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Opinion: Mask Mandates, Sic et Non

Too many accept the mask mandates and don’t consider the alternatives because we’re running scared. We have an almost idolatrous trust in the medical-industrial complex.

(Image: Usman Yousaf/Unsplash.com)

Are mask mandates reasonable and necessary, or are they dangerous and even immoral? This essay is, in part, a response to comments made to an earlier piece, titled “The Pandemic and the Contraceptive Mentality” (Aug 17, 2021). I suggested that the contraceptive mentality induces the same fear and entitlement behavior patterns we are experiencing in response to the pandemic. Some critics disagree and contend that I’m insensitive to the gravity of the COVID threat.

But people are dominated by and living in fear. Many are behaving as though their hysteria is virtuous. Church leaders feed the frenzy by promoting government mandates without question. The delirium is demonic. Hence, the need for another perspective.

The COVID pandemic has taken many lives. But to keep things in perspective, not as many as the number of annual abortions. With constantly changing medical narratives, it is hard to deny there have been good reasons to question the motives of government authorities and medical professionals. Is the spread of the disease inevitable, and are vaccines effective and safe? Are face masks and so-called social distancing effective, practical, and necessary? What are the risks by population groups? Do toddlers and school children benefit from face masks? Are the motives of the pharmaceutical companies free from crass profiteering? Are government health authorities competent? Are health authorities immune from the massive bureaucratic, leadership, intelligence, and technical errors that led to the Afghanistan debacle?

The classical moral theology of the Catholic Church teaches that the determinants of a moral act are threefold: object, circumstances, and intention. If any of these are judged immoral, the action is rendered illicit. Using face masks is not intrinsically evil. The object of the act (if it works) is to prevent infection. (Unlike contraception that obstructs healthy human fertility, a face mask aims to prevent disease by reducing the aerosol spray of contagion.) The intention of the face mask mandate is presumably good: the health of individuals and society at large.

But face masks also have physical, emotional, and relational effects. We have the right to consider the many circumstances that apply to ourselves and our children. Circumstances — particulars known to individuals — may render the action evil according to the evaluation, in conscience, of an individual Catholic. Seeking advice from reliable and authoritative sources is crucial in these knotty questions. There must be room for passionate debate. But ultimately, prudence is a virtue an individual cannot delegate. Church and civil authorities may disagree as to prudential judgments. But Church and civil authorities should respect the inviolability of a sincere conscience that makes them.

We’re generally happy when a dental hygienist wears a mask and uses latex gloves when polishing teeth. There is no need for a government rule, just common sense (perhaps prodded by medical protocols). But that’s no guarantee we would be safe from a respiratory infection if the hygienist were ill and contagious. Masks may be defective, unreliable, ill-fitting, or counter-productive. When priests visit the sick in the hospital where this a significant danger of infectious diseases, he often wears a gown and dons a mask. He makes sure he disinfects his hand before dipping into the holy oils. Common sense usually works. But a tiny mistake may result in illness.

The reasonableness of mandating masks depends on the circumstances. Do they effectively reduce the spread of infection? What are the infection risks by age groups and medical pathologies within a population? Do face masks harm those with patterns of physical and psychological conditions? Does the long-term use of face masks have physical, emotional, and developmental effects that are dangerous? Is the infection severe enough to warrant widespread mandates?

We all know people sickened and killed by the COVID infection (primarily elderly and “at-risk” resulting from pre-existing conditions). But how many people died from other causes because they canceled routine medical appointments to remain in isolation? How many children and toddlers were/are at risk? How many youngsters (and young adults) committed suicide as a result of COVID mandates? Some pediatric sections in hospitals are overcrowded with psychiatric cases. Why the spike? The pain of isolation is particularly unbearable for the young.

Government officials grant exemptions to their face mask mandates. Doctor Fauci does not insist upon face masks when it comes to sex. In April 2020, Vanity Fair asked him: “If you’re swiping on a dating app like Tinder, or Bumble, or Grindr, and you match with someone that you think is hot, and you’re just kind of like, ‘Maybe it’s fine if this one stranger comes over.’ What do you say to that person?” Fauci responded: “You know, that’s tough.” [Really?] He added, while it’s possible to carefully plan a hookup during the pandemic, people should recognize that the risks they’re opening themselves — and others — up to.

(So it seems we must consult Fauci, the Wizard of Oz of the pandemic, to receive all face mask exemptions.)

But if we are looking for absolute peace and security, why not propose a government program to mandate NASA spacesuits? Countless people could have avoided infection if the government issued them spacesuits manufactured at warp speed. Isn’t one human life worth the cost? Doctor Fauci — the condom advocate during the 1980s AIDS crisis — would probably approve of spacesuit protection. Space wear provides the ultimate in safe sex!

Of course, a person with common sense would argue that while spacesuits would be safer than face masks, there is a trade-off: expense, practicality, and social interaction. Who can jog in a spacesuit? Maybe a spacesuit is desirable for those who have the means and eccentricities. But most would agree the government should not mandate space fashions unless we’re taking a joy ride on Jeff Bezos’ spaceship.

