Don’t CANCEL Masses in order to avoid crowds and the spread of Chinese virus. ADD MASSES!

Here is something good.

Dioceses and conferences of bishops are panicking. “BIG CROWDS SPREAD DISEASE! We have to SHUT DOWN MASSES!”

No.  ADD MASSES!   The crowd at each will be smaller.

Look at what this Polish bishop suggests.

Get it? More Masses, smaller crowds at each Mass. People aren’t packed in. They can spread out over the church.

And there are MORE MASSES!

That’s a good thing, right?

More people can have Mass intentions said.

Bishops… consider asking priests to add a Mass every day, perhaps a votive Mass against the spread of disease. Traditionally, we can use the Missa pro vitanda mortalitate vel tempore pestilientiae and the Mass “Tempore mortalitatis“. Bishops can give permission for votive Masses for grave public reasons.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Kevin says:

    I love the Polish …they lead in so many ways.

  2. mamajen says:

    Proximity isn’t the only issue, though. It survives on surfaces and we don’t know how long. Thinking of my own parish we have young kids with their mouths on the pews, shared missals. I think few people can avoid habitually touching their face. If they could clean surfaces between masses, then we’re talking. Ideally only healthy people would be at masses to begin with but there are always a few stubborn ones thinking they ought to offer it up, and possibly carriers who aren’t sick yet.

    Of course this is an issue with other illnesses as well, and we go.

  3. AZ Joe says:

    Less concelebration and more Masses!

  4. The Masked Chicken says:

    If other businesses are shuttered, it might increase the number of people at Sunday Mass, so having more Masses might just result in the same number of people at Mass as the current Masses. It all depends on the particular circumstances of the city or country, so I don’t know if one can generalize on this, although, I do think it would lighten the load for weekday Masses, since far fewer people attend them.

    The Chicken

  5. Andreas says:

    The situation in Europe worsens as our neighbors in Italy are under a nationwide quarantine with strict transnational border checks. If the situation does not soon improve, our other neighbors in Bavaria and the rest of Germany may be subject to similar conditions in the very near future. The situation is worsened by far with the continued influx into much of southern, western and northern Europe of those crossing borders illegally who, needless to say, are not controlled for the possibility of carrying this and other illnesses.

    Here in Austria, the national government has implemented strict border controls and has just today mandated that ALL indoor gatherings of more than 100 persons and outdoor gatherings of more than 500 persons are forbidden until at least April. Whilst this will not affect many of our village churches and chapels (where, very sadly, Sunday Mass attendance is usually less than the 100 person limit), I fear that it will indeed have an impact on Masses celebrated at our larger town and city churches. In this regard, Archbishop Gadecki’s idea is spot on.

  6. Suburbanbanshee says:

    And if you can’t go out, you can still do a spiritual communion, and you can still watch EWTN and other online Masses. Make it a retreat as well as a quarantine, and find peace.

  7. The Masked Chicken says:

    I suspect the reason that China is showing a reduction in Covid-19 cases is not because of their quarantine measures, but that enough people have been infected and recovered (thereby being not contagious any longer and immune) that the population has developed herd immunity. With an R0 of 3, the vaccination rate (or, equivalently, recovery rate) has to be 1-(1/R0) x 100% = 67%.

    Now, the Lombardy region on Italy has 35% of people over 60 (because of the post-WWII baby boom), so if the old people just stay home and the young people (65% of the population) carry on and get infected and recover, the disease spread should stop, I think.

    My point is that young people below 50 should be encouraged to go to Mass and other events, while old people stay at home and have Communion brought to them.

    My college is making plans to go to complete tele-courses, next week (Harvard and some other large universities are doing the same), and shut down operations. I think this is nuts. The young people will survive. It is the professors who are at risk. Let the young people go to school, go to Mass, get infected and recover. It is older people who need to stay home.

    Unfortunately, it seems that it is the younger people who are freaking out and raiding stores, etc. If the younger people focused on taking care of the older people (as they should) this virus would roll over the population like any other and become just a seasonal nightmare, like the flu or common cold, but people are freaking out.

