suspension of Masses throughout the state without regard for the circumstances of individual parishes. They feel they cannot ensure the health and safety of all. Those bishops should hear us say: Thank you for caring so much about us, but please allow your priests to come up with creative solutions. Allow individual priests and members of the faithful to assess the risk in their circumstances and decide how and if they receive the sacraments. We want you to care about our souls as well as our bodies.

        Which leads me to my other concern, which is that we know that the majority of buns in the pews already do not believe in the Real Presence. They already are not familiar with the Precepts of the Church. They already don’t avail themselves of confession. I wonder what will be the long term fallout from our bishops telling us: just watch the Mass on TV, just talk to God about your sins, there’s no hurry on baptism, you don’t have to receive communion during the Easter season. I believe in the authority of the pope to grant indulgences (and who loves and promotes indulgences more than I?!) and in the authority of the bishops to grant dispensations. But all of this that we believe about the sacraments is already so hard to believe, and actions speak so loudly. If the bishops tell us by their actions that the sacraments are not worth any level of physical risk, then that is the level of value the faithful will put on them, and all of a sudden we are Protestants.

        I want to hear them say, not: Our priests are old and can’t risk their health, but: We have a task force of young priests setting up mobile outdoor confessions for you. Not: all baptisms are cancelled, but: baptisms are a priority, but we want to do them as safely as possible, so we are going back to the old school practice of as soon as possible after birth with just the baby and the father and the priest and the godparents. We’re going to annoint, sprinkle, light the candle, and get out of there. I want to see that they believe the sacraments are real and efficacious and that they are worth some level of risk to provide and obtain. And that’s not the message I’m getting (from anyone but my pastor who is always amazing but has been especially inspiring over these past few weeks).

  45. Rachel

    It’s time the church release us from bondage. Love this blogpost.

  46. Natalie

    Amen!! I am SO thankful our churches in panhandle in FL opened up on Thursday! It’s the best gift I’ve received in last 7 weeks. Praying for all of you who doesn’t have that access Our priest has been super supportive of offering the Eucharist from day 1 of pandemic (of course in reverent way after watching mass) and now we back to Mass!

  47. Lisa

    I can’t say I agree exactly BUT I think that there is no reason we shouldn’t be offered the Sacraments. We could manage to make wise choices. I need Jesus.

  48. Anne

    I agree with many points made on both “sides” of this discussion. I avoid negativity and combative discussions like the, ahem, plague, but here is my take on the situation. There have been several outbreaks which can be traced directly to religious services, I believe primarily due to their duration, the close proximity of the worshippers and singing. Yes, I can take the risk, and presume that everyone else there has similarly decided that they can take the risk, but the people in attendance are not the only people who could be harmed should there be spread. We will all leave there and go to the grocery store, the post office, etc, etc. My husband and I have prayerfully considered this and have decided that we will stick with live-streamed Mass for the foreseeable future. That said, I extend grace to my brothers and sisters in Christ who may come to a different decision. I’m starting to feel like a lot of the rancor around this subject is just Satan having a field day. Be well, stay safe and God Bless.

  49. Brianna

    I have mixed feelings on this, so I won’t wade into it. However, I do think it’s tremendously important that we stop treating the disease like it could kill some in some groups and not others. There is still a lot unknown about this disease. But, there is some evidence that this disease kills the unborn by causing miscarriages. Babies have died of it. Children have died. My husband lost a 39 year old, “risk factor free [to our knowledge]” co-worker to COVID… a member of my Bible Study lost a honorary father. An usher at our parish was hospitalized with it. A security guard at my workplace died (on the same day her husband and daughter, also sick with COVID, left the hospital). My daughter’s teacher’s husband (around early 40s) was sick for 5 weeks, at home, but not without hospital visits… This, all in an area that has “flattened the curve.” — anyone can get it, anyone can spread it unknowingly, anyone can die or be hospitalized because of it… Different opinions on mass or what have you is fine. But please don’t speak about this disease as if there are “high risk” groups and those without risk. We are, all of us, the unborn to the aged, at risk.

    • Kendra

      I agree with you that there is risk, that was really the whole point of the post. Everything we do falls somewhere on the risk/reward continuum. The question that I think needs to be part of the discussion for us as Catholics is where do the sacraments fall? Do they not have great reward? The message I am getting from the bishops is that zero risk is acceptable, which indicates to me that there is very little value/reward to the sacraments in themselves. I don’t mean to say that they believe that themselves. I hope they don’t. But I think that will be the takeaway of many.

  50. Julie Schmidt

    You have a beautiful soul! my family too would die for the Eucharist! We have been able to receive in these times. We do mass in the parking lot. And then after mass come into the church 6 at a time and recieve. Happy Mother’s Day!

  51. TheoniBell

    I don’t know where to start, but I think many people are missing the bigger issue here. No government should have the ability to pressure any religious organization to shut it’s door. Some diocese wanted to do car masses or car confessions and they were not allowed. That is unconstitutional. That infringes on our freedoms. And we cannot trade our freedoms for fear, especially about something that we now know is not as harmful as once thought. You have the freedom to quarantine and mask yourself. You don’t have the freedom to tell me what to do in the practice of my faith or with my body. The government does not have the authority to govern the Church, at least it shouldn’t, when the Church isn’t breaking laws or advocating violence or infringing on others rights to life. If we give up our freedoms so easily we may lose them someday, like so many people under authoritative, secular, socialist and communist government’s in the past and now around the world. Our Church leaders need to stand up against the pressure, especially now with new data on the miniscule death rate of this disease. I’m not very educated in all of this, but this is what I think. God bless.