There are also commonsense trade-off factors associated with face masks. For the most part, why not trust us to make our independent calculations? But too many accept the mandates and don’t consider the alternatives because we’re running scared. We have an almost idolatrous trust in the medical-industrial complex.

Those in the medical profession are part of an insular club similar to that of the clergy. Medical professionals and clerics share the same hubris: We easily violate the rights of the people we serve because of our institutional prejudices and smug judgments. It is clericalism when priests, bishops, and popes mandate prudential judgments and muzzle disagreement (e.g., immigration, climate change, vaccination policies). Doctors and government officials commonly suffer from the same elitist mentality. But ordinary people have a right to apply concrete Christian principles to the circumstances of their lives in conscience.

If we surrender our liberties to government and medical authorities with one-size-fits-all mandates, it won’t end well. In our timid and risk-averse culture, we hear the distant sound of jackboots. So widespread pushback on face mask mandates — without prejudice to those who choose to wear face masks — may help guard against further encroachment on our freedom of conscience and civil liberties.


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About Father Jerry J. Pokorsky 15 Articles
Father Jerry J. Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington. He is pastor of St. Catherine of Siena parish in Great Falls, Virginia.. He holds a Master of Divinity degree as well as a master’s degree in moral theology.

85 Comments

  1. Excellent this sounds like leadership!
    The problem of the jackboots does remain however
    But if the church we to be unified (i know, I know its a dream) in opposing mask mandates with recourse to her full resources it could be overcome
    Wait a while longer and it will be too late and we can go back to masks and endless bickering and infighting if not attending the mass or any sacrament

  2. A government that can mandate that you submit to a vaccine or masking for “the public good” can also mandate that you submit to an abortion or sterilization for “the public good.” Don’t doubt me – especially in light of who’s running government these days.

    • Yes, and we see a historical precedent for just that with the eugenics movement here in the States during the early 20th century.

  3. Amen! Regarding effectiveness of the mainstream medical advise, Hawaii, a state with the strictest mask mandates for about a year and won’t allow people to visit unless they have been vaccinated or quarantine for two weeks, is currently experiencing triple the amounts of COVID cases than they did last year this time. They also have one of the highest vaccination rates.
    Regarding the morbidity of COVID, ( why does my spell checker capitalize this word?), it’s on par with a bad flue season, however abortion has a morbidity rate of almost 100%, and is 100% in states that allow botched abortion remediation.
    Take a stand and sign the declaration for life pledge at Declaration-for-life.org

    • COVID is capitalized because it is an anagram “”coronavirus disease of 2019.” The CO, VI, and DI within that phrase were brought together to create COVID”

  4. Viruses are different than germs that the surgeon is fighting, which I guess are bacterial?

    Except for keeping an infected droplet from a sneeze I’m not sure most of them do much good. What’s going to happen to the masks if we have a true cold and flu season this year with coughing and sneezing?

    Schumer is complaining about the fake vaccine cards and why don’t people take the free vaccine? These shots, which are not vaccines, are not free; every debt eventually must be paid. (we were taught this on Calvary).

  5. I did work at several hundred wastewater treatment plants with some highly technical people for over 30 years and never saw masks. For me, the rule has always been scrupulous hands and face hygiene. Never touch your face or eat unless you’re certain your hands are clean. This isn’t easy and takes diligent practice. Masks can be detrimental when people assume masks relieve them of hands and face hygiene, as more than a few do.

  6. Finally!! A priest who says what it is. In the first week of the pandemic shut down, I was on zoom with friends. Regarding covid, one friend remarked, ” well, you know they HAD to shut it down.” When I replied ” Did they?” You could hear crickets from my friends.I explained to them just what Father has said here. As he remarks , Covid is not the only way to die, and people are dying or being injured in droves from the isolation and its harmful associate effects, including masking for some. Suicide and other psychic issues, the effects of various addictions to numb isolation, drug overdose.Sadly, all come to fruition. Humans are SOCIAL beings. ” It is not good for man to be alone.” My friends have since told me, “you were right the whole time.” I get no satisfaction from that. The Old Baltimore Catechism explains (question 7?) that the soul is of more importance than the body. But you would never know it from how our church leaders scurried to obey the secular authorities to shut down, no questions asked. In many states and nations, churches remain under the government’s thumb. Even here they still regulate attendance numbers and singing. Why is this minutiae their business? While some circumspect behavior was called for and some measures needed to be taken to limit contamination, shut downs and isolation was NEVER the correct answer. There was nothing to prevent the aged and immuno-compromised from avoiding crowd settings if they so wished. Why then did those rules have to apply to those not in those categories? Even now our pastor, a lovely man, “asks” those of us in ministry to continue to wear masks. “As a good example”, it is said. To whom? Those who have resolutely refused to vaccinate themselves? Those who are already wearing masks? At some point we need to move on from the hysteria and let the chips fall where they may.

