Pandemic or Pandemonium: The First Priority is Christ’s Life Within Us. by Dr. Jeff Mirus

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By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, April 09, 2020

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.


It is Holy Thursday, and we are about to reflect again on Christ’s gift of Himself at the Last Supper and on the Cross, as well as his temporary absence from His disciples immediately following His death. Ever since that sequence, which ended in the Resurrection, it has been the first priority of the Church to make Christ continuously present—to the full extent of the capability of her ministers and members—to everyone in the world.

This is what makes the restrictions during the pandemic so frustrating. And one of the most frustrating things—even in the midst of many legitimate precautions—is how our responses so often reflect our own lack of confidence in Christ.

Where is the line between prudence and the abandonment of Christ’s mission? For all of us, it is often hard to draw, and in this case a great deal depends not only on the nature and duration of the restrictions on the Church’s normal activity but also on the particular case-by-case urgency of the Church’s sacramental action. Still, I was appalled by the overall tenor of the recent directive by the Bishops of England and Wales. In the face of medical restrictions on the anointing of those in danger of death, Bishop Paul Mason advised priests that “minimizing the spread of the virus must be the priority of all”. In the context, this seems to have meant not “a priority” (as in an important consideration) but “the highest priority”—which can never be true when it comes to ministering to the sick and dying.  ….

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