Bouncy-happy-go-lucky-effervescent-unthinking-clowns tell me to just have Mass on the steps facing the lower parking lot. Um… No. And hell no.
The lower parking lot is across a busy state road where it is normal to speed well over twice the speed limit. On one side is a blind hill and on the other side a blind curve. At that speed there would be little chance for people to stop politely for children continuously crossing the road to go to the bathroom during the Mass. They are going to trust that they are safe, because it’s at Mass, and people are going to respect their lives during Mass, right? No. It’s a blind hill and a blind curve. So, no. And hell no. I’m not going to be a “parking lot priest” just to look up-to-date.
For that matter, I’m not going to do baptisms with a super-soaker squirt gun. I’m not going to wear gloves to administer the Most Sacred Body of Christ in Holy Communion. What I’m going to do is offer the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the altar in the sanctuary of the church in a reverent, respectful manner. I challenge any politician to put my parishioners’ children at mortal risk. I will defend them.
What we’re doing and what we have been doing regardless of the religious discrimination of anti-Constitution bully Governor Cooper of North Carolina is to have our normal Mass schedule in the normal way. Yes. Normal confessions in the Confessional. At Holy Redeemer we have the old draped screen style of confessional with no possibility of face to face. Yes.
I do tell people these things:
- It’s probably imprudent for you to come to Mass
- It’s probably dangerous for you to come to Mass
- If you’re at least as old as I am, you should probably stay home and I’ll bring Holy Communion to you
I also tell people these things:
- All I’m doing is saying Mass with the doors of the church unlocked
- I’m not requesting that anyone come
- The bishop still grants a dispensation from the obligation to go to Mass on Sunday (or the vigil)
I also tell people these things:
- I’m not a minister of justice of the state, whether by way of the executive or judiciary branches of government, so I’m not going to throw a tantrum and try to police any situation from the altar during Mass, complaining about non-compliance of some imagined infraction by some tender snowflake. Thus, families are NOT requested to social-distance (that’s a verb now, I guess). But someone might throw a fit about that. I’m not going to intervene on the part of the tender snowflake. That’s not even the policy of the State. I’m just going to quietly offer Holy Mass…
A few things also need to be insisted upon:
- The free exercise of religion is not for a politician to give us, it is for us to ensure that any tyrant governor does not ration that which is unalienable because given by God.
- Our freedom of speech is not for a politician to give us, it is for us to ensure that any tyrant governor does not ration that which is unalienable because given by God.
- Our freedom of assembly is not for a politician to give us, it is for us to ensure that any tyrant governor does not ration that which is unalienable because given by God.
- Our freedom to defend the innocent from unjust aggression is not for a politician to give us, it is for us to ensure that any tyrant governor does not ration that which is unalienable because given by God.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
In regard to the free exercise of religion, let me be clear. This isn’t about the fake “separation of Church and State”, which is another way of saying that all believers must be discriminated against for daring to live in the confines of the State. The free exercise of religion clause in the Constitution is all about the government (which should be of, by and for the people) not interfering with religion in any way. This is not only about freedom of worship, some rituals of whatever group in whatever church building or otherwise. The free exercise of religion is also about following a properly informed conscience (by natural law and divine revelation) in the public square, also in politics. To just say it: politicians who are believers are to be free to express and act on their also religiously formed conscience in their public lives, also in the formulation of public laws. This is said with all things being equal, so that such a believing politician is not proselytizing, but is enhancing the proper implementation of the Constitution for all also based on natural law, for instance, for the right to life for the born and the unborn.
Governor Dictator tyrant Cooper cannot legislate criminal penalties for disobeying his “orders”. Legislation is done by… wait for it… the legislature. As judge Napolitanto said, all such cases will immediately be thrown out by any judge.
And just to repeat, again: Governor Cooper is flagrantly discriminatory against religion. Others can be open up to 50% of the Fire Marshal’s stated maximum capacity of a building, but even a megachurch with a capacity in the thousands can only have a preacher-man and nine others. This makes me skeptical about all this. This is about tyranny and hateful discrimination.
We have a constitutional republic and the rule of law, not a democracy styled as that in which tyrants do whatever the hell they want to smash people down.
You know, I wonder if – even if I haven’t been charged with a criminal misdemeanor or felonies upon repeated “infractions” – I wonder if I have standing to haul Governor Cooper before the Department of Justice to end his intimidation and threats of imprisonment.
UPDATE: I also add one more point to any who are gathered at Holy Mass: In the trajectory of history, going back centuries and millennia, whenever a political platform or tyrant or emperor or otherwise dictator outlaws God in their politics and in their state, what follows is the oppression of the free exercise of religion in every way, and there is a blood bath even on the level of hundreds of millions. It’s all about raw power cut off from justice, cut off from respect for others, cut off from love, cut off from God. What follows, again, is murder, genocide, on a massive scale. If someone gets sick or dies because of coming to Mass, that’s their decision to be martyrs to witness to essential nature of the free exercise of religion. I would mourn, terribly, but this is the fallen human world we live in and this is how we can deal with it in witness to Jesus. I’m hoping no one will get either sick or die. Also, on the category of “essential” being taken away by governors or as granted by the president, I don’t buy it. What government can grant on a whim can be taken away on a whim. The free exercise of religion, as the Constitution of, for, and by the people btw, is essential not because of any government or politician but because the free exercise of religion is an unalienable right granted by almighty God. I don’t care what governors or presidents do about this one way or the other. I’m going to carry on with the free exercise of religion against all threats of imprisonment on the one hand, or the enjoyment of the president backing us up in his own I’m sure sincere way, wanting to just back up the Constitution.
UPDATE: Father Gordon MacRae, in having all the above read to him, gave me this statement to add here. It’s incisive, and full of wisdom, summing it all up:
- “Pope Francis says that “prudence and obedience” to civil authority are necessary. When that prudence and obedience are on a collision course, as they are now, then obedience to a Higher Authority is more necessary.” — Father Gordon MacRae