    Of course, I could be wrong. I wish we had a couple dozen parallel universes to test these various scenarios on. Not that I wish people in other universes to die, mind you, but it is hard to replicate human behavior on a computer or in a Petri dish.

    The Chicken

  8. JGavin says:

    Bring back private Masses. The sacrifice is offered with or without a congregation.

  9. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Please pray for my wife Catherine She is in a residential facility because of alzheimer’s. they’ve banned all visits except medical personnel.

  10. Kathleen10 says:

    God bless Catherine, and Gregg, and all those affected by this mysterious virus. Please Lord, take home the souls who have been lost to it. Help us all to stay calm and think clearly, amen.
    Notre Dame burns. Pachamama shows up. First commandment broken. Kung Flu appears.

  11. prairiecatholic88 says:

    Fr. Z, where would one find the “Missa pro vitanda mortalitate vel tempore pestilientiae” in the Missale Romanum? Or is that only reserved for bishops (only found in the Pontificale)? I found the “Tempore Mortalitatis” in the back of the Missal in the section on Votive Masses (#23). I ask as a newly-minted MC at my diocesan parish. We also have the TLM here on Sundays and holy days.

  12. Dan says:

    “ The young people will survive. It is the professors who are at risk. ”
    Has the masked chicken just presented us with a biological solution to the crisis in our (c)atholic colleges?

  13. tzabiega says:

    There are interesting caveats from this statement. It was not just any bishop. Archbishop Gadecki is the President of the Polish Council of Bishops and his statement was part of a letter to the laity, but also addressed to his fellow Polish bishops, so it is a call for this to be the policy throughout Poland. It is interesting because the Archbishop responded to a request by the Vice Mayor of Poznan to decrease the amount of the Masses. Gadecki also stated that: “Hospitals treat diseases of the body, while the service that churches provide includes treating diseases of the soul. That is why it is impossible to imagine that we would not be praying in our churches.” He finishes his statement with this following call for prayer: “Let us pray for the health of the sick and the intention of the physicians, medical personnel, and all services who are working to stop the spread of the virus. We pray for the epidemic to be extinguished. In accordance with the tradition of the Church, I especially encourage praying the following supplication:

    Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, Have Mercy on us.

    From air, hunger, fire, and war
    Save us o Lord!

    From sudden and unexpected death
    Shield us o Lord!

    We sinners ask You God,
    Hear us o Lord! ”

    This is my own translation of the statement from Polish.

  14. Charivari Rob says:

    No. ADD MASSES! The crowd at each will be smaller.

    ummm… I suppose that there might be such a thing somewhere as an underworked priest. I doubt there are many, though. There are, however, too many places with priests spread far too thin, already offerring several Masses in several churches on a (Saturday night and) Sunday. Telling them to “do more” mostly adds to their problems and doesn’t really do much to flatten the virus curve.

    [Cancel a pointless meeting.]

  15. Pingback: VVEDNESDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

  16. Random Friar says:

    Would one be able to add the prayers of a Mass in times of Plague to a Sunday Mass in Lent as a kind of commemoration?

  17. Fr_Andrew says:

    Random Friar, no, at least not in the 1960 rubrics. A bishop could order an extra prayer be added at the Collect, Secret and Postcommunion, but this is only said on III-class and IV-class days. Sundays being always I- or II-class days one never adds the oratio imperata on Sunday.

    A bishop must order these prayers for a priest to add them on a III-class day. A priest could add one extra votive prayer on any IV-class day on his own initiative.

  18. Andreas says:

    The Masked Chicken wrote, “I suspect the reason that China is showing a reduction in Covid-19 cases is not because of their quarantine measures, but that enough people have been infected and recovered (thereby being not contagious any longer and immune) that the population has developed herd immunity”.

