In British Columbia our churches were closed by government decree, but in a way it is not the same as seeing what is happening in Quebec where the government has banned anyone who has not. been vaccinated to enter a place of worship.
We talked about it last month, but what reminded me this week was the photo of Montreal Catholics kneeling in the snow in front of Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral.
Think about it and let it sink in at home. If someone had told you two years ago that you couldn’t walk into a church without a government vaccination passport, would you have believed them?
In British Columbia and across the country, we are now seeing a government-imposed division of worshipers with restrictions on worship vaccines. The decline in church attendance seen over the holidays may just be the start of what is to come.
How quickly we have acquiesced in the restrictions on our freedoms over the past two years. The numbers show that most people are ready to accept any government decree to date. But who can say that they are finished?
The toughest restrictions are being imposed now just as many express hope that the pandemic could end with the arrival of the relatively harmless variant of Omicron. If it ends up infecting everyone and the vast majority of people barely know they have it, it is arguably a better result than many years of growing authoritarianism from governments that have been too willing to impose rather than soberly consider the destructive damage of too many – often arbitrary measures.
Yet Canada’s federal and provincial governments show no indication of slackening their zeal for control despite promising developments and despite the devastation that lockdowns and other restrictions have wrought on the lives of Canadians.
So I encourage you to ask yourself this question: Even though you have been able to accept all the edicts thus far, is there a line in the sand that you do not allow to cross?
Everyone has a different threshold for tolerating the intolerable otherwise. When it comes to the government’s response to the pandemic, the limit for many was hit very early on with restrictions on businesses, schools, and churches that were not challenged by the media and political parties. opposition. For others, the breaking point came with the imposition of mandatory vaccinations in order to participate in normal society.
If the government still hasn’t crossed your border for unacceptable behavior, ask yourself what it will take. Is there anything that is prohibited, as long as it is for “public safety” as determined by the government and the media?
In a recent National Post column, Father Raymond de Souza said that the government of Quebec, in tightening its protocols in the event of a pandemic, “has crossed a critical line when it comes to religious freedom.”
With its new decree, “the government of Quebec is embarking on a new territory. It’s no longer about regulating how many people can come to church, as all provinces have done throughout the pandemic, or how they should be organized (physical distancing, etc.), but who can enter the house of God. “
As Bishop of Pembroke Guy Desrochers wrote in a letter, one must “seriously ask whether the border between what the state can and cannot dictate to different religious communities has been crossed”.
When you look at these people kneeling in the snow outside their church, the answer should be obvious.