A Catholic Priest with Face Mask On
Empty holy water fonts, no communion, elbow bumps instead of handshakes. These are just a few of the ways churches are dealing with the risk of coronavirus.

The Coronavirus outbreak has not spared even the holiest of sacraments.

From draining holy water fonts to banning all physical contact during the Lord’s Prayer and the Sign of Peace to even altering how the Body of Christ is served, churches the world over are getting creative when it comes to protecting their congregants and controlling the spread of the deadly respiratory disease.

Of course, it's common for priests and lay ministers to wash their hands before and after Mass during flu season, and to have hand sanitizer available for those distributing Communion.

But with at least 245 confirmed cases and 14 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the US, many religious leaders across the nation are getting more creative with their preventative measures.

Dangerous Problems, Creative Solutions

While the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn has decided to skip the Sign of Peace altogether during its masses, the Rev. Kevin Dillon of Long Island's St. Boniface Martyr Church recommended fist-bumping instead. “Rather than shaking hands or maybe giving someone a kiss that we know, you might want to do a nod or a smile or maybe what millennials do – a fist bump – or what the CDC recommends: an elbow bump."

Seattle’s Archbishop Paul D. Etienne has urged Catholics who are feeling sick to avoid mass altogether. In Italy, the current epicenter of Europe’s coronavirus outbreak, the Vatican canceled Sunday mass after Pope Francis (who tested negative) had to cancel plans due to a cold. Even the catacombs have been closed temporarily.

For Catholics in particular, all this couldn't come at a worse time.

Smack in the middle of the observance of Lent, many would normally mark Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday by kneeling and kissing the cross. Except bishops in the Philippines have already advised parishioners to genuflect and bow to the cross instead.

Worldwide Worries

The New Creation Church in Singapore, meanwhile, has decided to provide its 33,000 members complementary temperature checks with state-of-the-art thermal scanners, encouraging congregants to give online or drop donations in an offering box rather than in communal "offering bags" during service. The world's largest Pentecostal church in Seoul has already streamed its services online, eager to avoid the fate of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, the 'religious sect' responsible for a large chunk of the cases in Korea.

Mormons are also taking heavy precautions. The LDS Church is famous for its emphasis on savings and proper planning - not only of money, but of stockpiles of food and supplies as well. And those who’ve saved cans of food, toilet paper, soap, and other essentials, are finding their preparedness is paying off when many are cautiously anticipating being housebound for days or weeks at a time.

Ending Soon, or Just Beginning?

And if you're feeling this is all too heavy-handed, and are wondering why so many precautions are necessary, fear not.

Christian pastor Shawn Bolz has heard salvation is just around the corner. He claims Gold told him so.

"We're going to see it come to an end," Bolz told Fox News. "It's not going to be the pandemic that people are afraid of. I just felt like the tide is turning shortly -- whether it's two weeks or two months -- God cares about this. He's answering prayer and I saw two vaccines coming. I think one will come from Israel and another from an Asian nation, and they're going to hit pretty quickly."

Not so fast, however. Another pastor, Rick Wiles, told his followers that coronavirus is punishment from God that could kill “hundreds of millions of people”, punishment for a sinful planet “transgendering little children” and having “forced abortions.”

While the jury's out on whether God's going to provide a cure soon or wipe all the sinners out, in the meantime, it's probably best to keep washing your hands.

What do you think? If you’re a believer, do you think this is punishment from God? Or is it an outbreak that global governments were simply unprepared for?

How are you keeping safe during the coronavirus outbreak?

5 comments

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    Churches have no need to fear, they have their god looking after their followers. All they have to do is pray to him and he’ll cure them.....right? Unless of course their god really wants to punish them for being very naughty.

    🦁❤️

  1. Rev. Roe's Avatar Rev. Roe

    Please show some respect. When you refer to God. Perhaps you are a nonbeliever but please respect those that are. God will not let us suffer more than we can bare.

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      I’m just wondering which god you are referring to that mankind has created? As for your comment that your god will not let mankind suffer more than people can bare, try telling that to little children suffering with cancer. Try telling that to the surviving relatives of those that died in the 2004 tsunami, or those that died in the Holocaust, or the trenches of war. How could anyone respect any deity that allowed that, not to even mention your gods own atrocities to mankind, if he ever existed that is.

      🦁❤️

  1. SibylTheHeretic's Avatar SibylTheHeretic

    Every year for as long as I can remember there has been a cold and flu season. Every once in awhile, but getting more frequent, the flu is given some scary name. There was zika, swine and sars, etc. But they were all just the yearly flu. Except this year, this year the flu is the 13th plague to wipe out humanity. This hysteria is the product of the Democrats and the media ( actually the same organism). The more bad things that they can blame on president Trump the better it is for the Democrats. Even if Americans loose their savings and society is collapsing this makes the Democrats happy. This is the same flu that comes around every year but the panic is all political and can be blamed on the Democrats. Its just the flu.

  1. Richard Lee Cornell's Avatar Richard Lee Cornell

    Any remember 2009 Swine flu where it killed 17,000 Americans. Hospitlize 300,000 and had 60 million also infected. Hardly mention by POTUS Obama and it was not a story at all and if mention it was buried in the paper. I do not remember it. There is a book by David L. Heymann called "Control of Communicable Diseases in Man". If you think this COVID-19 is bad then this book will have the hair on your back standing.

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