    An interesting point and one can hope that this may be the case. However, with regard to COVID-19 and to the best of my knowledge, a “neutralising immunity after infection” has as yet not been an identified (World Health Organization, 2020; Retrieved March 2020). Indeed, a recent study (Lan, Zu and Ye, 2020) suggests that those who have recovered from COVID-19 may still carry the virus, thus potentially making them still able to transmit the disease (Ref: Lan, L., Xu, D., and Ye, G. (2020). Positive RT-PCR Test Results in Patients Recovered From COVID-19. Journal of the American Medical Association, Research Letter., Retrieved 12 March, 2020). Granted, this study was not powerful (N=4) and more must be done to replicate and expand on this aspect of COVIR-19 research.

    Still, Chicken is correct; younger folks exhibiting symptoms of this and any illness should, in general, keep a distance from their elders and all those with weakened immunity.

  19. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear Andreas,

    An updated study done outside of China found that recovered people do not pass on the virus:

    The Chicken

  20. The Masked Chicken says:

    If tele-teaching works, this could be the end of higher education as we know it :(
    Welcome to Sci-fi University.

    The Chicken

  21. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Gregg – you both have our prayers, I’m sure!

  22. Charivari Rob says:

    Bitter? Not at all.
    Just talking about Masses for Sunday obligation. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a priest who schedules meetings (pointless or otherwise) on Saturday night or Sunday.
    Just as you generally don’t post new blog stuff on Saturday night or Sunday, they’re not holding meetings – you and they are offering Masses, hearing confessions, saying their office, maybe doing baptisms, maybe talk with churchgoers, and otherwise trying to keep the day as the Sabbath, and doing that in three or four places (assuming they don’t also have to start the furnace, reset the circuit breaker, turn on the lights, release someone trapped in the broken-again elevator, etc…)
    I’m not sure how widespread or how hard a line, but don’t some places also have general guidelines/maximums on how many Masses a day priests should say? It’s vital for the priests’ well-being. Otherwise they’d be run ragged – reminds people (and bishops) to look a little beyond themselves and the “we have ALWAYS had the ____(time) Mass here and that must NEVER change!” mentality and stop treating priests as bottomless sacramental pez dispensers.
    Adding more Masses to create smaller assemblies would cause/exacerbate more problems than it would solve.

    [Perhaps you might let priests make these determinations.]

  23. bwfackler says:

    We in Slovakia, the country immediately to the south from Poland, had all masses and all public religious services cancelled for 2 weeks by order of the government. Our priests and bishops are only offering us services streaming online.

  24. mamajen says:

    My diocese just issued some GREAT guidelines. So far our masses are not limited in any way…but governor is starting to limit large gatherings so we will see. Sadly few parishes have large numbers but mine is usually packed with four weekend masses.

    They are asking janitorial staff to wipe down surfaces and books after each mass…that seems labor-intensive but addresses my previous concern. They also have asked people to stop “non-liturgical” practices of hand-holding, priest blessing non-communicants with hand on head. Recommend eliminating sign of peace. No Precious Blood distribution. Communion on tongue NOT banned, but only priest may distribute that way.

    Reminder that sick have no obligation and a dispensation for those most at risk.

    Really pleasantly surprised at the level-headed response and the respect for those who receive on the tongue.

  25. dcntodd says:

    Father Z: [Perhaps you might let priests make these determinations.] Is that up to the priest to determine or is it the decision of the bishop?

  26. khouri says:

    Fr. Z, great idea of you live in one of those rare places where a good shepherd is bishop and Masses continue. If like most of us happen to live in dioceses where bad shepherds rule there are no public Masses.
    The most heartbreaking thing is to offer Mass in a totally empty church, knowing that people are longing for the Mass. Bishops after the heart of the world will have much to answer for on the Last Day. Misguided gutless wonders. God uphold and strengthen the bishops who are letting priests offer public Masses.

  27. khouri says:

    Why are not more bishops following the example of the good Bishop Olson of Ft Worth allowing the distribution of Holy Communion with precautions?

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