  7. As someone who wore all manner of respirators for a living in IDLH (immediately dangerous to life and health) environments to include nuclear, biological and chemical, let me point out the masks worn by most folk (we still lack a supply of certified N95/N99 respirators or proper training in their use) are as effective against a virus as they are against smoke, and two years ago, anyone wearing these currently available masks (which plainly state on box that they offer no protection against biologicals) while in a hazmat environment would have been subject to fines and shutdown by OSHA. The CDC originally stuck with what we know from decades, and then changed course, likely to prevent showing the populace that we really had nothing to help them.

    Will point out also in my area where we have had officially over 1:4 infected, and given the crash in infections last Jan., more like 1:2 real world, the town of 16,000 with mask mandate with no crowded interior hall apts, only a few shuttle buses as for “mass transit” and mostly houses for dwellings had 2/3rds of all infections in the no-mandate county of 40,000 population.

    Will also point out my state is now at nearly 10% of (only) officially documented new cases are “rare” breakthrough cases and still climbing, and of those breakthrough cases, hospitalizations and deaths are at least every bit as bad as those for unvaccinated.

  8. “insular club” and “elitist mentality” Let’s add “smug” in there somewhere. Fr. Pokorsky, it’s always with heartfelt pleasure that I look forward to reading your opinion pieces. Wish I could be your parishioner. It’s distressing to see the Church in America dividing into diocesan satrapys over Holy Communion and Covid, ironically, each for what appears to me to be polar opposite frames of judgment: mistaking in each case proper means and ends.

  9. Something is disturbing me on a deep level as I read this article. On the face of it, for many reasons it seems one of the most poorly thought out I have read here. Yes it gets an enthusiastic reception from the like minded.

    Some thoughts that immediately arise:

    “But people are dominated by and living in fear.”
    There are legitimate reason to fear the virus however fear should be proportional and rational.
    “Church leaders feed the frenzy by promoting government mandates without question.”
    This is an example of the use of emotive language to place an otherwise legitimate response for reasons not contemplated in the article, into the category of the unreasonable for the purpose of the authors agenda.
    Co operation with strategies to slow the spread of the virus are essential for the success of those strategies. Slowing the spread avoids overwhelming hospitals and associated services essential for the response to the virus while maintaining a ‘normal’ service and attending to ‘normal’ demands.

    I won’t bother with any more examples however the examples are many that point to what amounts to a very slanted, ill conceived narrative.
    One can tell I disagree with the Authors perspective.

    There is another dimension to my discomfort.
    There seems to be a radical discontinuity with the attitude expressed in relationship to Civic cooperation arguably for the common good, and the attitude expressed by Father Pokorsky in his letter to his Parishioners:

    [Quote]
    Here are our goals:
    * That your children know, love and serve Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
    * That in their tender early years, they are properly formed in the Catholic faith preparing them to live virtuous lives and enter into heavenly glory.
    * That your children may be the instruments of God to bring their entire family closer to Christ and His Church.
    The details, of course, include the hard work of getting to class, memorizing prayers, studying the catechism and encountering Jesus in the sacraments. We need you to commit to the following:
    * Attend Mass every Sunday and each Holy Day of Obligation with your children.
    * Make sure your children arrive to class prepared and on time each week and remain for the entire class period. Please email or call the Office of Religious Education if your child will miss class.
    * Work with your children to complete homework assignments (or check that homework is complete and accurate). Please let the catechist know if you have questions or difficulty.
    * Guide your children in special extracurricular assignments (e.g. reports, celebration of liturgical seasons, and service projects).
    * Help your children with memorization of prayers. (Please see the booklet of “Basic Catholic Prayers and Lists” for First through Eighth Grades given to all children and available on this website.)

    One of the most painful situations we encounter with many children is the failure of parents to bring them to Mass on Sundays.  Of course, we assure the children that when parents fail them, they are not to blame.  Yet it is truly heartbreaking to learn that the children really worry about whether their parents are in the state of grace after missing Mass without a sufficient reason.  We are very careful in these matters, but we cannot compromise the truth of the serious obligation to abide by the Third Commandment.  So, if you have a pattern of missing Mass, we hope this note provokes serious soul-searching. [End Quote]

    What are the questions this dichotomy raise?…. for the Practicing Catholic?
    For the non Catholic witnessing this dichotomy and thinking through these issues?

    And I find myself asking this question; What is the nature of Fr Pokorsky’s stance, primarily faith based or based on a political stance?

  10. I’m sick of the argument about how many people died of other things because of lockdowns and other measures. It it entirely spurious. Yes, some people died of other things during lockdowns and some of them might not have died in normal times if they had gone to their appointments. But these are not normal times and that is not the comparison that matters. What matters is, first, how many people would have died of COVID if none of the health measures had been put in place, and, second, how many people would have died of other things when the hospital system was overwhelmed with COVID patients? Some people may have died of other things because of the lockdowns, but without them, more people would have died of COVID AND more people would have died of other things because even fewer people and places would have been available to care for them.

