French Bishop: Fear the ‘Epidemic of Fear’ More Than Coronavirus
A French Bishop with sane advice. Seems to have imbibed the common sense of his Diocese's Saint, le Cure d'Ars.

From the National Catholic Register


Bishop Roland pointed out that during the great plagues of the past, Christians joined together in common prayer, ministered to the sick, attended the dying, and buried the dead.

BELLEY, France — People should be more concerned about the epidemic of fear than the coronavirus outbreak, Bishop Pascal Roland of Belley-Ars has said.

“More than the epidemic of coronavirus, we should fear the epidemic of fear! For my part, I refuse to yield to the collective panic and to subject myself to the principle of precaution that seems to be moving the civil institutions,” Bishop Roland wrote in a column at his diocesan website.

“So I don't intend to issue any specific instructions for my diocese. Are Christians going to stop gathering together for prayer? Will they give up going see and help their fellow man? Apart from measures of elementary prudence that everyone takes spontaneously to not contaminate others when you're sick, it's not advisable to add on more,” he said.

Many Churches around the world have issued precautionary guidelines for Masses, or cancelled public Masses entirely, because of the coronavirus outbreak which originated in China late last year.

The new strain of coronavirus causes a respiratory disease, COVID-19, and has a fatality rate of roughly 3%. There have been more than 93,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 81 countries, and nearly 3,200 deaths. The vast majority of cases and deaths have been in China.

France has had 212 confirmed cases, and four deaths.

Bishop Roland pointed out that during the great plagues of the past, Christians joined together in common prayer, ministered to the sick, attended the dying, and buried the dead. They did not turn away from God or their neighbor.

“Doesn't the collective panic we are witnessing today reveal our distorted relationship to the reality of death? Does it not manifest the anxiety-inducing effects of losing God?” he asked.

Bishop Roland said that “we want to hide from ourselves the fact that we're mortal, and having closed off the spiritual dimension of our life, we're losing ground. Because we have more and more sophisticated and efficient techniques available, we claim to master everything and we obscure the fact that we're not the masters of life!”

Coronavirus is an occasion to “remind ourselves of our human fragility,” the French bishop noted, saying that “this global crisis at least has the advantage of reminding ourselves that we live in a common home and that we're all vulnerable and interdependent and that it's more urgent to cooperate than to close our borders!”

The bishop observed that “it seems we've all lost our minds! And in any case we're living in a lie. Why suddenly focus our attention on just the coronavirus?”

He pointed out that in France the ordinary seasonal flu sickens 2-6 million people, and causes about 8,000 deaths.

Continuing, the bishop said that he has no intention of ordering “churches to be closed, Masses to be canceled, eliminating the sign of peace at the Eucharist, or imposing such and such a way of receiving Communion reputed to be more hygienic (that said, everyone can do as they want!) because the church is not a place at risk, but a place of health. It's a place where we welcome the one who is Life, Jesus Christ, and where through him, with him and in him we together learn to be the living. A church has to remain what it is: a place of hope!”

The Bishop of Belley-Ars asked, “Should you shut yourself up at home? Should you raid the neighborhood supermarket to stock up on reserves to prepare for a siege? No! Because a Christian doesn't fear death. He's not unaware that he's mortal, but he knows in whom he has placed his trust.”

“And a Christian doesn't belong to himself, his life is given, because he follows Jesus Christ who teaches 'For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it.'”

“So let's not give in to the epidemic of fear! Let's not be the living dead! As Pope Francis would say: don't let them steal your hope!” Bishop Roland concluded.
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I was just going to translate that from Infovaticana when you saved me the trouble.
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I think worrying about a virus which has only infected a total of 93,000 people out of a worldwide population of over 8 billion is ridiculous. And so what if we contract it? We should rejoice that we have a set time to purify our souls before we go to see the Lord.

Fear of bodily suffering, of rumors of plagues and pandemics, of wars and of famines are all a result of worldliness. The times I feel most at ease are those when I set aside all of these sorts of concerns, it's difficult and infrequent, but is what Our Lord desires of us.

Quote:"Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment? Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? Be not solicitous therefore, saying, What shall we eat: or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore solicitous for tomorrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof." - Matt. 6:25-26, 31-34
"The Heart of Jesus is closer to you when you suffer, than when you are full of joy." - St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Put not your trust in princes: In the children of men, in whom there is no salvation. - Ps. 145:2-3

"For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables." - 2 Timothy 4:3-4
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Quote:The times I feel most at ease are those when I set aside all of these sorts of concerns, it's difficult and infrequent, but is what Our Lord desires of us.
I understand what you're saying, and it's true--"What is needed is trust," Jesus said (Lk. 8:50).

I am responsible for others and must prepare. It is the prudent thing to do. But I am not so much concerned for those in my care as for those in my family and among my friends (and yes, my 'enemies') who are not at all prepared, i.e., that are not planning spiritually for the approach of death. It could indeed happen at any time, and my consoling thought in all of this is that they may see it coming and remember God.
Qui me amat, amet et Deum meum.

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