Hate In The Time of Coronavirus

The Chinese Martyrs

Disease knows no religious border. Viruses are ecumenical.

As Coronavirus rises in China (HERE), we read that the government has cracked down even more on Christians, forbidding Christian funerals.


The government claims the new rules aim to “get rid of bad funeral customs and establish a scientific, civilized and economical way of funerals.”

“Clerical personnel are not allowed to participate in funerals” at homes and “no more than 10 family members of the deceased are allowed to read scriptures or sing hymns in a low voice,” the rules state. The new rules began to take effect recently, although enacted on Dec. 1, said a Catholic in Wenzhou Diocese in Zhejiang.

The regulations strictly ban “religious activities outside religious places, so the priest will not be able to hold funeral prayers outside the church,” he told UCA News.


China has banned funerals, burials and other related activities involving the corpses of deceased victims of the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan in Hubei province.

This reminds me of what Obama and the dems wanted for religious practices: to drive religion from the public square.

A while back the Holy See signed an agreement with China.  Since then, Catholics have been savagely repressed.

But do you remember the claim of Argentinian Bp. Marcello Sorondo?  He said in 2018, that “at this moment, those who best realize the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese.”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Suburbanbanshee says:

    It is traditional to postpone funerals in time of plague or to have prayers said at the graveside, with the Masses kept until later.

    But of course Xi’s government is always trying to hurt religions and believers.

  2. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Embarrassment is what the Holy See should feel about having signed a secret treaty with the Communists and the resultant ongoing worsening repression of Catholic belief and practice.

  3. Amerikaner says:

    It is so very, very sad to see what the faithful Chinese must endure. Their reward will be great.

  4. LeeGilbert says:

    Nobody that I’ve read has said this so far, but from a Judaeo-Christian viewpoint isn’t it credible that Australia is (was?) burning as a chastisement for their treatment of Cardinal Pell, and that the plague has fallen on China because of its treatment of Christians? The entire people bears guilt for the sins of its rulers, and so the punishment falls on all. That is surely a Scriptural dynamic.

    As another commentator ( Steve Turley) mentioned, this could well be China’s Chernobyl, which was an important factor in the collapse of the U.S.S.R. So while in the short term everyone there is miserable, it could well mean eventual relief for the Church in China if it causes the collapse of the the Communist Party of China (CPC).

    However that may be, surely we can pray that the Lord bring great good from these evils, both Australian and Chinese.

  5. ChrisP says:

    I am starting to wonder if this particular infection and pantomime is Divinely orchestrated. The mortality rate is less than half that observed in China, the CCP has been shown up to be idiotic and incurred venom from the population and the Chinese healthcare system is glaringly inadequate.

    In other words, when PF and the Vatican appear to have abandoned the faithful, God is letting them know He still is in charge.

  6. ChrisP says:

    The “overseas mortality rate” it should say.

  7. Benedict Joseph says:

    Undoubtedly we will hear a loud protest emanating from the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

  8. chantgirl says:

    Wait- the rule was enacted Dec 1st. Was this in response to the outbreak, or just because they wanted to crack down harder on Catholics? The outbreak supposedly wasn’t known about on Dec 1st.

    It’s bad enough that these poor people can’t even have a priest attend to them in the hospital as they are dying. Now they can’t even have a funeral. Perhaps, in view of the “not-yet-pandemic” people should have a Mass said for their soul ahead of time, because God only knows if they will get a funeral Mass after they die.

    I remember that St. Faustina once said the prayers for the dying for herself in case she couldn’t pray when her actual death came.

  9. chantgirl says:

    ChrisP- The death rate outside of China is likely lower because this virus seems to take a while to resolve in death or recovery. Also, the Chinese healthcare system seems to have been totally unprepared for the volume of patients.

    I expect that we will get a better idea of the actual death rate when we start tracking the individual cases in the US and Europe, where the reporting is likely to be more accurate. So far, if we look at the death rate vs recovered cases, this virus looks pretty wicked. Also, those who are treated in the hospital for this frequently need intensive care (respirators, ventilators, cocktails of drugs). The healthcare system in the US has the ability to provide those things- up to a point. If we experienced the volume of infected people here that China is seeing, we would have a difficult time handling that volume as well, and some would probably die due to lack of beds, wait times, medicine scarcity, and lack of medical personnel.

