A Catholic priest recently spoke out against the pandemic of fear that has gripped so many in his community and caused them to deprive “themselves of the help of God’s grace.”
“If I were the devil and I wanted to weaken the children of God, I would use fear, fear. I would make sure it got all the way in there. Be afraid of your neighbor. Be afraid of your health. Be afraid of society,” said Fr. Jeffrey Kirby, pastor of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in South Carolina and a senior contributor at Crux.
In a homily delivered earlier this month, Kirby said “you could get anyone to do anything when they’re afraid.”
“They will sacrifice every freedom, they will degrade their own dignity, they will assume any posture. They will do whatever is said so long as they are under fear,” said Kirby.
“But then I’d have to make sure that all the things that might strengthen them or help them or give them some type of awareness or illumination, I’d have to take those away. So I’d have to strike at their food,” he continued. “Make sure they’re afraid to worship God.”
Kirby wondered if the coronavirus pandemic has revealed the “true faithlessness of the people of God.”
He then said:
“They don’t really believe in eternal life because, my goodness, they cling so hard to this life. They don’t really believe in the power of the sacraments. They can go three months, six months, a year without Holy Communion. Is that what we see?
We were told that 70 percent of Catholics do not believe in the real presence. I guess we were just taken to the lab and shown the reality of that Pew Research because if you believed that this was the body and blood of the living God, by which your soul is redeemed and you receive the virtues of heaven and the promise of immortality, you wouldn’t care what it took to be here.
I’ve said before and it’s important that we understand this: as Westerners, we are an embarrassment to the universal Church. We look at our believers in Africa, who’ve gone through so many pandemics, and yet their one source of their stability is their faith. They have poverty, disease, pandemics, corruption, violence, and yet they humble us with their joy. How can they be so happy? Because they don’t believe that this world is supposed to make them happy.”
According to Kirby, “humanity is imploding,” not because of COVID-19, but “because the children of God have deprived themselves of the help of God’s grace.”
“His [the devil’s] fear makes us fools. We are the children of God,” Kirby concluded. “I can understand the fear of the unbeliever. I cannot, and I pray that I never can, understand the fear that has so overtaken so many souls consecrated to Jesus Christ.”