I went to my parish church just before the vigil Mass Saturday, for Pentecost 2020. They had taped off sections of pews and seats to keep people separated, leaving not much space left for parishioners. This is necessary for safety, and is a requirement by the govt. So it is not a criticism. But the result is that many fewer seats are available.
Parishes and dioceses cannot survive with so many fewer attendees at Mass. (It does reduce the money donated to the parish.) And most parish activities have been cancelled. The Church is harmed by the pandemic, not only temporally but also spiritually. People are less connected to their parishes. This could result in many persons not returning once it is safe to go to Mass.
I think we will see that the great apostasy, during the first part of the tribulation (which has not yet begun), will be partly caused by this pandemic. It tests people’s faith to have them get out of the habit of going to Mass, and then see who will return when Mass resumes. We will lose many lukewarm Catholics. They will stop going to Mass altogether. The Church will become smaller and holier.
Then I still expect Pope Francis to make a decision on discipline and doctrine which will cause many conservatives to fall away from the Church by schism and by falsely accusing the Pope of heresy. Many have already fallen away by these sins against faith, though some still claim to be in communion with Rome. The Pope will make some type of decision that will cause them to formally proclaim their rejection of the Roman Pontiff and the Holy See and the Bishops in communion with the Pope.
But I digress. The topic of this post is whether it is still safe to go to Mass. After surveying the situation at my parish, I decided it is not. I’m 59 and my father, which whom I share a residence, is 84. It is entirely possible for someone at Mass to be ill with Covid, be infectious, and not have any symptoms yet. Even a short Mass of 30 minutes is long enough for the virus to spread widely in the room. You are not really safe if you are more than 6 feet away and everyone has a mask. And this disease kills the elderly, and sometimes the young. I cannot risk my father’s life by going to Mass, getting infected without knowing it, and then passing it on to him.
I saw some elderly persons going in to Mass Saturday. They have a right to make that decision for themselves. I’m glad there is the option of attending Mass. I think some persons might be in a situation where it is worth the risk to them. An elderly widow or widower might be willing to risk her/his life to attend Mass. And if you are unlikely to spread the infection to someone else, esp. to an elderly someone else, you might morally take that risk for yourself.
However, the risk is still too great for many people. I would advise persons who have contact regularly with the elderly, or other vulnerable persons not to go places where you might catch the disease and spread it to those persons. You don’t want to be responsible for someone else’s death.
Once we have a vaccine and/or an effective treatment, the situation may be different.
Please consider reading my new website Covid.us.org. There’s good information there, mostly from research studies. Also, there are 10 studies showing that Vitamin D may help reduce risk of a severe case of Covid-19 and possibly reduce risk of death. See the two-part article here. I’m taking 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day.
Ronald L Conte Jr