Guest Viewpoint

The concept of Sunday Mass lately has been driving me crazy.

The colossal effort and sacrifice our front-line medical teams and first responders have exhibited is a virtual miracle playing out live on network and local news every evening.

Stay tuned.

With such daily sacrifice in real time, filling up seats in church on Easter Sunday was turning into folly. Luckily, only some churches on the South Side of Chicago attempted services but were thwarted by police, yet, in other states, common sense fell prey to commandments from on high.

I blame our president’s standard method of pointing to a shooting star while all the house cats slip out the back door into the dark night. He began this rally cry weeks ago, blubbering how great it would be if the churches were filled for Sunday Mass on Easter.

Winking at the likes of the ministers in red states and suggesting he’d like to see all the churches filled on Easter was like telling everyone to board the train but failing to tell them the route has a bridge that is still out.

News groups reported the coming.

“A few religious leaders plan on defying social-distancing orders by hosting crowds for services on Easter,” one article reported, “relying only on intervention from God to avoid sickening their congregations.”

I’m happy to be a pragmatic Catholic in Chicago. We couldn’t even get palms on the previous Sunday to construct those tiny lapel crosses, a simple traditional skill learned in the pews of Our Lady of Peace Church in South Shore.

The gall of empowering church ministers in remote areas to come together—at a time when COVID-19 has begun to taper—is ludicrous. No place in today’s world is suited yet to host a full congregation, not even in China and South Korea where social distancing has been effective. However, it’s still not proven that the virus has run its course, nor has there been enough time to disprove boomerang theories.

Last Easter, my wife noted that the president was obsessing about Easter. I joked that he wanted to be the Easter Bunny and hand out candy.

Scribes and other critics noted much of the same and said the president wanted to be Jesus, resurrecting the concept over and over of filling church pews on Easter. One editor said Trump wanted to be God.

Good Friday was giving way to Easter, and we were content to cocoon, except for a call I got on Saturday to jump my brother’s car at County Fair Foods.

With my hat and a black cummerbund over my face, I looked like I came to rob the place.

As the weekend arrived, gloom crept into our home.

Easter baskets were nowhere to be found; no chocolate bunny boxes would be broken into; there were no spongy little yellow chicks, no craft beer bottles to hide in the garden for the afternoon Easter egg hunt.

No traditions were to be kept.

For the first time ever on Easter, there would be no full house. With two kids in a safe haven in Minnesota and another insolated in Rogers Park, our family home descended into a dark house—and it was downright eerie.

In the Saturday night shadows, my wife was flipping the remote control, triggering a pop of blue lights, until, she was taken by “Jaws,” the horror movie that followed Peter Benchley’s “speculative” fiction novel and bestseller.

I sank into the couch, locked in on the movie’s most noteworthy scene.

Sheriff Martin Brody, the new police chief of Amity, in New England, is called to the beach where the mangled body of a young woman has washed ashore. The medical examiner tells Brody that her death could have been from a shark attack.

Amity Mayor Larry Vaughn, desperate for the annual tourism money generated by the coming Fourth of July weekend, wants the sheriff to say the death was caused by a motorboat propeller, instead of by a shark.

Vaughn would appear to be is a mayor who puts money ahead of people’s lives.

Enter Matt Hooper from the Oceanographic Institute, played by vertically challenged actor Richard Dreyfuss (picture Dr. Anthony Fauci), who pleads with town officials to consider the science, and he even threatens to depart if those in charge can’t face reality.

Our own Great White Shark wants everyone back in the water, I mean, to work on May 1.

Back to reality, where Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He’s also a scientist.

No matter who takes credit, under the good doctor’s watch social distancing has worked, yet Fauci fights for airtime at every news conference. The presidential cut-ins now total more than 40 hours and are dominated by blatant propaganda.

While the Dreyfuss character in “Jaws” cackled at similar ignorance, Fauci just rolled his eyes.

On April 13, a blame game was dominating Twitter, and our own leader of the free world re-tweeted “#FireFauci.”

That would be the same president who illustrated his sixth-grade science skills by asking people to crowd into pews too soon and now puts the economy (or his re-election) ahead of science. That would be the same guy who resisted being tested for the coronovirus and now wants everyone to wear a mask but won’t cover up his own mug.

That reminds me of another American cinema classic that includes a great line.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall …”

Editor’s note: Bill Figel is a Morgan Park resident and owner of Figel Public Relations.