  10. JustaSinner says:

    It’s all okay…Pope Francis made a deal with the Communist Party in China. Roses, rainbows and unicorns, alright!!!

  11. tho says:

    Pope Francis did for the Chinese church what Neville Chamberlain did for the Czechs. It is so sad that in these tumultuous times that our Holy Father, appeases, and looks for the easy way out. Would it be blasphemous to prefer a Pope more in the style of Trump? Not in personal behavior, but in his style of making America first.

    [Ironically, it could be that we do now have a Pope in the style of Trump in his “personal behavior” (what ever that is… people can change). Are his off the cuff remarks that different from Trump’s tweets? Trump clearly is working the make America first. Franic certainly isn’t trying to make the Catholic Church great again.]

  12. KateD says:

    “China has banned funerals, burials and other related activities involving the corpses of deceased victims of the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan in Hubei province.“

    Uhm….what are they doing with the bodies?

    Is that a ban specifically targeted at Christians? If so, what does the Wuhan Coronavirus have to do with Chinese Christians?

  13. ChrisP says:

    chantgirl: the death rate overseas is already 5-10x lower than the same number of cases at first in Wuhan.
    Second, the virus takes a week to get over in >80% of cases. French and USA colleagues have reported its less worse than SARS.
    Third: the Chinese were under-prepared alright, which is shocking given the SARS event 15 years ago.
    I don’t believe it suits anybody or anything to not speak the blunt truth about these things.

  14. DeGaulle says:

    I wonder if the Chinese Communists are beginning to panic and if these recent clampdowns on religion are indicative of that. Their economy shows signs of not being as robust as they proclaim. They have failed utterly to contain the African Swine Fever epidemic. They have baulked from clamping down in Hong Kong as they did in Tienanmen Square. There have been rumours of protests on the mainland. Their response to this latest crisis has been secretive, rife with suspicion and far from efficient. The ‘impregnable’ USSR collapsed practically overnight. Could something similar happen in China?

  15. veritas vincit says:

    tho: “Pope Francis did for the Chinese church what Neville Chamberlain did for the Czechs.”

    Ouch! Painfully said but absolutely true.

  16. Skeinster says:

    Kate D.
    The bodies are being cremated. This is not an unusual procedure in epidemics (see Ebola outbreaks in Africa) and should not necessarily be considered anti-religion.

  17. acardnal says:

    Tip of the hat to Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

  18. Cy says:


    Our parish (because the Diocese) has banned Communion on the tongue due to “threat of infection.”


  19. iamlucky13 says:

    @ Cy

    From Redemptionis Sacramentum (91-92), which is consistent with the General Instruction for the Roman Missal, but more clear:

    “any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to Holy Communion. Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.

    Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her.”

    Kneeling is just one, similar example. Because Communion on the tongue is not forbidden by law, it is also therefore forbidden to deny Communion to someone who wishes to receive on the tongue, unless a proscription like Canon 915 applies.

    I’m not aware of allowance to deny the rights of the sacraments based on perceived health risks, although it is always the right of any person to abstain from Communion when necessary. There was more good discussion on this topic last week here:

  20. Semper Gumby says:

    Interesting Union of Catholic Asian News report. Here is a Radio Free Asia report, also from Feb. 3:

    Information about the novel coronavirus (nCoV) and how it has spread in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) is a “state secret” and cannot be shared with the public, according to a government employee in the region’s capital Urumqi.

    Local officials have remained tight-lipped about how nCoV has spread in the region, where authorities have detained as many as 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas in a vast network of internment camps since April 2017.


  21. chantgirl says:

    Semper Gumby- Any time people are tempted to take the Party’s virus numbers at face value, it’s helpful to remember that the Party is also responsible for dragging nine-months pregnant women from their homes to forcibly abort them, sending its own citizens to concentration camps, harvesting organs from political dissidents, bulldozing churches and leaving Bishops and priests homeless, and preventing children from going to any kind of religious services.

    Just this week, alternative media has shown videos of Chinese being barricaded into their homes (hopefully they have enough food!), pics of a Chinese woman apparently shot for trying to breach a quarantine barrier, pics of a 16-year-old handicapped boy with cerebral palsy who died after authorities took his parents off to quarantine and left him to starve, videos of health officers making the rounds in neighborhoods with rifles etc. Thank God for alternative news outlets, even if all of the conflicting info and data take time to sort out.

