John-Henry Westen reports for LifeSiteNews — As it stands right now, every Catholic diocese in the United States has banned public Masses from being held. Some have gone so far as to disallow priests from hearing confession and administering Last Rites. In effect, Catholics in the U.S., and elsewhere across the world, are cutoff from the sacraments.
Earlier this week, a group of prominent Catholic theologians, writers, and public figures signed an open letter urging bishops to “do everything” they can to “make the sacraments more available to us” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The open letter, spearheaded by Janet Smith, a former professor of moral theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, is titled “We Are An Easter People.” If you want to add your name to the “We Are An Easter People” open letter, you can do so by clicking here.
Dr. Smith spoke to me about the letter on my podcast earlier today, explaining why it is so devastating to not have access to Holy Mass or Anointing of the Sick as a lethal pestilence ravages our world.
The letter notes that while abortion facilities and liquor stores remain open, “churches have been closed” and “the administration of the sacraments curtailed or suspended altogether.” Catholics, it observes, are “being deprived of what is central to our Faith—the sacraments.”
The letter says its intention is “to show the hunger of the Catholic faithful for the Sacraments and for spiritual support given the current crisis we face as Catholics and as a human beings during a global pandemic.”
It goes on to call on bishops to ask civil authorities to allow outdoor masses, to let them visit those who are sick in hospitals, to keep churches open, and to find a safe way of distributing the Eucharist, among other things.
“The Bishops, our Spiritual Fathers, must take active and public roles in bringing to our wounded world, the sacramental graces needed to survive the COVID-19 pandemic,” the petition reads.
A few of the many Catholics who have added their name to the open letter include pro-life activist Abby Johnson; Matt Walsh of The Daily Wire; Phil Lawler, editor of Catholic World News; and LifeSiteNews columnist Peter Kwasniewski.
Urgent appeal to bishops: Fight to make sacraments more available to your faithful! Sign the LifeSite petition here.
Dr. Smith has appeared on my podcast before. We talked about the sex abuse crisis in the Church and what she called the “disappointing” papacy of Pope Francis.
She is truly a great warrior for the faith in these troubled times. Pray that her efforts yield fruit. We need the sacraments now more than ever.