    The spacesuit argument is similarly spurious. Yes, with extreme measures it is possible to be safer against specific threats. But that safety would come at the expense of reduced productivity which would create other threats. Poverty is a great killer. So we take risks for the sake of prosperity. These risks are reasonable because they forestall the greater risks of poverty. And because these risks are complicated, and there is a great moral hazard when, for instance, employers make them for employees, we entrust them to governments. Governments don’t always get them right either, but they are the best placed to make the decisions that need to be made to strike the right balance.

    Why not let people make these decisions for themselves? Because, in the first place, people’s behavior affects the safety of other people, and some people are callous and stupid. Why not let people decide which side of the road to drive on, at what speed, and whether to yield at an intersection? We don’t let people make their own road safety decisions and we shouldn’t let people make their own COVID safety decisions. Other lives are at stake.

    And, in the second place, people often don’t have the information they need to make the best decisions. Even if we were all perfectly wise and perfectly charitable, we would still not have perfect information. That is why we have fire alarms, so that we know to get out of a burning building before we see the flames for ourselves. For actions which don’t affect others and for which we have adequate information, of course we should be free to choose what we do. But this is not one of those cases.

    The moral theology of the Church requires an informed conscience. Part of that has always involved trusting those who are better informed than we are (or why should anyone submit themselves to the authority of the church on any moral question?). Furthermore, it has always stressed our responsibility to others, and our obligation to submit to civil as well as ecclesiastical authority unless to do so would lead us into sin. Nowhere does it suggest that we have to right to make up our own minds about behavior that can be dangerous to the health of others.

    • Hello Mark, I just have one question. Which medical and scientific advice and information should inform our conscience?
      Hundreds of doctors, scientists, and researchers are completely opposed to mask and vaccine mandates, shut-downs, and social distancing. However the majority of society never hears from them because the mainstream media cancels them shortly after their waves of truth are made.

    • Your analysis, unless I missed it, did not mention the mental damage done to our children and elderly during these lockdowns.

      It’s a burden to some of us older folk who can’t get enough air with a mask on, especially those of us who have to do physical labor. Based on the numbers of noses in plain site during masking times at Mass, it’s not an uncommon problem.

      • Again you would have to look at the mental damage done to children and elderly by an unrestrained pandemic that shut down hospitals, and most probably significant parts of the supply chain, and killed millions more people. Natural disasters cause mental and physical harm to people of all ages, but children and the elderly are the most vulnerable. COVID is a natural disaster, like a fire or a flood. No one would suggest that people stay in the path of a raging forest fire or rising floodwaters to avoid the trauma of leaving home and moving to a shelter. Such measures are traumatic for children and the elderly, but less so than being burned or drowned. Life often give only the choice of the lesser of two evils. That is certainly true of COVID. Railing against the trauma caused by the lesser evil of masking, distancing, and a jab in the arm is to ignore the far greater trauma avoided by taking the best public health advice available.

        • “COVID is a natural disaster, like a fire or a flood.”

          Natural? Gain-of-function engineering is not “natural.”

          You’d make a good little concentration camp guard. “The experts say that you are a danger to others! You must stay here! You must wear masks! You must obey!”

        • The pandemic didn’t shut down hospitals, it was politicians overreacting to the pandemic that shut everything down. They seized the opportunity to control the populace, and said populace dutifully did whatever the big brother wanted according to the experts. That was and currently is the real natural disaster.

      • How heartless and ignorant are the American people?
        Speaking of damage to children:
        https://www.theage.com.au/national/how-does-the-delta-variant-of-covid-19-affect-children-20210826-p58m1i.html

        Does this variant pose a greater risk to children? The anecdotes are scary: children in hospital with COVID-19 in the US reached an all-time high of 1900 last week, although that’s only a tiny fraction of the 11,521 Americans admitted to hospital every week. Nearly one in five new infections in the US is now in children. Hospitals in several US states report they are running out of paediatric intensive-care beds.

  11. Thank you for for the straightforward truth. I completely agree with you and only wish the truth and supporting data would be out there on mainstream media. However, in this godless culture, the only information allowed is the narrative we are being spoon fed. Lord, subdue your enemies. 1Chr17:10.

  12. Just finished watching the film, “A Hidden Life.” The parallels between Nazi Germany and today’s world are frighteningly similar when it comes to conscientious objection. Even the Church’s role today with some bishops telling their priests not to respect conscience when it comes to taking the vaccine are disgustingly similar to how the Church in Germany “accompanied” the Nazis.

  13. If I can save one person’s life by wearing a face mask, I will gladly do it. The only liberty I give up by wearing a face mask is the liberty to spit. Wearing a face mask is a small sacrifice in the effort to minimize the affects of this pandemic. I don’t understand why we cannot work together to minimize the deaths this pandemic is creating. Comparing the number of covid deaths to the number of abortion deaths is cold. I would hate to have to ask anti-maskers to go out of their way to feed me or clothe me or grieve with me or help protect me from a disease—-I don’t know where their heart is.

