People keep comparing what we’re living through right now to 9/11. But the first thing I remember besides our friend Barbara Olson’s murder and smoke in the office and people walking around Manhattan streets in shock, posting “missing” signs and placing votive candles on the streets, was the open churches people seemed to be flocking into. We gathered — at National Cathedral with the president and so many other places of worship. Now, at a time when people are perhaps having reflective thoughts like never before, many doors are locked. During this holiest of weeks for so many, there may be no opportunity for sacraments or face-to-face pastoral care.
At the same time, people are open, and technology makes it so that people can connect — and with livestream Masses throughout the day, every day, maybe more people who were curious about the Catholic Mass can participate — or simply look in — in the privacy of their own home. So many resources are available online for anyone looking for spiritual nourishment. And as we are faced with life and death realities in an inescapable way, could this be a time of something like mass conversion?
Robert Nicholson of the Philos Project thinks so. He wrote about it in the Wall Street Journal recently. As we approach Passover and Holy Week, we’re going to talk tomorrow in one of the National Review Institute’s “virus-free forum” calls. You are welcome to join us. RSVP here. More information on NRI’s Center for Religion, Culture, and Civil Society here.