A concern Catholic priest has thrown a caution to all and sundry to pay heed to instructions and safety measures as the country battles coronavirus. He calls on everyone to stop the widespread of fake news and jokes regarding the pandemic but rather pause to reflect on their lives and retreat. He makes reference to the decisions taken by various Bishop’s all over the world and the need to respect the decisions of the Ghana Catholic Bishop’s Conference.
Find his full text below:
Dear Brother and Sister,
Is it that we do not see the harm we are causing to ourselves and the body of Christ? Is it that we cannot take simple instructions and or listen? Is it that we must all say something? Have we forgotten so soon the essence of a retreat or a recollection or a desert spirituality?
We must all pause and look at the harm we are causing to the Church. Our leaders, the church hierarchy in their wisdom have asked us to limit our public gathering including open Mass. The Italian Bishop’s conference declared that churches be closed till further notice. The Holy Father intervened and said some of the measures are too drastic. In view of this some places have been opened. Meanwhile, the Holy father does not meet the crowds as he used to do. We all know the reason. Why should we think these measures are absurd?
Anyway, I think this is the time we need a sober reflection. We must stop the jokes, we must stop ‘the we know it all’, we must stop circulating the fake news, we must stop the panic etc. The way to go is to reflect and retreat.
This is the time we must listen and obey simple instruction. It looks like everybody knows the solution. It is amazing how a lot of people are commenting on this issue. It will do us a lot of good to listen to our leaders. Both religious and secular leaders.Obviously, our leaders mean good for us. Yes, we can all be leaders yet we can all not lead at the same time.
The Bishop of Rome, and of the Church, Pope Francis has taken a decision. The Bishops of Italy have taken a decision. The Bishops of Ghana have taken a decision. The Bishops of Poland have taken a decision. The Bishop of New York have taken a decision. We can continue the list but this is enough to let us know the authority of the Bishops who are the representatives of the apostles wherever they are. They have taken these decisions taking into consideration their unique context. Clearly, the decisions of the Bishops of China will be different from that of Ghana.
Let us listen to our local ordinaries. We may have better ideas than theirs yet they are the ones leading. Sure, some of the Bishops have limited the celebration of Mass but I haven’t heard any Bishop or Bishop conference saying no to prayer, no reading of scripture, no fasting, no charity, no praises and worship just to mention few. May be a Bishop has said that I don’t know.
So, you see that we can still express our faith. In fact, the Catholic Priest can be chained or put in prison and obviously the Priest cannot celebrate Mass. Does this imply the Gospel has been chained? A big No! St. Paul said, he can be chained yet the Gospel cannot be chained. Your mouth and my mouth cannot be chained. My heart and your heart for the love of the Gospel cannot be chained.
This is the time we need all the baptized to rise and proclaim the Gospel, first in their homes and then outside to all. Pope Francis in his post synodal apostolic exhortation, Evangelium Gaudium calls on all of us to be missionary disciples. This is the appropriate time to show we are missionary disciples. We do not need special training to be missionary disciples.
Let us feed ourselves spiritually by drawing close to Jesus like Nicodemus and like the Samaritan woman in John’s Gospel. Both became missionaries after their close encounter with Jesus
This means more personal prayer and reading of the Word , fasting, doing charity, having personal retreat. Rather than the jokes, the plenty talks, the fake information, ‘ the teaching the leader what to do’ etc.
May God save us all from this coronavirus.