Detention for ALL

08-08-2021Pastor's LetterFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

As the school year starts up once again, you may recall back in your school days when someone did something wrong in the class but the teacher did not know who did it, the entire class got punished. Even though you weren’t the perpetrator you had to suffer the consequences. The teacher’s strategy was to get someone to turn in the guilty party. Of course, the worse the consequences were, the sooner someone would turn in the perpetrator. Or maybe with enough peer pressure the guilty party would actually turn themselves in.

I kind of got the same feeling when I saw the latest “guidance” from the CDC on the donning of facial couture. They are suggesting now, that vaccinated people wear a mask once again. The reason for the change in guidance is that some people are not vaccinated. So basically, we are all getting punished, because some people for whatever reason chose not to get vaccinated. I guess the idea is to put enough peer pressure on the unvaccinated to turn themselves in to get the jab.

Here we go again! Ugh! The latest guidance is neither solid medical science nor good public health messaging but a form of social engineering. The real problem with the masks is that no good evidence has been presented to demonstrate their effectiveness (other than the N95 masks which are effective but hard to breath in for long periods). Now for most of us that is little concern but for the highly vulnerable the mask can give a false sense of security. It may or may not be effective protection, so a highly vulnerable person needs to take that into consideration. The best way to proceed is to speak with your trusted medical provider. DO NOT RELY ON DR. GOOGLE or what you read on line. You are a unique person with a unique medical history and your physician is the best one to guide you on how to proceed during an outbreak.

This past year and half, it almost feels like we are all participants on an extended episode of the TV show Fear Factor. And of course, if we give into fear, two things tend to happen, our immune systems get weakened and we are more susceptible to sickness and we also make really bad decisions. The issue of wearing a mask or not is explosive unlike any other issue I have had to deal with over the years. Masks very quickly became a litmus test, not for how serious or not a person considered COVID-19, nor whether a mask was effective or not, but for a person’s politics.

It very quickly ceased to have any connection to public health but everything to do with partisan politics. And to a lesser extent masks revealed the personalities that follow rules/directions and those who sometimes do and sometimes don’t. That part is pretty expected, anyone who has raised children knows how different personalities react to rules.

Almost from the start, pastors of all strips heard this: if you don't make them wear masks, I’m not coming and if you do make them wear masks, I’m not coming. Great. Talk about a losing proposition. This one issue more than any other has turned people against each other, divided families, made work places hostile and ruined friendships. Every pastor had to ask, “how do I make as many people comfortable as possible coming to Church and if masks are mandatory how do I enforce that?” You probably saw how one pastor in Dallas enforced it: he had a pregnant mother who was holding a one year old, who had taken her mask off because she was feeling nauseous, taken out of Mass by the police in handcuffs. You might think that extreme, but enforcement is enforcement. Still that’s not something I could ever do.

A few things I have noticed over the past year and a half is that most infections occur in close environments, like homes. Larger spaces, like Churches, Supermarkets have much better air flow and movement and the virus dissipates quickly in the air. I have also learned that this virus is resilient and the lock downs and other measures only slow it down. So, we just have to keep trying to dodge it until it subsides. Though it looks like it is here to stay as another respiratory virus we have to watch out for.

And remember this: if you wear a mask you are trying to protect yourself and likewise if you are vaccinated you are trying to protect yourself. PERIOD. Don't worry about who’s wearing a mask or not or who’s vaccinated or not. Think of it this way if you are wearing a mask and are concerned that someone else is not, do you really believe then mask you are wearing is actually protecting you? But more importantly, you don't want to turn into the mask police.

So, do not be afraid, “He’s got the whole world in his hands” even a COVID-19 world!