As Australia fights COVID-19, archbishop says virus changing church ministries

By Elise Ann Allen, 8 April 2020
Archbishop Peter A Comensoli celebrates Mass at the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls. Image: ACBC.


As more Masses and ministries go digital amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, many have argued the pandemic will change the way the Catholic Church evangelises. However, one Australian archbishop has argued that this is not a theoretical discussion for the future but is happening in real time.

For Archbishop Peter Comensoli of Melbourne, the coronavirus crisis is not only forcing the Catholic Church to be more creative in the way it reaches people, but it is also reshaping the way faith is at home.

“Forget about the future, it’s happening already. This is not the future, this is now,” Comensoli said in an interview with Crux. “It’s been extraordinary. It feels like a month, but in this last week alone the shift between doing things in one particular way to now doing things differently is quite extraordinary,” he said.

One important concept Comensoli said is important keep in mind, in his view, is that the opportunity the Catholic Church has now “is not just to move what we already did onto an online platform, but to find genuinely different ways of evangelising, of reaching out to people and letting them know that the Lord is with them and finding ways that they themselves can be a part of the life of the Gospel and the life of the local faith community.”

Personally, Comensoli said he is not frightened of the virus, “but there are many, many people who are, and my role and responsibility is to be able to accompany and carry those who are fearful, who are overwhelmed.”

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With thanks to Crux and Elise Ann Allen, where this article originally appeared.


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