In his letter to the Church in Ephesus Paul warns the faithful to be ready for a spiritual battle. In his other writings, Paul encouraged his audience to be on guard for false apostles who might appear as an angel of light (2 Cor 11: 13-14) and to be ready for the “craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14). While spiritual warfare has been going on since the infamous incident in Eden, many assume that this battle has since subsided given it’s hard to see it in our world today. However, some prominent figures in the Church today are sounding the bells that this pandemic has brought the spiritual battle out in the open.
Recently, a group of Catholic Cardinals, Bishops, priests, and influential academics have signed an appeal “for the Church and the world.” The letter warns people that the while the COVID-19 pandemic is a real threat, the virus is being used as a pretext by world leaders to restrict the church, control people, strip them of their fundamental rights while providing a “disturbing prelude to the realization of a world government beyond all control.”
This letter is a bold statement. It is a direct announcement that we are smack dab in the middle of a spiritual battle that is attempting to strip down the Church and human dignity along with it. Now, many people see this manifesto as a conservative overreaction or some sort of “conspiracy theory.” Rather than just dismiss this assertion by high ranking officials in the Church as a conspiracy theory, we will examine if evidence shows that this appeal is justified. As the apostle, John, announced to “test every spirit” (1 John 4:1) we too must look at the data and the surrounding context to figure out if these shepherds are trying to warn the faithful of a legitimate threat or if they are just crying wolf.
The summary statement of the appeal states; “We have reason to believe, on the basis of official data on the incidence of the epidemic as related to the number of deaths, that there are powers interested in creating panic among the world’s population with the sole aim of permanently imposing unacceptable forms of restriction on freedoms, of controlling people and of tracking their movements. The imposition of these illiberal measures is a disturbing prelude to the realization of a world government beyond all control.”
The main contention of the letter is that world officials are using the virus to create alarm and fear within the public and control the functionality within the church. Putting one in this anxious state, they can then use the situation to implement a dubious agenda in which powerful people can control how others think. So, the first question we must ask – how big of a problem is the COVID virus in the big picture?
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, in a typical year of seasonal outbreaks across the globe, influenza virus causes as many as 5 million cases of severe illness in humans and 500,000 deaths. To date, COVID has infected 5 million globally with a “projection” of 330,000 deaths.
In drilling down to most local levels, they certainly don’t suggest one should go into panic mode. Of the 7 million residents in Tennessee, there have been roughly 20,000 cases of COVID. This represents less than 1% of the population in Tennessee (even if the cases were 60,000 this is still less than 1%).
Moreover, reports show that the chance of recovery from the coronavirus is about 98%. And some models show that 50% of the population may have already had it, never knew they had it, and recovered. If true, this would jump the recovery rate to well over 99%.
Initially, world officials and the media warned us of models of 2 million deaths in the U.S. The Bill Gates-funded IHME model that predicted the 2 million deaths in the U.S. has since been proven to be flawed. In April, the IHME adjusted their predictions from the 2 million down to a rather vague estimate range of “34,063 to 140,381.”
Epidemiologist Ruth Etzioni of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center exposed the confusion of the IHME model. As she stated, “That the IHME model keeps changing is evidence of its lack of reliability as a predictive tool. That it is being used for policy decisions and its results interpreted wrongly is a travesty unfolding before our eyes.”
Even the CDC numbers are called into question. The CDC recently reduced its death count by 30,000 because as even pro CDC advocates admit, the CDC death toll is based on “probable deaths” of unknown projections rather than real-time data. Deborah Brix speaking about the CDC projections has stated, “There is nothing from the CDC I can trust.”
There exists a massive confusion about the accuracy of these COVID models. The State of Pennsylvania removed 200 names from their death toll because of suspect data. In fact, we see evidence of inflating the death rate by defining a COVID-19 death using vague terms. For example, a “probable death” is one that a doctor believes is caused by COVID-19, even though the patient is never tested for the virus.
While the deaths of coronavirus are tragic, we must put them in a big-picture perspective. Within even these unreliable COVID death projections, numbers reveal that the vast majority of fatalities suffered from significant pre-existing conditions. Of those that have died from COVID without pre-existing conditions is 0.9%
The full context of a crisis matters when comparing it with other potential harms. In comparing coronavirus deaths to other areas Bill Bennett has noted, “In any given month in America, we lose about 54,000 Americans to heart disease; 50,000 to cancer; 14,000 to asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema; 12,000 to stroke; 10,000 to Alzheimer’s; 7,000 to diabetes; 5,600 to drug overdoses; and 4,700 to influenza and pneumonia.
