Letters to our Bishops

(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)

May 21, 2020


An Open Letter to Bishop Medley:

Dear Excellency,

Baptized Catholics have a divine and American civil right to practice the Catholic Faith in its glorious entirety and fullness.  When you emphasize only some aspects of it, while ignoring other essential teachings, the result is unacceptable political partisanship, and unnecessary grief.

On requiring face masks and Communion only in the hand at Mass: The Catholic principle of Subsidiarity is such a powerful gift from heaven that our Protestant Founding Fathers made it a cornerstone of social organization.  On matters of prudential judgment, such as health and safety, you must accept the decisions made by the person most close to the actual facts and circumstances.  This is mainstream, historical, Catholic social teaching.

If civil leaders abandon subsidiarity for dubious or possibly selfish reasons, we can and should remove them from office.  If or when you do it, what is our recourse other than prayer and this petition?

Your stated reasons for such mandates are charity, and imitating the Lord.  Charity, the real thing, never involves any trace of coercion.  (Tribunals annul marriages if coercion is proven.)  Please correct the situation so charity may always be expressed as a totally volitional act of free will.  Let persons receive the Eucharist in the most reverent manner!

Also, can we avoid judging the interior decisions of others?  Just two years ago, over 60,000 people perished from respiratory disease…so your silence and lack of mandates then should not be seen as causing those deaths or a lack of charity.  The same goes for over 13,000 Kentuckians who have died this year from causes other than a Corona virus.  Is the lack of drama, propaganda, and fear about their deaths, the reason we obsess over 267 other people and effectively ignore 98% of our deceased?  (CDC, 5/16/20)  This belies reason and logic.

Why model such fear and uniformity with masks, which cause our children to increasingly see other human persons as dangerous, something to distance from, when the Lord said let the children come to me?

There is no right to not get sick.  Ordinary courtesy and consideration to prevent sickness was always in place.  This new radical approach has not been vetted, consented to, or theologically justified.  Human dignity is harmed way more by being arbitrarily jerked around by authoritarians than by a natural virus.

One reason the Lord threw out the money changers: they took advantage of a sincere desire to worship God, by making those worshipers comply with hardships and abuses unrelated to worship.   Please don’t go anywhere near that approach just because we are sacramentally famished.  Civil authorities have acted disproportionately, we implore you to not follow suit, even if they have become a significant source of your revenue.  You and I must choose God over mammon.  It is our duty to give you the money you need to save souls, not the government’s.

Christ did not hesitate to challenge the civil and religious authorities of His day in pursuing truth.  His church is usually a sanctuary from earthly turmoil.  This is a great leadership opportunity for you to be a sign of contradiction to the spirit of the age, to offer Hope instead of reflexive fear.  We don’t fear death as much as the loss of sanctifying Grace.

May God Bless and keep you, and give you courage to be our shepherd, to protect us from, and give us sanctuary from, the ruler of the world.


Peter Palumbo