Pope Benedict XVI’s biographer, German author Peter Seewald, has slammed the Catholic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, lamenting “the paralyzing fear of those of little faith.”
He asked rhetorically, “Man does not live by bread alone. Is not then the Eucharist, the spiritual food, at least as valuable as the things from the bakery and from the pharmacy?”
In an article published by faithful Austrian Catholic news website kath.net, Seewald first pointed out that society has by now come to a standstill.
“Too much has run its course, been pushed too far, pushed to the limit,” he wrote.
He then turned to the state of the Church, arguing that it shows “the situation of the Christian faith in a drama that must shake.”
“The churches are not closed,” Seewald wrote. “But there are no worshippers in the pews.”
“The church services are not canceled, but they are forbidden by the state. However, where is the outcry that even Confessions, adoration, and blessings are no longer possible?”
While no bishops were arrested, he said, “many of them seem to be locked away.”
Catholic faithful in the early Church, during the time of persecution, were asked why they congregated for Mass, even though the emperor had explicitly prohibited it.
“Sine dominico non possumus,” they responded.
Pope Benedict explained the meaning of that Latin quote during a homily in 2005: “We cannot live without joining together on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist. We would lack the strength to face our daily problems and not to succumb.”
Seewald continued, “If this is the case, and it is the case, then it requires imagination and especially the courage to live the Christian faith even in times of need.”
“A church that shuts out even the remaining small group of upright Christians is as absurd as a bicycle without tires,” he said.
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