  14. Noting that an across-the-board mask mandate is not yet quite as abusive as lockdown, I propose two other actions, by our Congress, in the interests of the common good and across-the-board uniformity.

    First, why not replace the elitist and cushy Congressional health care insurance program by signing-up the membership in Obamacare? And, second, why not trim down the lucrative Congressional pension system to better fit, uniformly, with the endangered pension packages available to Joe Sixpack on the Street?

    Both provisions could be advanced as cost-offsetting amendments to the proposed $3.5 Trillion-dollar so-called COVID “human infrastructure” bill.

  15. Cardinal Robert Sarah:

    “Nowadays Western societies reject death, traumatized by the pain and grieving that accompany it. Modern man would like to be immortal. This denial of the great passage leads to a culture of death that permeates social relations as a whole. Postmodern civilization denies death, causes it, and paradoxically unceasingly exalts it. The assassination of God allows death to keep prowling all the time, because hope no longer dwells within the horizon of men.”

    (The Power of Silence, p. 182)

    • Thnk you for posting that, Joel.

      The ones defending the vaccine and mask mandates probably also think the Christian martyrs through the years were real chumps not to just give in and do what they were told, because after all death is absolutely the very worst thing that can happen to anybody.

      • You’re assuming a lot, aren’t you? It’s one thing to die for the faith, and another, to die unnecessarily for lack of caution and public health measures.

      • Leslie
        AUGUST 26, 2021 AT 10:08 AM
        [The ones defending the vaccine and mask mandates probably also think the Christian martyrs through the years were real chumps not to just give in and do what they were told, because after all death is absolutely the very worst thing that can happen to anybody.]

        How on earth do you conflate the two?
        So you Leslie, in holding the position you do, imply that you stand with and choose as the Martyrs choose while those who defend the vaccine and mask mandates ‘probably’ walk away from following Jesus to avoid martyrdom??
        Such a lofty perch, by implication, you drag yourself and your perspective to while, in the manner you express yourself, look down on those who do not share your opinion.

    • “Solitude and silence can never be separated from the call to unceasing prayer. If solitude were primarily an escape from a busy joy, and silence primarily an escape from a noisy milieu, they could easily become very self-centered forms of asceticism. But solitude and silence are for prayer. The Desert Fathers did not think of solitude as being alone, but as being alone with God. They did not think of silence as not speaking but as listening to God. Solitude and silence are the context within which prayer is practiced.”
      Henry Nouwen
      https://www.amazon.com/Way-Heart-Connecting-Through-Silence/dp/0345463358/ref=as_li_ss_tl?keywords=nouwen+way+of+the+heart&qid=1570503892&s=books&sr=1-1&linkCode=sl1&tag=encounterings-20&linkId=3174cd81e9e5e014264f4913f99b2dec&language=en_US

  16. With all due respect, Father but did you THINK about the situation we are in before you wrote this? Perhaps you had a deadline so had to write something! And this is it? We know nearly NOTHING about what we are up against. It is all uncharted territory. Your comment, “Does the long-term use of face masks have physical, emotional, and developmental effects that are dangerous?” What are you talking about? Such as statement is ludacris if not down right stupid! There is no doubt that wearing a mask helps to stop the spread of this dreaded disease. It many not prevent it but it does help. I wear a mask, not for myself but for others. I could not live with the fact that I may have given someone else this disease because I thought wearing one would give me emotional and developmental effects. Where did you get such language? I would really like to know. This is without a doubt the most unresearched, off-the-cuff and political motivated article I have ever read in the Catholic World Report. God is in charge, Father, not you or the government or the companies who make the drugs and masks to protect us. I would have expected something better from a priest!

  17. One thing I find with distressing regularity when I read comments regarding Covid: The ongoing smug self-righteousness of pro-maskers/ pro-vaxxers. So certain that wearing a mask will “save a life”, even though the disease is in fact highly survivable for most.They make blatant attacks on those who wish, after almost TWO YEARS of masking, to resume a normal life. As if this is a bizarre , unusual and outrageous request. Usually their expressions of horror are followed by attempts at shaming accusations of selfishness, Trumpism, and poor educational or intellectual ability. My final and most disturbing observation has been the most recent suggestion from the left, that I have seen on MANY online blogs in the public comment sections. That is, the suggestion by leftists that those who exercise their right to refuse the vaccination be denied treatment at a hospital should they fall ill, and effectively be left to die. I have to imagine that Jesus would be in extreme disapproval of that sentiment. I cannot recall another disease which has provoked this level of hysteria, mean-spiritedness and governmental control over our citizens. I do think a group effort was willingly entered into by most citizens at the outset,but as two weeks to flatten the curve has stretched into almost two years with no end in sight, with civil and religious rights abridged or suppressed, nerves are frayed and people are no longer willing to give up their rights, nor their jobs, for a real disease whose actual danger for the average citizen has been grossly exaggerated by the media. What an irony that the leftist mantra of “my body, my choice” only appears to apply to abortion. Evidently they want the right to allow the government to inject chemicals into your body over your objection. For the common good, naturally. Oh, the joys of the socialist nanny state.

