The national emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic offers lessons in the care for the sick and frailest people in society, the Bishop of Shrewsbury has said.
In a homily preached in Shrewsbury Cathedral less than an hour before the weekly Thursday applause for NHS and other frontline workers, the Rt Rev. Mark Davies said the crisis had brought society together in renewed recognition of the moral vision of the value and dignity of every human person.
Bishop Davies said the public health crisis had shown that “science” alone cannot serve as a sufficient guide in how to treat all people humanely.
He paid tribute to the dedication and self-sacrifice of health and key workers who heeded the Gospel imperative to “love and serve those in greatest need”.
But he also noted at the Mass for coronavirus victims and health and social care employees and other key frontline workers, that the country is facing searching questions as to how, at the height of the pandemic, “we valued the frailest members of society”.
These included the elderly in care homes and unborn children and their mothers, who, he said, were “assaulted by a sinister measure of the Department of Health to promote ‘do-it-yourself’ abortion in the first days of the crisis”.
During the Mass, which was watched via live-stream by an online congregation of thousands of people, Bishop Davies reminded viewers that the country’s noble vision of healthcare had begun with Christian inspiration and not “by an initiative of the State”.
He said that the national applause every Thursday evening was worthily directed to the love and sacrifices seen in frontline workers more than to the operation of systems.
Bishop Davies prayed that appreciation of such love and sacrifice in care for the weakest members of society would remain in the hearts of the public long after the crisis is over.
The Mass from Shrewsbury Cathedral on 21st May was the latest in a series of live-streamed Masses celebrated by the Catholic bishops of England and Wales for the victims of the crisis in the hour before the national applause.