If the death and infection rate of COVID is called into question, what about the lockdown solution?
This too has been called into question in the detailed report of Professor Yitzhak Ben Israel of Tel Aviv University. Yitzhak also serves on the research and development advisory board for Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. He plotted the rates of new coronavirus infections in various countries. His numbers tell a shocking story: irrespective of whether the country quarantined like Israel, or went about with business as usual like Sweden, coronavirus peaked and subsided in the exact same way. His data showed that the number of infected peaked in the sixth week and subsidized by the eighth week. As he wrote, “It [covid] is a fixed pattern that is not dependent on freedom or quarantine. “There is a decline in the number of infections even [in countries] without closures, and it is similar to the countries with closures.”
At the same time, a Stanford University study of the virus in Santa Clara County in California has revealed what some have suspected all along – that this virus is only slightly more lethal than the common flu. The study indicates that the total number of infections has been underreported by as much as 85 times, which means the death rate has been greatly overestimated. Another study from the University of Southern California for Los Angeles County finds an underreporting of total cases by as much as 55 times, yielding an actual death rate ranging from “around 0.14% to 0.28%.” A death rate of 0.14% is more in-line with a heavy flu season – such as in 2018 when 80,000 people in the U.S. died as a result of the flu.
Some prominent doctors have been calling to lift the shut down as they believe COVID can be eliminated through herd immunity, in which enough people have some degree of immunity to the virus that it becomes difficult for infections to spread. A group of 600 doctors signed a letter to the President urging him to open the country back up again otherwise the shut down could end-up worsening people’s health in failing to develop one’s natural immunity to this virus. As urgent care doctors have stated “We understand microbiology, we understand immunology and we want strong immune systems. . . I don’t want to stay in my home and develop a weak immune system and then come out and get a disease.”
Given this data, the signers of the Catholic appeal offer us sound advice that there exists an unnecessary panic when we apply the COVID virus in the larger picture of a truly global crisis.
When people are in a state of panic and fear, they are more easily persuaded to believe things without ever analyzing them. In fact, neuroscience shows us that when a person becomes anxious or overly emotional, the logical part of their brain designed to critically think does not work properly. Therefore, in a state of panic we’re more inclined to bow down to irrational behavior.
The signatories of the appeal also view the coronavirus lockdown measures around the world as a violation of individuals’ civil liberties in which powers at work in society are “permanently imposing unacceptable forms of restriction on freedoms, of controlling people and of tracking their movements.”
Is the COVID-19 an imposition on our civil liberties? In America, we recognize that The Bill of Rights protects our rights, of which the first amendment outlines the right to free speech, religious practice, peaceful assemble, as well as outlining other fundamental rights without outside restrictions. However, evidence now surfaces in which these basic rights are being casually dismissed by elected officials. On his show, Tucker Carlson asked Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey in mid-April. “By what authority did you nullify the Bill of Rights in issuing this [quarantine] order? How do you have the power to do that?” Murphy replied, “That’s above my pay grade, Tucker. I wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this.”
Here, the governor of New Jersey is readily admitting that our Constitutional rights were given no emphasis in the response to a virus outbreak. Are we to believe the founders put a disclaimer at the bottom of the Bill of Rights that would say: “If there is a virus, all of this stuff is meaningless.” No. In fact, Attorney General Bill Barr is highly concerned that our rights are being trampled. Barr went on to say, “Whatever powers the government has, whether it be the president or the state governor, still is bounded by constitutional rights of the individual. Our federal constitutional rights don’t go away in an emergency. They constrain what the government can do.”
The Justice Department under Barr’s direction has intervened in the case in which The City of Greenville, MS fined congregants for attending a church parking lot service in which they maintained social distancing by remaining in their car with their windows rolled up. In this case, The City seemed to signal out this church whereas drive-in restaurants in which car windows were rolled down was permitted. Barr went on to say of this case, The City appears to have thereby singled churches out as the only essential service (as designated by the state of Mississippi) that may not operate despite following all CDC and state recommendations regarding social distancing.