    • In our great state of Michigan, the rule of law did not change as the pandemic unfolded and people were not dropping like flies on the streets, like they did in the Spanish flu. People driving in the wide open country, with their windows up and their masks pulled over their noses — the fear mongering was real, but then again people are like sheep.

      Basically, that took up most of the governor’s time, and on a daily basis she pushed people out in front of camera to support her many questioned decisions.

  18. In my view It’s about empathy rather than authoritarianism. It’s about co operation with efforts to slow the spread. All this posturing based on “freedom rights” and associated arguments forget that with freedom comes responsibility.

      • Another little box that is meant to frame me? Resulting from a consistent effort to misrepresent my distain for the narrative Mr Weigel propagates in his influence operation regarding Australian Catholics and media with respect to Cardinal Pell. How obvious it is for those of us who walk amongst the wounded that you in America have no idea…..and even less compassion in pursuit of Mr Weigel’s agenda! We have been there, done that Leslie, but it suits you to regurgitate.

    • Responsibility doesnt automatically mean jumping when some govt minion ( or leftist supporter) shouts jump. I think in fact ordinary people have done more than their share to help quell the pandemic. For many,they have born the burden of being forbidden to see family, socialize, eat out, worship at church and receive communion, obtain last rights or a burial, have a wedding or Baptism. Many even lost their jobs due to economic damage and unwise hysterical shut downs. Enduring this for almost two years is no small matter or minor inconvenience. Most people DO have empathy. What they do not have, after a period of cooperation yields no return to normal nor end in sight, is a desire to become a robot or Stepford wife taking orders. Seeing another perspective and placing a value on personal freedom and responsibility is dismissed out of hand as a lack of empathy and responsibility.Your remark proves that point. Shouting “responsibility” is an authoritarian’s way to maintain control by engendering false guilt. Today I drove an hour from home along with two friends to conduct business with someone. Upon arrival we 3 were all asked if we had been vaccinated (that answer was yes). Then we were asked to don masks anyway.Excuse: fear of the “new” Delta variant. It would appear that covid provides never ending excuses to control the behavior of others. Even those who have shown responsibility and empathy by inoculating themselves,and taking chances with what were experimental drugs.The excuse changes, the goal posts are moved, thus the effort to control does not end. What remains constant is the wish of the power brokers and the political left to remain in control of the decisions of others. I think many of us have reached our limit of cooperation. I am responsible for my own health. Period. I am NOT responsible for yours.

    • Empathy, right. You were quite the totalitarian bigot when it came to Cardinal Pell’s trial and imprisonment last year. Or did you think we all forgot about that?

      • Totalitarian bigot?
        Accusations, more often than not, say more about the accuser than the accused.

        Out of the woodwork they come
        drawing upon the past…..
        what on earth has this got to do
        with weather or not you wear a mask?

        Cheers mate 😉

        • “Accusations, more often than not, say more about the accuser than the accused.”

          Yep. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

          • True indeed, accusations, more often than not, say more about the accuser than the accused.
            Living by the sword, in this example ‘accusations’ and the ad hominem nature of an individuals response to another’s argument or contribution to debate.

            Your contribution Carl is interesting, somewhat puzzling, an raises a few questions in my mind.
            In my comments I go to some effort to avoid ad hominem arguments. Above I made the following statement which perhaps qualifies as accusation but was not aimed anyone in particular:

            Christopher Hallam
            AUGUST 26, 2021 AT 3:55 PM
            How heartless and ignorant are the American people?

            I also on one occasion named one of Leslie’s comments in another thread, spiteful and unnecessary.

            We also read countless statements of personal attack aimed at Pope Francis and others.
            So we have two contributors make a direct accusatory attack aimed at me:
            One stating “Those of us who read your posts know that you do not believe in the presumption of innocence,”
            The other stating I’m a totalitarian bigot.
            Then Carl you contribute as you have? The onus is on you to show me instances here of how my statement that you reflected back at me apples to me. There hav i ‘lived by’ the sword of accusations? Where have I attacked in an ad hominem fashion Leslie or Athanasius. I am of the firm opinion that your statement in this situation is unfortunate and misplaced as an editor. I make my statements and arguments in a robust and sometimes forceful manner and seemingly, you interpret this sustained endeavour as an attack of a personal nature.
            Is this a forum for mature debate or is it something else? And if it is for something else it begs the question what? Propaganda or an endeavour in support of faith, truth and reason pursued in a manner that conforms with our faith.
            I am mostly content with my contribution here in these discussions.
            I do not seek your approval however It seems the only way to avoid your disapproval is to aqueous and not express and enunciate a differing perspective.
            This does not bode well for the editorial future of these pages.

