Rising Cases of COVID-19 is a grim reminder of criminal negligence among leaders, both secular and clergy.
Dear reader, I want you to imagine something terrible that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. It will be difficult, but a very fruitful exercise. When imagination is attuned to empathy, it can be profitable indeed. Imagine a child sick with coronavirus. Maybe your child. Or maybe your grandchild or godchild, or youngster relative. The child is placed on a ventilator. Do you realistically see your bishop coming to visit the hospital? Or perhaps even shed a tear? I don’t.
Remember that when they spout on about their voters’ guides and the infinite dignity of human life. Remember that when you go to tithe.
COVID-19 is far from over. Given that, and the dangerously irresponsible handling of it by Church and State in many U.S. places, I don’t know why parents and guardians aren’t more upset. Why aren’t more people demanding the immediate resignation of bishops, principals, and governors? What’s it going to take? I mean, massive deaths don’t seem to be phasing many people.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that every governor and every bishop has been negligent. In fact, many I am sure have taken serious safety measures to keep us safe. But think about the many U.S. Bishops sitting in mansions behind walls containing luxury and safety measures, enjoying the best medical care, 401ks, meal tickets. And they want the churches open. Not every bishop, but far too many. Do you think they empathize with you and your kid should sickness come? Please. Pious sentiments aren’t helping.
In the United States, over one thousand people die daily from COVID-19. The numbers are rising. We know 41.8 million human beings are infected as of today, worldwide. And across the globe, since this tragedy began, over 1.1 million deaths are attributed to the pandemic. By November 14, 2020, predictions cited by the CDS forecast somewhere between 235,000 to 247,000 United States COVID-19 deaths.
Rising deaths, rising numbers point to bad times ahead. We’ve already seen 299,000 more U.S. people dead than in a typical year, with about one-third of these being other causes than the pandemic. All these thanks to gross irresponsibility with COVID-19. U.S. Latinos and Blacks, aged between 25 to 44, are being disproportionately killed by the novel coronavirus. Their death-rates are rising up 26.5 percent over previous years, the most considerable change for any age group.
All this rising sickness and death are acceptable numbers for Team Trump, the campaign to reelect “the pro-life” POTUS. And the USCCB? They don’t help matters with enabling press statements like, “We are deeply grateful for the President’s pro-life commitment, and for all the actions this administration has taken to protect unborn children and their mothers from the violence of abortion.”
There’s the magic topic, the One Issue to Rule Them All. Everything else is eliminated by that one issue. Deaths rising to the stratosphere, environment collapsing threatening the end of all life as we know it, but the one magical issue wipes the board clean: abortion, abortion, abortion!
Donald Trump isn’t pro-life. Not in the least. The bishops should be publicly shamed for statements like that one. Too many gala dinners and liquor lunches for them. The imbalance caused by decades of brainwashing on this topic helps enable the criminal negligence going on with COVID-19.
Winter is Coming
And it gets worse. We are back to where we were in July, America. With the first half of October done, there is a 30 percent rise in coronavirus cases, over 60,000 daily. And for you “Game of Thrones” fans, yep, say it with me now—“Winter is coming!”
When 2020 ends, we will probably have 400K dead in this country. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Dying on ventilators, it will be out of sight, out of mind, for many outside the circles of suffering families. This kind of grisly death doesn’t work the same for television cameras as do the protests and war footage. And what will be the sense of loss at many bishops’ and governors’ mansions? Deep grief, I’m sure. Time for another gala dinner.
Not every U.S. diocese is taking COVID-19 seriously. Many are, but not all. Social distancing at liturgical gatherings and dispensations from Mass are great, but what about schools and other potential superspreaders? In some places, the mandate seems to be, “Keep the schools open, no matter the cost!” But whose cost? It’s your cost! Your family’s severe cost, dear brothers and sisters.
We’ve had an exhausting year. But we can’t allow distractions like online nonsense about “antichrist” Pope Francis and his lavender mafia to blind us to the urgent need for prudent action. Let’s talk instead about something more pressing, like needless mass deaths!
State governors goose-stepping to Trump’s fief, such as Florida Boss Ron DeSantis, won’t close the schools. No matter what the future may hold, even the idea of schools being closed should be off the table for DeSantis. He says he won’t “repeat the mistakes of the past.” So to him, closing schools back in March was a mistake?
