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A Leaven In The World… They Fought Back And Won

July 29, 2020 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK

The news hit the skids this past week about my parishioners Sid and Susanna Marcus who fought back against Big COVID19 and won.
I don’t know for sure, being a layman when it comes to medical issues, but doctors who are a lot smarter than I am, such as Vernon Coleman, seem to think the stats on COVID may be falsified and that scare tactics may be the real purpose of lockdowns.
Also, why are face masks becoming compulsory in places like D.C. while deaths from complications including COVID continue to plummet? It has been reported that some COVID infection numbers were artificially inflated due to double reporting of “new” testing positives.
You can see Dr. Coleman’s brilliant and darkly humorous video, “We are Victims of the Greatest Crime,” on YouTube at https://youtu.be/EhYX8RzyMC4. He separates fact from fiction in opposing the dominant pandemic narrative.
Warning: If you consider his ideas you’ll be accused, as he has been, of lunacy.
Many Americans do not realize what a big business vaccines are, and who has gotten rich selling them. They are sometimes forced on customers while more basic needs are ignored, such as a $35 oxygen valve which would have saved the life of a newborn child of a mother suffering from AIDS, as reported in a Los Angeles Times story dated December 16, 2007. Africans die for lack of oxygen while Gates Foundation monies go to high-profile, though undeniably needed, treatments for diseases like AIDS.
The effects of the pandemic on the Church will take years to play out, as the numbers of those who die as a result of lockdowns from causes other than COVID19 pile up. Don’t count on hearing about those in the media, however. Doesn’t support the accepted narrative.
Only an estimated one in three Catholics has returned to attending weekly Sunday Mass. Watch the institutional implosion advance while many Catholics now insist they have all the community they need via Sunday TV Mass. Although they are quick to add they do miss receiving Communion.
We’re on our own in this battle for the faith — lay Catholics, in particular, as well as many priests, while some cower within their chanceries for fear of human contact. But this is one case of the little guys getting a hearing and a favorable response, thanks to the Trump administration and the HHS.
The Marcuses were smashed up by a drunk driver while riding a motorcycle in May and both ended up in the hospital. Susanna got off with fewer injuries, and she was released after one surgery and some rehab. Sid, on the other hand, had it bad. Numerous surgeries and extended hospitalizations resulted in rehabilitation and physical therapy still ongoing almost three months later.
Sid and Susanna take their faith seriously as do all who inconvenience themselves enough to attend Mass on Sundays. As well, they go a step further by attending the old Mass, which is prayed almost entirely in a foreign language. Latin, I mean. You already know how annoying foreign languages are to all right-thinking Americans! Going above and beyond like that is akin to being a sort of “Catholic Marine.”
Hospital officials denied entry to a priest when Susanna requested the sacraments for Sid. Yes, many know about Catholic “Last Rites,” but they are also now termed the “Sacrament of the Sick” — they are for the living, which means you don’t have to wait until a person is actively dying to administer them. When they’re dead it’s too late to do them any good.
It’s true that we do not know when the soul leaves the body, and thus there is a longstanding practice of anointing the deceased up until an hour after death. When I was a young priest in the military, however, we had some real winners for chaplains who, by their comments to me, actually seemed to think the “living” for whom the sacraments were offered, and in particular Last Rites, were for the mourning family members standing around the deceased and passively observing.
Anyway, Sid and Susanna pursued their case with the help of a great Catholic named Michele Tennery at the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services.
From an HHS press release dated July 21, the following:
“Today, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces the resolution of a religious discrimination complaint against Prince George’s Hospital Center of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) after UMMS adopted new policies ensuring clergy access to patients for religious purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In June 2020, OCR’s Conscience and Religious Freedom Division received a complaint from Susanna Marcus, alleging she had requested a visit from a priest for her critically injured husband, Sidney Marcus, which was denied by Prince George’s Hospital Center. In late May 2020, Susanna and Sidney Marcus were in a major car accident requiring an emergency medevac to Prince George’s Hospital Center.
“Because Sidney’s injuries were more serious, the couple was separated and Sydney was placed in the intensive care unit. Since Sidney’s health continued to decline, Susanna Marcus asked a local priest to visit and pray for Sidney at the hospital. Despite being willing to wear any necessary personal protective equipment, the priest was turned away by the hospital based on a visitor exclusion policy it had adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The statement goes on to say:
“Shortly after OCR entered into discussions with UMMS, Prince George’s Hospital Center ensured that Sidney Marcus could freely exercise his religion by permitting him to receive a visit from a priest, who enabled him to receive the Catholic religious sacraments of Holy Communion and Anointing of the Sick.”
That “priest” was Bishop Joseph Coffey of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA who, as I did during the lockdown at a local hospital, refused to take no for an answer and refused to leave the building until he gained access to the patient for the purpose of administering the sacraments.
Thanks and congratulations go to Michele Tennery and all those who worked with her at OCR and HHS to bring about renewed recognition of the civil rights of Catholics to have access to the Sacrament of the Sick when they need the Lord thus: while they are still in need of healing. As the chief petty officers in the Navy used to say, “Ignorance is a renewable resource.” That being the case, we must be prepared always to re-educate the public and government bureaucrats of our Catholic beliefs and practices.
These days we have to fight to get at least as much recognition as Muslims do. It seems politics drives nearly everything in public life. Especially in Washington.
Yes, tragic deaths have resulted from COVID. Every human life lost is properly mourned, including aborted humans. But no matter what else befalls us, whether natural disaster or pandemic real or imagined, eternal life and the graces which come through the Church remain first in importance, as always.
Knowing and believing this will tell you whether you have faith or not. And, if you do, that you can begin to exult in the prospect of living forever in Heaven no matter how or why you die only once on Earth.
Thanks for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.

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(Join me for further discussion on Parler at @FatherKevinMCusick.)

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