New York City Archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan says the novel coronavirus pandemic has him as busy as ever.
He told Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning on Tuesday that the reality of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York set in after a few days of widespread cancellations. Now he and many Tri-State area clergy are back in the saddle, doing counseling and conducting the business of their parishes via the Internet or over the phone.
Cardinal Dolan says the gravity of the situation in New York — the epicenter of the outbreak in America — has many people searching for comfort in the church and wisdom from the Bible.
He recommends perusing the Book of Psalms for inspiration during dark times. He made note of a few of his favorite passages.
"There's a couple quotes that really lift me up that I share with others," he said. "The first one, believe it or not, Len and Michael, is the most frequently repeated passage in all of the Bible, and that's 'Be not afraid.' Be not afraid, because a lot of our people are admitting a fear, an apprehension, a worry. Number two, the words of Jesus: 'Fear is useless, what is needed is trust.'"
Cardinal Dolan continued, noting that with so much uncertainty in the world, people should consider the difference between fear and worry.
"Look, there's a big difference between worry, which is counterproductive, and concern," he said. "Concern is good; concern is a virtue. Concern is productive and uplifting, it kind of triggers responsible sentiments within us. But worry, worry we get tangled up; we're covering ourselves in bed with the blankets. We're afraid to get out of the bed."
He added the the Book of Job has a lot of salient lessons for people who are sick or fearful of getting sick.
"What's even more telling with Job is he was an innocent, good, virtuous man," Dolan said. "...When you see innocent suffering like with Job, when you see [an] elderly neighbor, who's just the most gracious woman in the world trembling in fear that she's going to get [sick], or our teachers our healthcare professionals ... That's where the Book of Job comes in handy because that's what he was. The problem of innocent suffering is as old as the Garden of Eden."
St. Peter's Church in Manhattan is currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The church recommends keeping up with it on Facebook for news on when it reopens.
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