In numerous ways religious institutions seem to be picked on in this pandemic. Why is the Governor of Minnesota willing to open up malls, salons, tattoo parlors, and casinos, but insisting churches can’t open yet?
So, is there evidence of secular over-reach in this crisis that violates people’s individual rights and unfairly signals out religious institutions? Yes, and the U.S. attorney general echoes the concerns outlined in the Catholic appeal. Without constitutional safeguards, tyranny can run amok on one’s way of life.
The letter of appeal also cautions governments from enacting measures to control people through “tracking systems or any other form of location-finding.” Moreover, the group warns that this crisis can be used as an excuse for increasing levels of media censorship and removing dissenting voices. Interestingly, cultures that have lived through a police state acknowledge that its existence came about in a slow, methodical way. Father Dave Nix noted in his article that a tyrannical government usually surfaces with these four hallmarks:
No. 1: Draconian laws depriving citizens of elementary civil rights.
No. 2: A mass media supportive of the state’s messaging and deprivation of rights.
No. 3: Use of police.
No. 4: Snitches
Is our situation a conspiracy in which we are painting concerned government officials as equivalent to those in a totalitarian police state akin to communism? Well, again, we showed that point no. 1 is a valid concern.
Point no. 2 can be seen in the media’s continuous “stay safe, stay at home” motto as a sort of brain-washing in which people repeat this catchy phrase without ever asking if it makes any logical sense. When the media and public officials repeat the slogan “stay safe” what they really mean is you need to create an environment in which one is 100% safe. Given that we live in a fallen world, the idea that we can exist in a setting where one is perfectly safe is, in fact, impossible. A person becomes unsafe the second they venture out of their house and drive a car. The individual American driver’s odds of dying as a result of an injury sustained in an automobile crash comes to a ratio of about 1 in 77. Being perfectly safe is impossible for anything. If you go to college, you aren’t 100% safe. If you get a job, you won’t be 100% safe. If you talk to people, you won’t be 100% safe. One would frankly have to have an incredibly restrictive, boring, pathetic life if he attempted to live with 100% safety at all times. Ironically, what is not safe is to curtail a whole economy, people’s lives, and jeopardize one’s rights for a virus that has a 99% recovery rate.
Building more on this “stay safe” motto, the media exercises intense pressure on people to wear the mask so much so if one doesn’t wear a mask, he must be a menace to society. Yet, before sheepishly nodding in approval of the media’s mask theory, we must first ask if they are even necessary. It should be noted that in late 2019 the World Health Organization advised that masks are necessary only for those caring for someone with the virus or those who are coughing and sneezing.
Anthony Fauci said on March 8 during an interview with Sixty Minutes, “Right now, there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask. When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little better and even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is.”
There was also a South Korean study, published in the prestigious journal Annals of Internal Medicine, which confirms what reason had long ago made obvious: that virus particles are much smaller than the pores of fabric in the masks that people are told they must wear. The study concluded that “Neither surgical nor cotton masks effectively filtered SARS–CoV-2 during coughs by infected patients” and that “both surgical and cotton masks seem to be ineffective in preventing the dissemination of SARS–CoV-2 from the coughs of patients with COVID-19 to the environment and external mask surface.” That is, the masks not only fail to protect bystanders from coughing and sneezing, they are themselves a source of viral contamination. So why is the media so obsessed with people wearing a mask?
We can witness point no. 3 as law enforcement arrests have dramatically increased during this crisis. In Kentucky, police wrote down license plates of people that attended a church parking lot service. In Rhode Island, state troopers would stop anyone with a New York license plate and in some cases go door-to-door to ask residents if they were from New York. Some states are using drones as a measure for tracking purposes and to break-up large gatherings. Michigan banned gatherings between family and friends. In Philadelphia, a man was forcibly removed from a bus for not having a mask. A similar scene happened in New York in which police wrestled a woman to the ground for not having a mask on.
These incidents certainly paint a picture of an over-aggressive police state of control. In fact, some states are having health officials report the addresses of those who have tested positive to COVID-19 over to the police.
Does this seem a bit excessive police involvement for a virus that has a recovery rate of 99% and an infection rate of 1-3% nationally? I’d say so. As for the snitch component, many states have encouraged residents ways to report those who’ve violated the stay-at-home order.
