There are some silver linings here. A Catholic priest based in Florida is convinced the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will result in a “deepening of faith.”
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, told Fox News over the weekend he is not concerned the lengthy closures of church buildings will diminish worship attendance on Sunday mornings, once the social distancing measures have been lifted.
Much like people will want to return to retail stores and restaurants, Pavone is convinced there will be a pent-up desire to gather, once again, for corporate worship.
“People are going to return to restaurants,” he said. “Why? Because we have a need. We have a need not only for food. We have a need for the social experience of having a meal at a restaurant.”
“Well, similarly, going to church is not a luxury,” he continued. “It is also a need. There’s a deep human need to worship together. They will flock back to church, once it’s safe again to do so. And I’m not at all concerned that worshiping from home virtually will become normalized.”
While Pavone thinks online options will serve to enrich believers’ experiences, he does not see a threat of it usurping the role of physically coming together, because people will always have a “desire” to gather for corporate worship.
Those facts, according to Pavone, bode well for the church.
“It’s an interesting question to consider whether the virus will lead to a spiritual awakening and a deepening of faith in America or a turning away from faith,” he said. “I believe we already see the signs that it is leading to a deepening of faith.”
“The fact that this crisis has occurred during what is the holiest time of year for Christians and Jews alike — our high holy days — were spent in a very different way this year,” the priest added. “That really makes us appreciate the faith even more.”