Refusing a Funeral Mass, Because of the Virus

Q: The Archbishop of New York City announced at the beginning of the virus crisis that funeral Masses will NOT be conducted during this time for the victims of COVID19 or for the recently deceased….  How is this possible?  I can understand if authorities do not want to release the bodies of those who have passed away due to fear of spreading the virus, but to not hold a Mass at all does not make any sense.

Does a body have to be present, in order to celebrate a funeral Mass?  Also, couldn’t this bishop have conducted a private Mass (literally behind closed doors) and livestreamed the Mass, so friends and family of the recently deceased could have virtually attended the Mass?

After giving this some thought I then wondered what happens in a mass-casualty situation?  Are funeral Masses not provided to the victims of mass casualties such as earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.?  Can you shed some light on this?  My friends and I are deeply troubled by these developments and we are at a loss for words for the restrictions that have been imposed upon the Church during a time when prayer and faith is needed the most.  This is a very difficult time for humanity and yet even more excruciatingly painful for Catholics as our bishops are literally abandoning the flock. –Josie Continue reading

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Contributing Financially to the Support of the Parish: A Precept of the Church

Q1:  Wondering if you would comment on this article?  The author urged Catholics in America not to give a cent to our parishes so long as they are closed because of coronavirus.  He also says more generally that we shouldn’t donate to any Catholic charity that is operated by the bishops, because they have betrayed the faithful by abandoning us.
He links to one of your posts, but he does not suggest that this was your idea….  I thought we Catholics were obliged to support the Church financially if we are able…. –Russell

Q2:  I looked through your archive but did not see anything on the precepts of the Church.  How many are there nowadays?  When I was growing up there were six.  The Catechism at 2042-3 lists five….  Then they throw in at the end of 2043 the obligation to contribute to the material support of the Church; though it is not numbered in the CCC, it was always one of the traditional precepts.  Some lists also include the obligation to be married in accordance with the laws of the Church.  That was always one of the traditional six precepts.  Other lists I found on the web include the obligation to participate in the evangelization of peoples.  Can you help sort this out? –Father S. Continue reading

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What Happens When the Clergy Refuse to Baptize, Because of the Virus?

Q1 (March 2020): We had a baby earlier this week, and a few days later the diocese announced that all baptisms are suspended indefinitely except in danger of death, due to coronavirus.  I want her baptized as soon as possible but who knows how long this will continue.  What’s a parent to do? –Emily

Q2 (April 2020): I am delivering my seventh baby in two weeks.  I have been informed that priests are being encouraged to only do baptisms in an emergency.  I have been encouraged to delay my baby’s baptism.  Otherwise I can schedule a baptism but only ten people can be there due to coronavirus. How do I welcome a baby into the church family without even all his siblings there?  I read canon law and it states lay people can perform baptisms out of necessity. What is defined as necessity? –Samantha

Q3 (June 2020):  Someone on twitter said that we cannot baptize a dying person without their consent.  Are we allowed to baptize someone who appears to be dying without their consent? Like do a conditional one?
Back a few months ago, I instructed my sister how to baptize in case of emergency.  The instructions were for her niece as her children were sick with the flu and they feared that it could have been coronavirus.  My sister, a Catholic, baptized her 9-year-old granddaughter two weeks ago.  My niece was never raised in the Catholic faith, although [she was] baptized as an infant.  She believes that children should make their own decisions when they’re adults.  Should my sister contact her pastor?  Do I need to tell her that she shouldn’t baptize the other two children?  One is 17 and the other is one year old. –Theresa Continue reading

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Did the Spanish Flu of 1918 Create a Precedent for Closing Churches and Cancelling Masses Today?

Q:  A priest in residence at my parish is defending the bishop’s decision to lock all the churches indefinitely … claiming that there is canonical precedent for doing this.  He says the same thing was done during the Spanish Flu of 1918, so this isn’t the first time.  Is this true? –Alessandra Continue reading

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The Virus and the Bishops: Twisting Canon 223 to Further an Agenda

Q:  We contacted our bishop in protest, because he is insisting we can only receive Communion in the hand.  A canon lawyer replied on his behalf, claiming that Canon 223.2 gives the bishop power to “regulate the exercise of rights which are proper to the Christian faithful.”  He concludes that the bishop has the power to “regulate” how we receive Communion, because of the virus….  How can this be right?  I’m sure if this was true you would have mentioned it…. –Hillary Continue reading

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