    Now even in the mainstream, Western media we are starting to see some news reports on China’s botched response to this:



    Common sense would say that in January, when China decided to enact the largest quarantine known in recorded history, and raced to build several new hospitals in a week, that the official numbers coming out of China in no way reflected the amount of panic coming from the Party.

    I mean, who builds several brand new hospitals in a week and quarantines 50 million people for (at that time) several hundred cases and a few deaths from a virus that is no worse than the regular flu? It doesn’t make any sense.

    It took almost two months, based on China’s purported patient zero, to go from what-is-this to chaos and panic. We should know in the next 6-8 weeks what this virus looks like outside China and the Party’s propaganda filter.

  22. clare joseph says:

    Reply to LeeGilbert: This actually crossed my mind, too, when I heard that the fires in Australia were threatening Canberra – that this might be a Divine statement about the treatment of Cardinal Pell (and other serious abuses).

  23. L.Th.S. Martin says:

    For daily reports from China of the CPC’s attacks on Catholics, members of other religions and, indeed, any who disrupt its march to digitised neo-Stalinism, I recommend bitterwinter[dot]org, published by the Center for Studies on New Religions (Torina, Italy), which has been following the situation closely since May 2018. The website also provides translations of applicable laws, a glossary of unfamiliar and often obscure terms, and useful studies of the history and background.

  24. iamlucky13 says:

    @ chantgirl
    “I mean, who builds several brand new hospitals in a week and quarantines 50 million people for (at that time) several hundred cases and a few deaths from a virus that is no worse than the regular flu? It doesn’t make any sense.”

    The actions of authoritarians don’t always make sense. The priority is having a justification for using or expanding their authority, not whether it is genuinely prudent or justifiable.

    Among both the concerns and potential motives, capricious rules provide an excellent opportunity for selective (such as politically or ideologically motivated) enforcement, and basis for incremental expansion of authority.

    They may also be simply be susceptible to the same paranoia plenty of people not in positions of similar authority are. My interpretation of the information I’m seeing reported is the Wuhan coronavirus has more severe symptoms and a higher death rate than most strains of influenza, but is less easily communicable. However, initial uncertainty combined with the high apparent death rate could quite conceivably lead to a panicked response by officials that is hard to back down from.

    But as you note, we’ll learn a lot more in the next month or two.

  25. Semper Gumby says:

    chantgirl and iamlucky13: Good points.

    On totalitarianism and Communism in China, an op-ed from Monday:

    Xi Jinping has disappeared from public view.

    The general secretary of the Communist Party and the president of the Chinese state was not on the front page of People’s Daily, the regime’s most authoritative publication, on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. China Central Television’s Evening News broadcasts on Thursday through Saturday were also Xi-free. The Friday show led with a segment announcing the publication of an article, on cultural protection and exchanges, in the party’s flagship journal of political theory.

    Many have marveled at the speed of state action. Among the cheerleaders is the director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. China News Service, run by the Communist Party, reported that Mr. Ghebreyesus, during a meeting with Mr. Xi in Beijing on Jan. 28, said that China was “winning the admiration of the world.” “The speed and extent of the Chinese mobilization is rarely seen in the world,” he is reported to have said. “This is the superiority of the Chinese system and this experience is worthy of emulation by other countries.” [the op-ed writer disagrees with that]

    …on Jan. 19, when it was evident an epidemic was sweeping the city, Wuhan officials held a public banquet for 40,000 families in an attempt to set a world record.


    nCoV has begun to impact food prices and supply chains. RT and Interfax are reporting food price increases in eastern Russia. Radio Free Asia reports that North Korean workers are apparently returning to China to earn hard currency.

    Reuters on food imports:

    “There’s been disruptions at the [Chinese] ports,” Tyson Chief Executive Noel White said on a call with analysts. “That has skewed shipments, receivals.”

    China has increased meat imports from the United States, Europe and Brazil as African swine fever has killed up to half its pigs since August 2018.

    But several Chinese ports are at capacity on space for refrigerated containers and [electric] outlets because few receivers are picking them up, said Peter Friedmann, executive director of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition. Shanghai and Xingang have reported 100% utilization of available [electric] plugs, he said.


