Here’s the question—THE question—that’s on my mind these days: As governors continue to impose tight restrictions on churches, when will Catholic bishops encourage civil disobedience?
Archbishop Sample of Portland seems to have answered that question, saying it’s not going to happen.” Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco sends a different message: “I’m taking no options off the table.”
In France, Bishop Ginoux of Montauban has gone considerably further, urging the faithful to show up for Mass. “It’s easy to ask bishops to take the lead if no one stands behind them,” he reasons; “invade the churches at Mass times, ask for the Mass and bishops and priests will come to celebrate it.”
That sounds quite reasonable to me. But there are a few practical difficulties. Which churches should we invade? And what are the Mass times? Or should we, the lay faithful, make those decisions for ourselves: choose a church and a time, assemble, and wait—and pray—for a willing priest? I’d be willing.
This is not a mere theoretical question. I was stunned and dismayed (“scandalized,” I think, is the right word) earlier this year, when one diocese after another meekly acceded to government directives, and shut off access to the sacraments. If it happens again I want to be ready.
Who’s with me?
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