How To Become Protestant in the Age of Covid-19

It’s quite simple, really. First, find out or be told a priest in your diocese is offering public Masses on the sly. Then, attend said Mass. So what if your bishop has suspended all public Masses in your diocese? Screw that. Why should you be any better than Luther, Calvin, or Wesley?

A friend texted me last week that a priest in my archdiocese will be offering Mass, in case I was interested. I asked, is it a public Mass, to which she responded she assumed it was. I replied, “It seems to me a priest offering a public Mass when the archbishop has suspended all public Masses is being disobedient to his bishop.”

If I’m coming off as holier-than-thou, well, that’s on you not me. The holier-than-thou folks are those feeling entitled to attend such Masses, or are feeling persecuted, as if we’re living under the 2nd century Roman Empire. I truly and deeply miss receiving the Eucharist and worshiping with the community during this time, like so many other Catholics. But disobedience to legitimate authority – and last time I checked, the Church remains apostolic, so a bishop’s authority is still legit – in the time of plague is still disobedience. Christ was obedient unto death – but I’m to be disobedient unto annoyance? Give me a break.

Here’s my advice, free of charge. Don’t disobey your bishop in this. Don’t become a Protestant. Offer up your suffering for the poor souls in Purgatory, and trust that this too shall pass. Your 1st amendment rights aren’t being suppressed. Are the movie theatres still closed? Are concert venues shut down? Are sporting events still canceled? If the answer to all the above is yes, then you still have freedom of religion. It’s not as if only secular events are permitted, while religious ones aren’t. Masses are livestreamed, Bible studies are held online, and priests offer private Masses every day (and they aren’t being rounded up and arrested, either). You can pray your rosary in public. You can wear Christian symbols without opposition. You can protest in front of an abortion clinic.*

And if a nearby diocese begins to offer Masses before yours does, stay home. Obey. Your. Bishop. Be like St Pio. The restrictions his bishop enacted were far more egregious, unfair, and quite unjust. Yet he submitted to legitimate authority, quietly and prayerfully, and was rewarded.

Another thing about these clandestine Masses. What irks me is the secrecy – the sense of belonging to an exclusive club, to which only privileged individuals are allowed membership. The Mass is for EVERY CATHOLIC, not merely for those with insider information. Such exclusivity doesn’t belong in the Church. It wounds the Body of Christ, creating disunity and division. And crap like that pisses me off.

One more bit of unsolicited advice: if you decide to attend a secret public Mass, please don’t tempt your friends into sinning with you. “Love your neighbor” and all that, y’know?  Should someone say: “Psst! I know where a Mass is being held. Wanna go?”, don’t be afraid to tell them “No thanks, I’m not a Protestant.”

*I fully believe, however, that those Christian communities who offered “drive-in” services and were fined by city/county officials, had their freedom of religion rights violated, and I am glad to see the DOJ is taking those cases seriously.

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Author: thelarryd

LarryD resides in Michigan.

4 thoughts on “How To Become Protestant in the Age of Covid-19”

  1. You have put into words exactly how I feel about this.

    This past Sunday, per usual since the beginning of the suspension of public Masses in our Diocese, a group of about 8 of us gathered in front of an outdoors statue of Our Lady at our sister parish. Keeping 6′ apart and wearing masks, we prayed the Rosary while our good pastor broadcast Mass inside (it’s archived, so we could watch it later).

    An elderly woman approached and then marched purposefully toward the church door. One of our group called out and said there were no public Masses, but she was welcome to pray with us. Grimly, she told us she wasn’t there to pray the Rosary – she was going to attend Mass. A couple of minutes later, her daughter and SIL (non-parishioners), arrived and told us the same. None were wearing masks.

    After looking at one another, one of our group stated he guessed the churches were open for Mass, and he was going in. The rest followed.

    I was absolutely shocked, and, I am ashamed to admit – furious. They put our good pastor in the position of either forbidding them entrance or disobeying the Bishops of our state. And they also had the attitude that they were “holier than thou”, as if we were on a lower scale of sanctity because we did not challenge the request of the bishops to stay away.

    The Church is not a country club, and Mass is not just for a fortunate few who are pushy and obnoxious enough to force their way in – it is for *all* of us who want to worship. And yes, as you pointed out so well, part of being Catholic is being obedient when our bishops and pastors make a reasonable, non-heretical request, which describes the suspension of public Masses because of the pandemic.

    I am still angry at these people (which is a failing in me – I should leave it all to God), but I continue to hope and trust in Our Lord that things will continue in His own good time.

    God bless and protect us.


  2. I agree with you for the most part. I do have to question one thing, however.
    You wrote:
    “And if a nearby diocese begins to offer Masses before yours does, stay home. Obey. Your. Bishop.”
    Like a gazillion other places, the Bishop in our diocese has suspended all public Masses. He has not, I believe, forbidden us from attending public Masses in other dioceses. If the Bishop in another diocese allows public Masses, I don’t believe I’m being disobedient to my Bishop should I attend Mass there.
    Of course, this is all a moot point since, with the travel restrictions in place where I live, it’s impossible to travel to another diocese even if public Masses were available.


    1. Perhaps it doesn’t rise to the level of disobedience in a strict sense, but I believe charity dictates we refrain from attending anyway – churches won’t be holding Mass at full attendance, or even 50% capacity, so crossing diocesan lines to attend Mass may prevent someone in that diocese from being able to attend.


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