Eclipse of public religion in the name of the “Precautionary principle” : Jacobin dictatorship

Par l'abbé Claude Barthe

Français, italiano

For catholicism, the year 2020 shall be a year of disaster: in France, in Italy, in other countries of  old Christendom, no public masses were celebrated for Easter. In France, this is the first time since the Revolution, and still because then Sunday masses were celebrated, though parsimoniously and only by constitutional sworn clergy.

Whose fault? The secular State, certainly, but not just the secular state. The decision of the Ministry of Solidarities and Health  of 15 March 2020 stated: Houses of worship, of class V, are authorized to remain open.

« All gatherings or meetings of more than twenty people inside theses houses is forbidden until 15 April 2020, to the exception of funeral services.”

The French Bishops could have, at least, organized the liturgical assemblies according to these legal constraints passably tyrannical, essentially by multiplying the number of masses with small groups. To the contrary, they have anticipated the measures from the government (public masses were forbidden starting 14 March), and they even made them more strict. The Bishops’ Conference applied the law of March 15th in this way:

“no masses with an assembly, whatever the size, can be celebrated. Funerals can be celebrated, for now, in churches in most diocese, but the assembly should be no more than 20 people” (Message of Mgr de Moulins-Beaufort, of 17 March 2020).

As a result, a State law dated 24 March, came to forbid any masses, except funeral services.

The French Bishops should have first, and in all rights, examine if the common good of the City was not mistreated, inasmuch as a proper civil law should not prevent the diffusion of the supernatural goods. It should, indeed, to the contrary, encourage it.  And even before that, since the beginning of this crisis, there was the question of the proportionality of the measures taken: for if we must confined not only the sick or the people close to them, but the sick and the people in good health, why aren’t similar dispositions taken, for example, in regards to seasonal flu which can kill up to 650,000 people per year in the world? The response – in a context when the ideologically overvalued scientific finds its limits – comes from the lack of knowledge about the present virus, for which we have neither vaccine nor the right medicine, not to mention the unpreparedness of the healthcare system. In that regard, the medical doctors and epidemiologists have asked for the “Precautionary principle” to be applied. Except that this principle, recently added to the Constitution in 2005 at the request of the Green party, opposes the common supernatural good in a situation when invoking the common good of the City, prudently and intelligently examined, would have been sufficient. A Common supernatural good of which the only judge is the Church.

Certainly, She must favor the bodily health, and thus take into account the opinion of the ones who govern us – or of those who, de facto, poses as the ones who govern us. For, in regards to “public health”, we must remember that their “laws” authorize the murder of about 220,000 innocents in France[1], per year – but as to the Church, She is in charge of the spiritual health of men, of their eternal salvation.

As a rule, there is nothing more precious that the eucharistic sacrifice, reiterated all along the life of the Church on this Earth for the living and for the souls in Purgatory. For all the living indeed, because we ought to remember, alongside Saint Thomas, that if the eucharist, as a sacrament, profits those who receive it, it benefits, as a sacrifice, all those for whom it is offered, that is to say, all the men to whom salvation in Jesus Christ is offered.[2]

Without a doubt, the private mass, celebrated with only one altar server, has as much value for the salvation of men as the mass celebrated with a large crowd. But, precisely in regards to its effects, it is important that the mass be in the heart of the public worship of God. Because, as strange as this insertion may seem today, not only the government of the City should favor the divine worship of the Church, but it should unite in it as such. Like the Family man, government should not seek a refuge in “neutrality”. To give God a public worship is a duty “which obliges ,first, men in their individuality, but it is also a collective duty of all the human community based on reciprocal social ties, because society itself also depends on the supreme authority of God” (Pius XII, Mediator Dei).

Things estranged to the current democratic reality, but definitely things that the shepherd of the Church should not forget in order to teach and take positions that do not go against it. They  might have to be tolerant of the present reality of political institutions ignoring Divine law, but they are to make sure that the rights of God remain part of the principle that is applied. In reality, what is happening is the reverse of this, since, with Vatican II, they consider that it is by ways of exceptions that, in the past, the Spouse of Christ enjoyed a “special recognition“, whereas the rule that now applies for Her is from the common Associations’ law which follows from the Religious Liberty (Dignatis humanæ n. 6).

Father Claude Barthe

[1] Jérôme Salomon, General Director of Health: “The abortions centers are remaining open during the crisis” (Press Conference, Friday 20 march 2020).

[2] Summa theologiæ, IIIa pars, q 79, a 7).