  52. Beth

    The bottom line is that the government does not have the RIGHT to govern the church. We are giving the government power to dictate every facet of our lives, which the brave men that established our freedom fought for.

  53. Elizabeth

    One more thought and then I’m done. Promise!

    Yes, Christ’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament is very real. Saints have died for to protect Him. May we all be so brave. But when I receive the Eucharist, it isn’t just so I can be spiritually satisfied. I should “become what I eat.” There is nothing more Eucharistic than laying down your life for another. Most of us are doing that in small ways by staying home. Some of the commenters are making even greater sacrifices by acting as caretakers or frontline medical workers. I think our commitment to the protection of the vulnerable *is* the best witness to our belief in the Real Presence. There is a lot of grace available in this suffering which is not forever. Take it! If you haven’t read this piece yet, please do: https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2020/03/19/joseph-ratzinger-on-fasting-from-the-eucharist/?fbclid=IwAR0DE5PFoOwJwMmX0eWwptko_8i4yvI3J0ZPEKL0o_Azw2Bf14yhuw5woHQ

  54. Caroline

    For all who are seeking to continue the delay of re-opening Churches and business: how long is acceptable?

  55. Lauren

    While I don’t agree with all of Kendra’s conclusions here, I definitely feel and understand her frustration. In the Archdiocese of NY, the center of the epidemic, we are allowed drive through confession and our churches are by and large open for private prayer. It seems unfair that where Kendra lives, that is not the case.

    Many bishops are communicating well (my mom sent me a video from her bishop in the Diocese of Orlando, my sister in Diocese of Houma-Thibodeaux has felt very connected to her bishop during this time). But I feel a great separation. I can watch Cuomo explain his thinking and plans for 30-45 minutes a day; I am unaware of anything comparable from Cardinal Dolan. I’m sure he is hard at work, but I do want to hear from him! (And I could be missing some resource here that he is using… forgive me if so).

    • Mel

      He is on Sirius XM radio, which is FREE to listen to right now. He’s on the Catholic Channel on a show called Conversations with Cardinal Dolan. He is talking about it.

  56. Bobbie

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this!

  57. Jessica

    Thank you, Kendra. I completely agree. I have felt this way for weeks and especially when I came to the realization that Easter would not be celebrated at mass in church. I feel that Church is essential. We should have the right to choose to go. I am in Texas and our church is open, now. We have precautions, but masses are being held. I refuse to live in constant fear of death. Have you voiced your concerns? Even though we are open now, I know that this virus will likely return in the fall. I do not want to see mass closed again.

    • Jessica

      * edit to note that I just saw where you are asking we write our Bishops. I honestly didn’t know who to write or talk to about my concerns. I know our local Priest didn’t make the rule but didn’t even know where to begin. I should not I go to a parish of 7-9k on a regular sunday.

  58. Leila Miller

    Thank you for all of this, and for your addendum. When everything is a “pro-life” issue, then nothing is a pro-life issue. And that’s the very reason folks try to put everything that doesn’t include the direct, willful killing of the innocent under the umbrella of “pro-life”: To shut down the debate and shame the person who is not towing the line. Some of us call it “kitchen-sinking” the pro-life movement. Throw in everything but the kitchen sink. This way, gun control becomes a pro-life issue, universal health care becomes a pro-life issue, infectious disease control becomes a pro-life issue, education becomes a pro-life issue. Heck, even jaywalking can be a pro-life issue! Good for you for standing against the kitchen-sinking you have received, and thank you for standing on supernatural faith, over and against the idea that everything is an earthly consideration, and that the illusion of bodily safety is more important than supernatural realities and the reception of the Sacraments. We have lost our way as Catholics. Thank you for standing strong.

  59. WBtFoG

    You nailed it, Kendra. We are able to access the Sacraments where we live now but prior to that, many of us shared your thoughts and voiced them until our governor and Bishop heard us.

    Our shepherd has emphasized that spiritual health comes first always. Eternity is longer than this temporary life. Also, it is not selfish to work on your personal holiness Via the Sacraments. It is only by converting our own hearts And souls that Others will come to know Christ and be converted. In the final analysis, a long life is not our ultimate goal but salvation of souls.

  60. Kristina Chatfield

    Kendra – what a beautiful post. I am in a “risk” category right now, because I’m in the midst of chemo for breast cancer – and dealing with that diagnosis and treatment in the midst of all the COVID crazy. And I’m desperate and longing for the sacraments. I will keep myself protected as I need to, but you better believe I’m back in Mass as soon as they start having it. I’m in Georgia and they are saying no sooner than June 1st. Yet my MIL’s parish in Alabama has already moved to hold virtual Mass – and then have an hour after Mass where you can drive by the church and receive the Eucharist. Parishes in NC are holding Mass outside. There are ways to do this.

    • Kendra

      I’m so sorry to hear it. This disease is making everything, even other diseases, more difficult to handle! Praying for your recovery.

  61. Maria

    To Kendra and readers of this blog, have you seen this initiative?


    I haven’t read all the comments so please forgive me if anyone else has mentioned it before.

    I think signing this appeal is worth considering.

  62. Emily

    YOU GO GIRL! I 1000000000% agree with it ALL!

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

If you’d like to learn more about what Catholics believe and why, and to be inspired by saints from every era all over the world, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of how to teach your kids about the faith in a way that’s true, engaging, and lasts a lifetime, we can help!

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