        • True, but in your case, your track record speaks for itself. We haven’t forgotten what you wrote and how you treated Cardinal Pell. Totalitarian bigot. If the proverbial shoe fits…

          • Ok Athanasius, let’s look at the word Totalitarian:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totalitarianism
            “Totalitarianism is a proposed concept used in academia and in politics to describe a form of government and political system that prohibits all opposition parties, outlaws individual opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. ”
            By this definition it would seem the general climate of this ongoing discussion, in how it has recently developed since Leslie’s, yours Athanasius, and Carls contribution in support, is somewhat Totalitarian.

            ( …and is what I have just said a personal attack on any of you or is it an analysis of the current debate? The decision is yours. I know my intent. )

        • Now Let us look at the word ‘bigot’ attributed to me directly by Athanasius:

          Definitions from Oxford Languages

          [a person who is obstinately or unreasonably attached to a belief, opinion, or faction, especially one who is prejudiced against or antagonistic towards a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group.
          “don’t let a few small-minded bigots destroy the good image of the city”]

          I do not wish to elaborate nor condemn but i will ask Anathasius to contemplate what he has said to me and why. I also ask Carl to think about why you support Athanasius in this statement he made and how it was made with no relevance to the topic at hand.
          I can understand you have a different position with respect to this discussion about the wearing of masks etc however it is apparent that this is something different……
          It is not above me to apologise when I see the need.

          • Also may I point out that this began in response to this comment of mine that seems reasonable enough to me in the context of the discussion and previous comments:

            Christopher Hallam
            AUGUST 26, 2021 AT 4:04 PM
            In my view It’s about empathy rather than authoritarianism. It’s about co operation with efforts to slow the spread. All this posturing based on “freedom rights” and associated arguments forget that with freedom comes responsibility.

        • Let’s look at the word ‘Catholic:
          Culturally speaking, it seems to be the case that a monoculture of ‘Catholic Church’ is what the comment section of this website is striving towards or is only comfortable with. Common ground is rarely sought after and differences are in the spotlight of consideration.
          This is a direct contradiction to the meaning of the word ‘Catholic’

          Catholic:

          /ˈkaθ(ə)lɪk/

          adjective
          including a wide variety of things; all-embracing.

          This observation is made with John 17:1–26 in my thinking, my motivation, my action and my prayer.
          The essential message of revelation is relationship.
          The nature of God ( and God’s creation )
          The nature of mankind, male and female.
          The nature of our relationship with God and in this light, the nature of our relationship with each other.

          The genius of Jesus is undoubtably his empathy. He modeled and personified ‘The Way’ for us to follow and this is what being a Catholic is to me above and beyond all else. What do we have in common that unites us?
          It is a very serious issue to allow that with which we disagree to divide us.

          So is our communion to become a monoculture or a catholic culture?

          • “Culturally speaking, it seems to be the case that a monoculture of ‘Catholic Church’ is what the comment section of this website is striving towards or is only comfortable with.”

            Are you always this condescending and dismissive, or only in the CWR comments? Truly curious. Because it’s both sad and a bit annoying.

  19. I know we’re all sinners, but why are the ordained religious so terrified of death? They have access to frequent reconciliation. They let the churches get closed, stopped visiting the sick, letting parishioners die without last rites, etc. If they truly believe that death will take them to God’s presence, why are they so scared? There have been some St. Damiens out there, but few and far between. My local church acts like Fort Knox if you need to deal with the front office. God bless those priests who have died serving their flocks, they were an example to all.

    • Carl E. Olson
      AUGUST 28, 2021 AT 8:07 PM; Two more accusations directed personally. Readers are now led to believe from the editor that I am condescending and dismissive. Hmm…
      So observers and the general readership, please note:
      Christopher Hallam –
      According to Leslie:
      doesn’t seem to believe in the presumption of innocence.
      According to Athanasius:
      Is quite the totalitarian bigot. (If the proverbial shoe fits…..)
      According to Carl:
      Am I always this condescending and dismissive, or only in the CWR comments?

      You know, I’m thinking it would have been better If I had avoided this process of seemingly unfolding entanglement, and put up with or ignored the initial provocative comments by Leslie and Athanasius. However personal attacks run contrary to rational arguments and are an effective strategy to de legitimise another’s contribution and de rail the conversation.
      So what is really going on here?
      I have said a few things that point towards what I think leading to my comment you Carl chosen to pick up on and follow through with.
      In this context and that which followed in a lateral line of communication from my comments and those who responded and the specific nature of these responses, my sentence re catholic monoculture is neither condescending nor dismissive but an observation of the dynamic that is unfolding from Leslies and Athanasius’s initial comments until now. This also applies to a frequent pattern in which I read both Leslie and Athanasius frame their replies and comments elsewhere in other discussions. So I stand by what i said, why I said it, and from the motivation I said it. If you find that sad so be it.

