Saturday, April 11, 2020

Open Letter Campaign by Dr. Janet E. Smith asking Bishops to Restore the Sacraments - Full Text


A national open letter campaign asking all U.S. Bishops to restore the Sacraments to the faithful which were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The campaign is headed by Dr. Janet E. Smith, retired professor Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. 
“Something is terribly wrong with a culture that allows abortion clinics and liquor stores to remain open but shuts down places of worship. While safety and cooperation with civil authorities is necessary, we must do everything we can to have access to what is essential for our spiritual lives. ” explains part of the message to the Bishops, which can be signed online here.
The Website explains: 
The sacraments are the spiritual “Personal Protective Equipment” of Catholics. They enable us to work in the field hospital of the sick and dying.  
During the COVID 19 pandemic, Catholics are being deprived of what is central to our Faith—the sacraments. The sacraments are gifts of inestimable value: They open up for us the gates of Heaven and bestow upon us graces that enable us to be loving disciples of Christ our Savior.
We, the faithful, appeal to our bishops to provide safe access to the Anointing of the Sick and to some form of public celebration of Mass during this time of strife and pandemic. We appeal to them to keep our churches open for prayer and adoration. This appeal’s intent is to show forth the intrinsic value of such spiritual support given the current crisis we face as Catholics.  We have a great desire to have our spiritual needs met in the safest and most effective way possible. 
For the open letter, prayers, and where to sign please see https://weareaneasterpeople.com/
Text of the message to the Bishops:
Bishops, we, your faithful flock, implore you to do everything you can to make the sacraments more available to us during this crisis. Something is terribly wrong with a culture that allows abortion clinics and liquor stores to remain open but shuts down places of worship. While safety and cooperation with civil authorities is necessary, we must do everything we can to have access to what is essential for our spiritual lives. We should certainly not voluntarily deprive ourselves of the sacraments.
Please, Bishops:
  1. Find ways that you and your priests can provide the Anointing of the Sick, especially to those at risk of dying. Click here for some ideas.
  2. If a state or local government prohibits priests from ministering to the sick in the hospital or in their homes, make a personal and formal request of civic leaders to permit such minister with assurances that all due precautions will be taken. Urge them to recognize religious services as essential services
  3. Demand that civil authorities to recognize religious services as essential services.
  4. Demand civil authorities to permit events such as offering and attending a Mass in a parking lot if they are currently prohibited.
  5. Do everything you can to make possible some form of a public Mass, especially the Easter liturgy, and then encourage pastors to conduct it.
  6. Offer the Mass yourself in public, especially the Easter liturgy.
  7. Do everything you can to find a safe way of distributing the Eucharist, with due precautions.
  8. Do everything you can to enable parish churches and shrines to remain open for prayer and adoration, with due precautions.
  9. Inform your flock of your efforts and the greater availability of the sacraments.
We must use the means Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church have provided us to combat the evils of this world.  The Bishops, our Spiritual Fathers, must take active and public roles in bringing to our wounded world the sacramental graces needed to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.
We assure you of our ardent prayers and sacrifices

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