    Liquid natural gas, commodities, and “Force Majeure”:

    China National Offshore Oil Corp. declared what’s known as force majeure, meaning it won’t take delivery of some liquefied natural gas cargoes, because the virus is constraining its ability to import the fuel.

    Hours later, it emerged that Chinese copper smelter Guangxi Nanguo had invoked the same get-out, refusing to take delivery of raw materials.

    The impact is reverberating around the world. Copper buyers are requesting Chilean miners postpone shipments because of port shutdowns while China’s biggest oil refiner, Sinopec Group, is likely to ask Saudi Arabia to reduce crude supplies next month. Soybeans from Brazil and the U.S. are being held up on arrival in eastern China and Indonesian palm oil shipments are also being delayed.


    Hopefully, the nCoV situation will improve during the next several weeks.

  26. Davin says:

    It’s not as simple as that. The Chinese believed that it was Christian (Protestant) rebels who brought down the Qing dynasty and allow the republic to arise. Hence, they feel that heir fear, hatred, and paranoia towards Christianity is justified.
    Also, I certainly hope if China as we know it now breaks up it happens peacefully, because looking at things from here in the region, such breakup won’t be peaceful and could potentially cause the biggest refugee crisis in the history of mankind. Imagine the Syrian crisis times 100.

  27. Davin says:

    The lockdown was ironically performed right in the middle of the Chinese New Year season, the single biggest migration of people in the world where 300-500 million people from all over the world go to their hometowns to celebrate with their family.

  28. Davin says:

    I’m honestly rather skeptical that it will improve in the next few weeks. I suspect this will last at least till summer.

  29. Mightnotbeachristiantou says:

    The restrictions on religious funerals was before the outbreak.
    We have no idea of the severity of the plague. But you don’t not close cities for a few dozen deaths. I think they are allowing people to go back to work this Monday. So the division of my husband company he works for is telling him.
    There should be a way around this. Can you not have more than one funeral mass said for the same person? Wouldn’t it be a witness and an exhortation to have more than one mass? Don’t we in the west pay for masses to be said for the dead? Can’t we get a list of people to have masses said for those who died?

  30. Semper Gumby says:

    News reports from North Korea.

    “The North Korean capital of Pyongyang was supposed to stage a massive military parade on Saturday [February 8] to spark its 72nd anniversary celebrating the founding of the country’s armed forces…”

    “This year, nothing like that took place.

    “Local media reports, heavily controlled by Mr Kim and his ruling party, said the Workers’ Party had been successful combating “severe and dangerous difficulties” but didn’t mention the parade at all.”

    “North Korea’s medical system is poor, as the world probably knows,” Mr Choi said. “It does not have proper medical equipment, let alone reliable electricity or water supply facilities in hospitals and health centres.”


    “In late January, a photo taken by a private satellite showed many soldiers practicing formations at an airfield on the outskirts of Pyongyang, raising speculation that North Korea would hold a military parade in the not-so-distant future.

    “North Korea, however, has apparently shifted its focus to strengthening measures to contain the new coronavirus.”


    “The weekly saengwhal chonghwa [self-criticism] sessions held on Saturdays at the consulate [in Dandong] have not happened since the Lunar New Year (Jan. 25),” said the source.”

    ““With no way to earn money, the people are starting to resent high-ranking officials and the wealthy. They are venting their anger on authorities,” said the second source.”


    “Agents with the Ministry of State Security (MSS)’s Bureau 10 arrested two remittance brokers during raids in Hyesan, Ryanggang Province, after discovering texts mentioning the novel coronavirus on their Chinese-made mobile phones, Daily NK has learned.”

    “Smugglers and remittance brokers frequently use Chinese mobile phones to communicate with the outside world. Brokers have reportedly come under tighter surveillance by the MSS following the closing of the Sino-North Korean border and the resulting decrease in smuggling activity along the border.

    “After North Korean authorities sealed the border, agents from MSS Bureau 10 have been patrolling areas where brokers operate with signal jammers and detectors. Agents conducted raids on the evening of Feb. 8 – Military Foundation Day – in the belief that people would be caught off guard because of the holiday, sources told Daily NK.”


Comments are closed.