Consider the U.S. bishops complicit with this evil and stupidity. I’m not saying all bishops are. That would be ridiculous. Indeed, those U.S. bishops are commendable who have taken responsible action in safeguarding their employees and the faithful for which they care. But don’t be naïve and think that all bishops are doing this. And don’t think the face they put on for the public is the same they wear for Church employees. Don’t be stupid. Because stupidity is lethal.
Rising Empathy & Awareness
Are you aware of what’s going on in your diocese? What’s happening with the schools? Are they open, and is that wise and prudent?
Do you care about teachers, students, and their families? Or are they “out of sight, out of mind”? How about maintenance workers who work in Churches? How are they faring?
When you work for a diocese for 21 years, friendships with other Church employees tend to happen. War stories get shared. I’ve been reaching out since March to several close teacher friends about what they were enduring. There is so much cruelty. Most rank and file Catholics would be shocked at the abuse going on behind the scenes. And they need to know! But most people can’t see it. Others, self-professed loving Catholics, won’t.
Far too many times I’ve heard diocesan directors (such as “for the office of ____________ ministry”) say something like, “I’ll go to my grave without telling what I’ve seen.” As if their cowardly silence serves Christ!
A Deeper Look
Compassion isn’t a priority in far too many parishes and dioceses, despite all the Jesus-talk they spout. Instead, threats are regularly served to the marginalized. Jesus and love and justice are easy words to parrot instead of walking the walk. That all gets flushed down the toilet in favor of business as usual. Meanwhile, ultimatums and threats are given through Zoom meetings. Dictatorial orders are issued about how things must be handled to prove the worth of veteran teachers. Fear and manipulation are special tools to ensure everyone marches along. They are employed far too often by Diocesan higher-ups.
This abuse didn’t start with the pandemic. From where I come, it’s been that way for as long as I can remember, and I remember very well. But the novel coronavirus made things nastier and deadly.
Now before people start getting out their litanies of how the Church is the greatest charity organization on earth with the energy of an enabling, co-dependent, battered spouse, repeat to yourself that we need to critically examine ourselves. Self-respect isn’t found in reaction formation and dismissal of serious evils when they are brought up. Enough with the cheerleading!
Investigate & Expose!
I wish the press went and interviewed various diocesan school employees. They should do a country-wide investigation. They should conduct interviews, investigating specifically about how parochial teachers and Church maintenance workers have been treated during the pandemic. Reporters ought to ask serious questions concerning work conditions under pandemic times.
Will people talk? In the numerous dioceses where bishops are tyrants, there will always be many spineless jellyfish. To be fair, there will also be employees legitimately terrified about losing their jobs. But if the press can guarantee they’ll ensure the anonymity of the people they interview, they will see a disturbing pattern emerge.
With bishops behaving monstrously, their emphasis on “respecting human life” in the anti-abortion election rhetoric becomes especially sickening. It’s like they’re saying, “We aren’t going to explicitly say vote for Trump. Just remember being anti-abortion is numero uno. And then justice issues, and yeah, maybe someone can find a reason to vote for a Democrat (like maybe it’s possible to discover the Loch Ness Monster). But just remember, the most important issue is being anti-abortion. And if you’ve forgotten that, you better practice your Catholic faith a whole lot more, until you get it right! Get it right, as in right-wing.”
It’s so cowardly and hypocritical. Hundreds of thousands of people dead, an extinction-level event on the horizon, wage-theft rampant in the U.S. dioceses, and these bishops keep chanting pro-birth mantras. Look at the deaths that could have been avoided. Think about the deaths that can still be avoided but won’t be.
The Terrible Costs of Catholic Stupidity
The deaths are rising. 200K people are dead, with many of these deaths avoidable. 200K more are threatened by the greed and ineptitude of our leaders and shepherds. Again, I am not talking about all the bishops or all the secular authorities. There are admirable examples, I am sure. But even if not all the leaders, an alarming number take advantage and are grossly irresponsible. Forget the “few bad apples” nonsense. The other apples were obliged to eject them from the barrel, and blew it. So you’ll forgive me as I doubt the overall goodness of the bunch.
We are so brainwashed. Did we learn nothing about the character of these bishops from the sex abuse crisis in 2002? The system hasn’t even been dented. We reek of clericalism.
In a few years, if and when the smoke of the pandemic clears, those U.S. Catholics fortunate enough to survive ought to look back at the needless carnage. The survivors should hold secular leaders and clergy accountable for their inaction and, in some cases, willful endangerment of American lives. Culprits should pay dearly for their crimes. We are beyond ending political careers and resignations. It’s time for jail. Actually, it’s long overdue.