Professor Emeritus Garrett Ward Sheldon writes about the American situation in his article ‘Church and State in Virusland‘, but most of the his points on religious liberty could be applied to the Australian situation, and in particular to Victoria whose dictatorial overlord is the Marxist government of the eye-spinning leftist fanatic Daniel Andrews.
Professor Sheldon is an ordained Christian minister but, again, what he says about religious faith and its adherence applies as well to Catholics. In his opening paragraphs, he gets straight to the point.
As state governments all over America outlaw “social gatherings” except for “essential services” such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and liquor stores, the implications for religion become obvious. Last Sunday, a minister in Florida was arrested for holding a normal church service and thereby endangering public health.
But a church worship service is not just a public gathering; it is a holy assembly. Our Faith tells us that God blesses and honors the prayers of His people in His House and that may well give comfort, healing, and peace to millions. The current discussion over this virus is almost exclusively scientific and economic, ignoring the psychological and spiritual dimensions of the crisis.
Indeed, going to a church service or a Catholic Mass, is not at all like going to the supermarket and other such places the Victorian government has allowed. Nor is it like a drunken party of recidivist footballers who cannot discipline themselves. There is no analogy here.
The faith of the orthodox Christian, whether Catholic or Protestant, is more important to him than rushing to the supermarket for the last roll of toilet paper. The ritual of his belief is a fundamental means of giving expression to his faith at the centre of which is love of God and love of neighbour. Denying Christian assembly or worship (I mean the Catholic Mass) is more than a suppression of the fundamental right to religious liberty which Professor Sheldon discusses at length in the American constitutional context.
Criminalising church worship and Mass attendance where the Catholic has access to the soul-healing sacraments strikes at the heart of the Christian’s spiritual being. There can be no greater personal deprivation.
If everyone is allowed to go to the supermarket all day and into the evening for essential material provisions, there can be no good reason why a minority of the population are refused attendance at church on penalty for one hour a week under the same social distancing rules. Professor Sheldon suggests a reason.
Put simply, in the American tradition of religious freedom, the state is not supposed to close the church. That easily could be an excuse for persecuting Christians, under the devious logic of “saving lives.”
There is no person more perverted in their reasoning than the Premier of Victoria who is increasingly described as ‘out of control.’ There can be no dispute that the Andrews Marxist government has a loathing for Christians, particularly Catholics. Every word of its legislative program shouts anti-Catholic bigotry. Of course the corona virus is a pretext for Andrews to pursue his program of persecution. That program of persecution has been extended to a regime of torture in Cardinal Pell’s case.
I leave aside the problems of the charges and the trials (see previous comments). Cardinal Pell has been in solitary confinement for more than a year while the legal process runs its course. It’s clear he has no sympathy from the Andrews government nor from the prison authorities.
It is a vindictiveness beyond understanding that the cardinal has been refused the means to say Mass in his cell. It is mere perverse wackiness that the prison authorities do not allow letters to the cardinal if they are addressed to ‘Cardinal George Pell’. We can’t for one moment maintain the cardinal’s Catholic title while under the regime of torture, can we? That may in some incomprehensible way lessen the torture.
Andrews increased the torture by barring visits to the Cardinal. It was embarrassing to witness his furious public anger about the visit of a well-known figure. He was totally unabashed about this display of unremitting hatred.
The truth is that Andrews and his Marxist government could not give a damn about the right to religious liberty. He and his pals will do all they can to suppress religious faith and the Church. And they can do much. The circumstances of the corona virus provides the pretext to give full rein to their dictatorial inclinations. You can see the blush on Andrews’ cheeks and the moisture on his upper lip when he talks about introducing a fourth stage of restrictions. He’s probably already thinking about a fifth stage. Who knows, maybe a sixth stage. What fun.
The people of Victoria should prepare for a long stay locked up in their homes.