A leading Catholic pro-life advocate declared that the novel coronavirus pandemic is a “chastisement” by God for the sin of abortion.
John Smeaton, Chief Executive of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, the first and largest pro-life organization in the United Kingdom, declared in a Facebook post on Monday that “Boris Johnson’s government does not realise that the coronavirus is a chastisement for, amongst other things, the killing of innocent children in the womb.”
Smeaton’s statement was a commentary on an announcement by the British government that it would allow women to conduct chemical abortions at home amid the pandemic.
Shortly thereafter, a spokesperson of the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care retracted the announcement, saying, “This was published in error. There will be no changes to abortion regulations.”
LifeSiteNews followed up with Smeaton anyway in order to gain clarity on his remarks.
Although “it’s a prudential judgement whether a particular terrible disaster is a chastisement,” Smeaton pointed to a number of characteristics of the pandemic that he believes are in line with the definition of a chastisement, such as the “deprivation from Catholics worldwide of the Holy Eucharist,” which he said was “unprecedented.”
This deprivation, he said, “reminds us painfully of the shameful abuse of the Body and Blood of Our Lord which is commonly observed at Masses throughout the world, in particular at Novus Ordo Masses where Communion in the hand has led to countless sacrileges taking place.”
Smeaton went on to explain that abortion has killed “between one to two billion” people in the world in the last 50 years. “That’s more people killed than all the people killed in all the wars in the whole of recorded human history.”
“Every one of these children was killed in the heart of an individual family so each abortion has the possibility of darkening the consciences of many more than one person,” Smeaton added.
Smeaton also pointed to the promotion of the LGBT agenda in schools, “not least by individual Catholic bishops and by, for example, the entire Conference of Catholic Bishops of England and Wales,” something Smeaton feels is “a sin that’s even worse than abortion and might well provoke God’s anger in a terrible chastisement.”
Smeaton pointed to remarks made by Italian historian Roberto de Mattei for historical precedents for chastisements, noting that Europe in the 21st century and the 14th century was fraught with famine, plagues, and war, which “many great saints” taught were “signs of God’s chastisement.”
“Saint Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444) admonished: Tria sunt flagella quibus Dominus castigat: there are three scourges with which God chastises: war, plague, and famine,” de Mattei said, according to LifeSite.
Smeaton explained that “the whole of mankind is punished by sin – by both original sin and by individual sins.” As Christ took our sins upon himself, he added, “we are called to share in Christ’s sufferings for the sins of mankind.”
“Pro-life leaders, myself included, can be guilty of all sorts of sins and we must all examine our consciences,” Smeaton continued, “but I can honestly say that my comment that the coronavirus is a chastisement is based on reasonable grounds, of the kind I’ve mentioned, and not self-interest.”
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