There has been other proposed Orwellian testing process announced as needing an “army of officials to trace people” using drones and cell phones to track people’s whereabouts, mandatory vaccinations, and the proposed legally mandated wearing of a government-issued certificate. In fact, a majority of Democrats just proposed an ominous 6666 bill for COVID tracing across the country. We also have the likes of billionaire Bill Gates who called for a national tracking system for those that tested positive for the virus.
Moreover, this controlling concern in the Bishop’s appeal is seen as internet and media giants are monitoring what information a person is allowed to take in. An article written by Atlantic demonstrates the examples of this in which the author goes as far to openly support “speech control.” As the author states, “Significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure the internet is compatible with a society’s norms and values.” In other words, the tech gurus use the word “society” as a cover to essentially remove opposite ideas and data they don’t approve of.
Tucker Carlson had a segment on Fox News highlighting how Dr. Erickson MD (the doctor who countered corona-hype with data that was unwelcome) was pulled from numerous internet platforms. The CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki, justified this removal by saying “anything that would go against World Health Organization” would be removed from YouTube. Eliminating dissenting views is a typical police state tactic. Therefore, if what a person is saying doesn’t fit nicely into the narrative of the authoritative rule, they will be removed.
This de-platforming technique and the strategy to respond to legitimate concerns by merely chanting “conspiracy theory” reveals the typical game plan of totalitarian regimes – silence the opponent instead of intelligently responding to facts. It’s the old strategy if you don’t like the message, take down the messenger.
The other area the Catholic shepherds camp out on is the implementation of a one-world government. As Cardinal Mueller remarked, “The imposition of these illiberal measures is a disturbing prelude to the realization of a world government beyond all control. No one can be forced to believe that a few ‘philanthropic’ super billionaires have the best programs for world improvement just because they have succeeded in accumulating a huge private fortune.”
It’s an unfortunate feature of the modern world, that most of the world’s wealth has fallen into the hands of a few dozen people. And these billionaires act as large donors and financiers in politics have great influence over the affairs in governing one’s life. The highly influential progressive billionaire George Soros stated in an interview that we are in a “revolutionary moment” with this crisis. He then noted that no one “knows how capitalism will evolve” in the economic fall out of COVID. Soros went on and on about the European Union and why it needs to be completed to manage this “new normal.” The EU represents a microcosm of a globalist society in which one entity of unelected officials determine how the masses will live. Of course, his EU dream is that individual countries and citizens must bow down to the larger governing force of unknown bureaucrats and billionaire beneficiaries.
Yes, controlling, power-hungry billionaires, typically want everyone to think as they do, and they’ll never let a crisis go to waste. As more power-brokers enter the realm of authority, there can exist a mentality to establish this ever-repeated one world order philosophy. This is seen in George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, which alleges to advance “justice, education, public health, and independent media,” but, in fact, pushes a leftist, globalist agenda. Steve Jalsevec and Michael Matt give a convincing argument as to the Bishop’s appeal of this distributing “world government” with over-reaching authority.
If anything, the reaction to close down the economy for a virus with a 99% recovery smells more like a political tactic. That is, better to tank the economy so Trump does not get re-elected and usher in a big-government setting that resembles socialism and Soros’ world government option.
The Bishops’ appeal also references that the containment measures for the virus have ushered in an even bigger crisis than the threat of the virus itself. Here, the letter asserts that famous phrase – the solution is worse than the problem. In the cry to do absolutely anything possible to avoid those deaths which might be hastened by COVID-19, what about all the deaths and suffering which will be caused by a disproportionate overreaction to COVID?
In the U.S. the lock-down had resulted in 35 million people unemployed. This unemployment ensues psychological stress which, in turn, will increase a myriad of problems. A Reuters study provides a detailed investigation that outlines how the shelter-in-place has caused catastrophic psychological and physical consequences that include: suicides, alcohol and drug addiction, domestic violence, derailed education, psychological stress, shorter life spans, and a decrease in public health services for the handicapped and special needs.
Moreover, reports are surfacing that these COVID containment measures will bring about a world-wide food shortage and ensuing famine of epic proportions.
This lock-down will also trigger and immense drug and alcohol relapse for people struggling with addictions. As one drug rehab director said, “I’m hard-pressed to think of a bigger relapse trigger than what we’re going through now as a country.”
