Last week, 24 nations were consecrated to the hearts of Jesus and Mary at Fatima, seeking protection from the Wuhan virus.
The consecration took place at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary in Fatima, Portugal — a popular pilgrimage site after Our Lady appeared repeatedly in 1917.
The two dozen countries were entrusted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary — countries such as Spain, Poland, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
But American Catholics are wondering: Why wasn't the United States on the list? Why didn't the American bishops ask that their country be entrusted to Jesus and Mary?
As fear of the Wuhan virus spread like wildfire this month, every single diocese in the U.S. shut down public Mass.
For most Catholics, the only option is to watch Mass livestreamed on the internet or broadcast on television. Churches in some places are open for private prayer, eucharistic adoration, and the sacrament of confession.
But in the archdiocese of Newark, for example, Cdl. Joseph Tobin announced last week, "All churches and adoration chapels must be closed and locked until further notice. Private prayer in any parish building must be discontinued until further notice."
Tobin made that statement on the Feast of the Annunciation, which honors Our Lady's acceptance of the will of God to bear the Messiah.
The way many bishops have responded to the spread of illness, with so little regard for the spiritual, has further damaged their reputation in the eyes of many devout Catholics.