D.C. Priest Who Criticized Coronavirus Restrictions Contracts COVID-19

Written by on August 4, 2020

A Roman Catholic priest who publicly questioned whether or not coronavirus restrictions have gone too far has been identified with COVID-19, prompting native well being officers in Washington, D.C., to instruct some parishioners to quarantine. 

Monsignor Charles Pope, of Holy Comforter St. Cyprian Catholic Church, was identified with COVID-19 on July 27, the church mentioned in a press release final week. As of Saturday, Pope was reported to be recovering and self-isolating with fellow clergymen and a seminarian at his rectory.

The priest insisted in a YouTube video Saturday that he had adopted all of the protocols required of him throughout companies, similar to carrying a masks and utilizing alcohol to sanitize his fingers. He mentioned he’s undecided how he contracted the coronavirus.

He continued to voice skepticism concerning the extent to which regular life has been disrupted to attempt to cease the unfold of COVID-19.

“Someplace alongside the strains, we now have to just accept the truth that we dwell in a world that’s dangerous,” Pope mentioned within the video. “We will take mandatory and prudent precautions, however we’ll by no means utterly have the ability to stop ourselves from catching a illness, even one that can ultimately kill us. We’re all headed ultimately for the tomb.” 

The priest added that he’s “very sorry for the inconvenience” that his sickness has prompted to his parishioners. He mentioned he’s upset that the church has to briefly shutter on account of his prognosis. 

“That causes me the best ache,” he mentioned.

Pope didn’t reply to HuffPost’s request for remark.

The District of Columbia’s well being division director, Dr. LaQuandra S. Nesbitt, mentioned in a Friday letter that parishioners who acquired communion on the church throughout sure companies from July 25 to July 27 have been uncovered to the virus and may self-isolate for 14 days.

“DC Well being is constant to work with church management to make sure that the steerage and finest practices are adopted to attenuate the chance of COVID-19 amongst attendees,” Nesbitt wrote.

The well being division declined to reply additional questions.

Pope has voiced skepticism in current weeks concerning the sweeping restrictions that authorities have imposed throughout the U.S. to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing within the Nationwide Catholic Register that many People are “cowering in worry.” The virus has change into “commercialized” as a result of “worry is acknowledged as among the best methods to regulate folks, to draw viewers, and to promote merchandise,” he wrote.

Earlier generations have been harder within the face of worldwide outbreaks, he argued, and keen to proceed with life as regular. The church, too, has “capitulated” to worry by permitting the federal government to put restrictions on worship.

“Whereas we couldn’t recklessly disregard civil ordinances, too many people have been content material to hunker down and forego public Mass,” Pope wrote within the Nationwide Catholic Register on July 18. “We should mirror on all that has occurred and resolve to by no means once more enable a governor or mayor [to] dictate whether or not, when or how we could give the sacraments.” 

Pope mentioned that in the course of the pandemic he has supplied communion privately and has continued to listen to confessions at his church.

“Prudence has its place, however my concern as a pastor and doctor of souls is that we’re permitting unrelenting worry to drive our response,” he wrote. “Till we because the Church [confront] the state of affairs and ‘man up’ as Christians ought to, worry will masquerade as prudence, and folk like me who query whether or not we’ve gone too far shall be known as irresponsible and even reprehensible.”

A cameraman films members of the clergy arriving for an online Easter Sunday Mass in front of empty pews at the Basilica of t

A cameraman movies members of the clergy arriving for a web-based Easter Sunday Mass in entrance of empty pews on the Basilica of the Nationwide Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., on April 12.

Hours earlier than his prognosis and hospitalization, Pope repeated his place throughout a section on “Morning Glory,” a Catholic radio present that he co-hosts. The priest instructed that many Catholics who haven’t been coming to Mass have been “lukewarm.” The label, which has a unfavourable connotation in Christian circles, is often used to explain those that are detached about their religion. 

“I believe a superb quantity or no less than half of that quantity who haven’t come have been the lukewarm,” Pope mentioned on the present. “We could have misplaced them without end as a result of, in impact, we mentioned, ‘Look, your bodily well being is extra essential than your religious well being.’” 

A co-host on the present, Gloria Purvis, argued that there may very well be many the reason why Catholics weren’t attending Mass.  

“I’d prefer to suppose that maybe the restricted availability [of seats at Mass], in addition to underlying situations, being pregnant, most cancers, hypertension, all this stuff is perhaps enjoying a task in folks not with the ability to return,” Purvis mentioned. 

Purvis added that she believed “lukewarm” Catholics would doubtless have stopped coming to Mass after listening to concerning the sexual abuse scandal surrounding former D.C. Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, who was defrocked in 2019 after a church investigation decided he had sexually abused minors in addition to grownup seminarians.

“I’d suppose that the lukewarm would have jetted up out of there earlier than this,” she mentioned.

“I don’t wish to lose the lukewarm; I nonetheless don’t wish to lose them,” Pope responded earlier than altering the subject. 

In March, because the coronavirus started to quickly unfold within the U.S., the Archdiocese of Washington, like many different U.S. Roman Catholic dioceses, exempted Catholics from the spiritual obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and different important holy days. That dispensation continues to be in impact.

A nun helps distribute hot meals at one of the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington's food distribution sites

A nun helps distribute sizzling meals at one of many Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington’s meals distribution websites for these in want in the course of the novel coronavirus pandemic on Could 29 in Laurel, Maryland.

The archdiocese has additionally developed detailed pointers on learn how to distribute communion in the course of the pandemic ― requiring clergy to put on face masks and often sanitize their fingers, and inspiring parishioners to obtain the bread of their fingers as an alternative of on their tongues. 

The overwhelming majority of individuals identified with COVID-19 expertise gentle or average signs, similar to a fever and cough. Others who contract the virus, particularly those that are older or have underlying well being situations, can undergo extra extreme sicknesses and even die of the illness. Specialists consider the virus is considerably extra deadly than the seasonal flu.

As of Monday, Washington had recorded greater than 12,000 confirmed instances of the virus and near 600 deaths. 

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