4/1 Coronavirus Tracker: The church after the pandemic, 'very bad' weeks ahead

Joshua J. McElwee

News Editor

View Author Profile


Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts to Letters to the Editor. Learn more

Welcome to NCR's Coronavirus Tracker, where you can find the latest news about the coronavirus pandemic as it relates to the Catholic Church and other institutions. We hope you find it useful in navigating these complex times and welcome your suggestions for how we might improve it. We're currently updating the Tracker twice a day, early in the morning and late in the afternoon. To receive the Coronavirus Tracker by email each weekday afternoon, sign up here. The Tracker was last updated at 4:50 pm EDT.

'It's Like a Lifeline.' How Religious Leaders Are Helping People Stay Connected in a Time of Isolation

TIME, April 1

Instead of going into hibernation for the duration of the outbreak, many religious communities have instead expanded their role in the lives of their members and the wider community

Texas pastors demand a "religious liberty" exemption to coronavirus stay-at-home orders

Vox, April 1

A restriction on in-person worship services in Texas has sparked a lawsuit, filed by three Texas Pastors.

Prelate advises cellphones can't be used to administer sacraments

Catholic News Service, April 1

Administering the sacrament of reconciliation via cellphone is impermissible under church teaching, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Divine Worship.

Vatican approves special 'Mass in the Time of Pandemic'

Catholic News Service, April 1

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments has approved a special "Mass in the Time of Pandemic" to plead for God's mercy and gift of strength in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cardinal Tagle, in new position, looks for lessons learned in lockdown

Catholic News Service, April 1

Starting a new job always involves a learning curve, but Filipino Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle got much more than he bargained for when he moved to Rome in February to begin his duties as prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Chaplain at the 'epicenter of the epicenter' in New York City prays with, anoints the sick

Peter Feuerherd (NCR), April 1

It's the end of a long shift as a hospital chaplain in Queens, New York, and Fr. Radu Titonea's voice while talking on the phone March 30 is a little raspy. He lets out a mild cough.

"It is not coronavirus," he assures a listener. He offers a joke. "You can't transmit it through the phone," he says.

Catholic leaders urge governments to protect indigenous during pandemic

Catholic News Service, April 1

Many indigenous people, especially in the Amazon basin, live in remote areas far from medical facilities or in precarious housing on the edges of urban areas, often without water and sewer service.

The church after coronavirus: How our communities are changing

NCR, April 1

The coronavirus pandemic is fundamentally changing how we do and be church.

Over the past week, NCR surveyed two dozen theologians, social directors, non-profit leaders and pastors, asking them each to consider how our response to the pandemic may affect us in years to come. Part one: questions of community.

Pandemic crisis reveals impoverished understanding of solidarity

Michael Sean Winters (NCR), April 1 

I hope that some brilliant researcher will find a cure for the coronavirus. Today, let's try slaying some of the ideological stupidities the crisis has brought into focus.

For the love of God (literally), stay home, be safe and pray

Daniel P. Horan (NCR), April 1 

Disregard for the necessary quarantine protocols and social distancing practices required to provide some basic measures to help stem the spread of the novel coronavirus and prevent healthcare systems from being irreparably overwhelmed is, frankly, abhorrent.

Coronavirus cancels elaborate Brazilian religious processions

Eduardo Campos Lima (NCR), April 1 

Several processions and festivities in honor of Catholic saints in Brazil had to be cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, an unprecedented interruption of centuries-old traditions that impacted thousands of participants. Most communities, however, understood this is not the time for great agglomerations and are waiting for a better moment to resume their activities.

Released from quarantine into social distancing

Tom Reese (RNS), March 31 

After 14 days in quarantine, my Jesuit community in Washington, D.C., has been officially released from quarantine. We're happy and lucky that none of us caught COVID-19 from our brother who contracted it. 

Then again, it's hard to take too much joy in being released before infections have even peaked in the United States. It feels like being released from jail into a war zone.


27 Pictures of Religion During The Coronavirus Pandemic

BuzzFeed News, March 31

Religious groups across all creeds are coming to terms with a new normal in which socially distant does not have to mean spiritually apart.

Stimulus does little to stifle Covid-19 fears in the undocumented community

America, March 31 

Until about a week ago, Margarita Aguila worked full time as a seamstress. Her husband, who works as a delivery driver for a number of businesses, including hospitals and schools, saw his hours cut drastically from more than 40 hours a week to as few as 12. When California implemented stay-at-home measures, the family lost their livelihoods completely.

An Italian I.C.U. doctor describes the desperate fight against Covid-19 in Lombardy

America, March 31 

The health care structures in northern Italy, especially Lombardy, "were in great difficulty right from the beginning," Dr. Renata Ghelardi told America from the Vizzolo Predabissi Hospital, where she works.

Papacies in Lockdown: How does the pandemic compare to crises of the past?

Commonweal, March 31 

Governments around the world are comparing the fight against the pandemic to war, and whether or not you agree with the metaphor, Pope Francis and the Vatican do face a "warlike" situation. Italy is in lockdown, the rites of Holy Week and the Easter liturgy will be celebrated without people present, and a papal trip to Malta planned for May has been postponed indefinitely.

More than half of Americans have prayed for the end of coronavirus, poll finds

The Washington Post, March 30 

The national efforts to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus have played a dramatic role in changing people’s work, school and public gatherings over the past several weeks. And in response, a majority of Americans have prayed for the end of the pandemic, according to a poll from the Pew Research Center.

Trump projects up to 240,000 coronavirus deaths in U.S., even with mitigation efforts

The Washington Post, March 31 

President Trump and the physicians advising the federal pandemic response on Tuesday delivered a bleak outlook for the novel coronavirus’s spread across the country, predicting a best-case scenario of 100,000 to 240,000 fatalities in the United States and summoning all Americans to make additional sacrifices to slow the spread.

Exclusive: Captain of aircraft carrier with growing coronavirus outbreak pleads for help from Navy

San Francisco Chronicle, March 31 

The captain of a nuclear aircraft carrier with more than 100 sailors infected with the coronavirus pleaded Monday with U.S. Navy officials for resources to allow isolation of his entire crew and avoid possible deaths in a situation he described as quickly deteriorating.

Coronavirus Spreads in Veterans’ Home, Leaving ‘Shuddering Loss for Us All’

The New York Times, March 31 

The mayor of Holyoke in Massachusetts confronted the superintendent of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home after hearing rumors that infections were spreading.

Justice Department Looking Into Senator's Stock Sell-Off

NPR, March 31 

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr sold off a large amount of stocks before the coronavirus market crash, and now the Justice Department is looking into his statements around this time period, NPR can report.

Singing stops in Italy as fear and social unrest mount

The Guardian, April 1 

A few days into Italy’s lockdown, people across the country sang and played music from their balconies as they came together to say “Everything will be alright” (Andrà tutto bene). Three weeks on, the singing has stopped and social unrest is mounting as a significant part of the population, especially in the poorer south, realise that everything is not all right.

FDA approves two-minute novel coronavirus antibody testing kit

SlashGear, March 31 

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a coronavirus testing kit from Bodysphere, one that can detect antibodies related to the virus in only two minutes. The test will be deployed in states around the country, enabling healthcare facilities to test for signs that the patient had contracted the virus at some point. The testing kit is only intended for use by medical professionals, however.

This story appears in the Coronavirus Tracker feature series. View the full series.

In This Series


1x per dayDaily Newsletters
1x per weekWeekly Newsletters
2x WeeklyBiweekly Newsletters