Michael Levitt, professor of structural biology at Stanford Medical School and winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in chemistry, recently stated, “There is no doubt in my mind that when we come to look back on this, the damage done by lockdown will exceed any saving of lives by a huge factor.”
This mass hysteria has caused an avalanche of suffering outside of the COVID-19 death problem. To understand the logic of not having a solution become worse than the problem, imagine that a home was infested with termites. But, in order to destroy the termites the solution was to burn down the house. Yes, termites in the home are bad but the solution to burn down the house becomes disproportionately worse than the original problem of termites.
One of the ways to identify if a crisis is being used as a cover for other motives is if those in authority that implements solutions don’t themselves follow it. Obviously, by not following their own guidelines, they are acknowledging that their internal beliefs are focused on something else.
Interestingly, Neil Ferguson, the main scientist who encouraged the lockdown in the UK violated his own social distancing law when he met with his married lover in his home. Incidentally, his lover lives with her husband and their children in another house, but this didn’t stop him from having an intimate meeting with her. There is the other incident when the Chicago mayor disobeyed her own shelter-in-place order and went out for a non-essential hair cut. Then, there was the report that CNN Chris Cuomo violated the quarantine guidelines that he promotes and that was being enforced by his brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. There was the CNN reporter who constantly lectured people about the importance of wearing a mask. She was then caught on camera removing her mask as soon as she was told the TV cameras were off. Then, there was the Vanity Fair interview with Anthony Fauci. When asked about those who want to meet another on a dating app such as Tinder for an “intimate encounter”, Fauci said, “If you want to go a little bit more intimate, well, then that’s your choice regarding a risk.”
But Fauci doesn’t want anyone to have a choice when it comes to opening up the economy as he’s mentioned its too dangerous to reopen the country until testing ramps up. Yet, if you want to engage in risky sexual behavior he thinks it’s “your choice,” however if we want to open up the country again to normalcy, it’s his choice?
Fauci’s slip-up here is reveling. It demonstrates that the lockdown authority that is sucking the life out of this country has nothing to do with “saving lives” and everything to do with social engineering for the “post-COVID world” as the Catholic shepherds in the appeal warn us. According to Fauci and others, given the virus, normal social, religious, and economic activities are forbidden while sexual sins are allowed to continue without restriction. This bizarre logic reveals the true agenda of powerful elites – to use this virus to fundamentally change the world into their vision of a modern utopia.
We were told that the shutdown was merely to flatten the curve so our hospitals and healthcare providers are not inundated by a massive flood of patients. That we need to spread infections out lest the medical resources become depleted. However, we stand today in which most hospitals are currently not and have not been overly-exhausted. The army field hospital set up in Seattle to help with the excess patients recently closed down because it was not needed at all. In fact, it didn’t even serve one patient. Tenet Healthcare, a significant hospital provider, has indicated that their 66 hospitals are “not being overwhelmed.” The Governor of Florida is also reporting that Florida’s hospitals are not currently overwhelmed. Many other places are signaling that hospitals are operating without being engulfed with COVID patients.
The rhetoric indicates that the goalpost has been moved from “flatten the curve” to now “find a cure.” The shiftiness of these slogans insinuates that the media elites never intended for a 3-4 week lockdown to slow down the infection rate. Rather, as the Catholic appeal suggests they are using this virus for a social and political construct project to suit the desires of the secular left.
As we add up the evidence, we can see that the Catholic bishops who penned this letter of appeal are justified in their concern as we are engaged in a spiritual battle. Even in a court of law, when one witnesses mounting circumstantial evidence coupled with a motive, there exists a reasonable inference to the claim.
Finally, one of the key aspects of this appeal is that government restrictions of liturgical ceremonies needs to be removed. It is a cry to open up the churches. The reason government restrictions need to be removed in the Mass is because the Church takes orders from Jesus Christ, not the state. As the letter indicates,
Let us remember that the Church firmly asserts her autonomy to govern, worship, and teach. This autonomy and freedom are an innate right that Our Lord Jesus Christ has given her for the pursuit of her proper ends. For this reason, as Pastors we firmly assert the right to decide autonomously on the celebration of Mass and the Sacraments. . . The State has no right to interfere, for any reason whatsoever, in the sovereignty of the Church.
Let us stand with those brave men who signed the Catholic appeal to the world. They are sounding the alarm and calling us into battle.