      It seems by implication Carl, that you approve of their style of argument being ad hominem in its application.
      I find this sad.

  20. Of course masks are medically useless and very harmful physically and psychologically. They knew that when they mandated them. They are nothing but a totem of your enslavement to the satanic state. Any Catholic defending them is doing the work of satan. Mark Shea is the worst of them all.

    I find it unbelievable that doctors, governments, and corporate executives cannot comprehend the concept of Antibody Dependent Enhancement (ADE) and that ADE is a consequence of the mRNA vaccines. It is the vaccine that is producing the wave of new infections in heavily vaccinated countries.

    The vaccine is the problem, not the solution. See this.

    Yet the incompetent authorities in Israel, US, Iceland and elsewhere think the solution is more vaccination and booster shots. How is it possible that Ed Bastian, the CEO of Delta Airlines, is so stupid that he cannot comprehend ADE?

    75% of Delta’s work force is vaccinated, but Bastian says the spread of infection requires “more work to be done.” So he is imposing a special $200 monthly surcharge on unvaccinated employees in the company health plan. See this.

    It has been established that it is mainly vaccinated people who comprise the newly infected and that it is vaccinated people who “shedding” the virus are spreading it among the unvaccinated.

    It is the vaccinated people who are a threat to others, not the unvaccinated. Vaccination with mRNA experimental technology spreads the virus and makes it uncontainable.

    As Dr. Luc Montagnier, a Nobel Lauréate in Medicine says,

    “You see it in each country, it’s the same: the curve of vaccination is followed by the curve of deaths.”

    As Dr. Vanden Bssche, a developer of vaccines and Senior Ebola Program Manager says,

    “Given the huge amount of immune escape that will be provoked by mass vaccination campaigns and flanking containment measures, it is difficult to imagine how human interventions would not cause the COVID-19 pandemic to turn into an incredible disaster for global and individual health.”

    Those doing the vaccinations are driven by profit and greed, and perhaps by darker motives, and those submitting to vaccination are driven by blind fear. This does not have a promising outcome.

    • John you mention Antibody Dependent Enhancement as if you have some authority on the subject. You have not given any link to dependable info with respect to the specifics of how it applies to this current pandemic. You go on to make an outlandish statement equating Govt/civic efforts to gain public co-operation with efforts to slow the spread of the virus to enslavement to the satanic state!
      You assume an alarming stupidity and level of ignorance among epidemiologists and place your knowledge on the subject above their advice. What is your qualification and knowledge base? Can you be a trusted source of info in the absence of any link to varify your statements?
      As of March 16, 2021 this article maintains there is no evidence Antibody Dependent Enhancement is an issue with current vaccines in use:

      https://www.medpagetoday.com/special-reports/exclusives/91648

      • Some reading for you and others concerned about ADE RE COVID VACCINES:

        https://health-desk.org/articles/are-covid-19-vaccines-causing-antibody-dependent-enhancement
        Comparing infectivity and virulence of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants in Syrian hamsters (The Lancet)
        Antibody-dependent enhancement and SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and therapies (Nature)
        Antibody-Dependent Enhancement and the Coronavirus Vaccines (Science Translational Medicine)
        COVID-19 Vaccines: Should We Fear ADE? (The Journal of Infectious Diseases)
        Two Different Antibody-Dependent Enhancement (ADE) Risks for SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies (Frontiers in Immunology)
        The impact of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns accounting for antibody-dependent enhancement (PLOS One)
        Do the mRNA vaccines cause Antibody Dependent Enhancement (ADE) with COVID-19 disease? (Immunize BC)
        Antibody-dependent Enhancement (ADE) and Vaccines (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)
        Antibody Dependent Enhancement and SARS-CoV-2 (Global Virus Network)
        ADE and Corona Vaccines (Davidson Institute of Science Education)
        Why ADE Hasn’t Been a Problem With COVID Vaccines (MedPage Today)
        No, COVID-19 Vaccines Do Not Cause New Coronavirus Variants (healthline)

      • The so-called main stream sources you are citing are thoroughly captured and are just fact checking propaganda ministries now. Check out Dr. Michael Yeadon and Dr. Robert Malone, past vice president of Pfizer and one of the inventors of the mRNA injection. They are bought exposing the scamDemic and calling for an immediate halt to these genocidal poison injections

  21. Ranting on the internet will not change anyone. Lord, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

    I recommend the Saint Michael Chaplets as the antidote for the devil virus. Mother Angelica has them in her prayer book(Personal Devotions of Mother Angelica) on p 100. God and His angels can move mountains:)

    +Father Seraphim Michalenko-he smuggled the diary of Saint Faustina out of Communist Poland in 1970s-died from Covid 19 this year. HIS MOTTO: “Mercy is my life.”

    His birthday is tomorrow, August 29! He died on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, Feb 11, 2021. Father Seraphim help us and guide us! Amen! Alleluia!

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