It seems that various places are once again promoting the mask talisman as a protection against viruses.
Wearing a mask does not protect other people from a virus. Wearing ones does not protect you from a virus. I’m not making a political statement, I’m making a statement based on research into the matter.
It should be clearly stated that cloth masks are in fact hazards and potentially increase risk of influenza like illnesses. Even the World Health Organization (of whom I’m no fan) admits as much, “The use of cloth masks (referred to as fabric masks in this document) as an alternative to medical masks is not considered appropriate for protection of health workers based on limited available evidence. One study that evaluated the use of cloth masks in a health care facility found that health care workers using cotton cloth masks were at increased risk of influenza like illness” (Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19).
So many people are wearing cloth masks. These masks are quite possibly increasing the risk and spread of a virus. Wearing such a mask is actually doing harm to your neighbor. Have people been informed of the fact that cloth masks are actually a hazard?
The same document notes that the “medical” masks to be considered safe must be worn following these protocols –
“When using medical masks throughout the entire shift, health workers should make sure that:
the medical mask is changed when wet, soiled, or damaged;
the medical mask is not touched to adjust it or displaced from the face for any reason; if this happens, the mask should be safely removed and replaced; and hand hygiene performed;
the medical mask (as well as other personal protective equipment) is discarded and changed after caring for any patient on contact/droplet precautions for other pathogens” (Ibid).
Are people following these protocols? Are public places? Are churches? Etc.? Just stop and observe how many times people are touching their masks and so forth. If in a medical environment these actions compromises the integrity of a mask, how much more in a non-medical environment.
The same document states, “Taken into account when adopting this approach of targeted continuous medical mask use, including:
• self-contamination due to the manipulation of the mask by contaminated hands;(48, 49)
• potential self-contamination that can occur if medical masks are not changed when wet, soiled or damaged;
• possible development of facial skin lesions, irritant dermatitis or worsening acne, when used frequently for long hours(43, 44, 50)”
Mostly everyone wearing a mask is doing so in a manner that makes it “contaminated.” The mask is then a threat to one’s own health and that of others. Note the wording, “self-contamination can occur …” A person would think that this important information would be made very clear to the public. It has not. They are just told – wear a mask, as if it holds some magical power.
The document also states, “At present, there is no direct evidence (from studies on COVID-19 and in healthy people in the community) on the effectiveness of universal masking of healthy people in the community to prevent infection with respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.” There is no direct evidence. Yet there is direct evidence showing that mask do not stop the transmission of viruses.
Combine this information with the following from someone working in Occupational and Environmental toxicology as a senior industrial hygienist, here is a link to the article/video. The speaker confirms what the WHO document states, medical masks must be used in a proper manner, otherwise they become contaminated themselves. Cloth masks are simply hazards. The speaker states that both medical and cloth masks are impotent to stop a virus. Even in a medical environment, it is not within the function of a medical mask to stop nano-sized viruses.
Most of the “information” promoted by the presstitute and government agencies to justify the use of masks at current is based on “Observational studies.” As far as I can tell, none of the current “recommendations” are based on RCTs – randomized control trials. One author states, “The CDC instead focuses strictly on observational studies completed after Covid-19 began. In general, observational studies are not only of lower quality than RCTs but also are more likely to be politicized, as they can inject the researcher’s judgment more prominently into the inquiry and lend themselves, far more than RCTs, to finding what one wants to find.”
From a very basic standpoint, it seems clear that RCTs are much superior in their results than observational studies. Here is the full article, entitled “Do Masks Work?” It is worth reading. I will not unpack it anymore here.
I understand masks have become an emotional subject. This is too bad. My question has always been – Do masks actually function as popularly claimed (in the MSM and Gov agencies)? As far as I can tell, no. The reasons given are faulty at best. Masks do little to nothing to stop viruses, and in fact the wearing of cloth masks becomes hazardous. Long term wearing and reuse of even “medical” masks seems to be hazardous also. Most masks, since they are almost always used improperly, become bacterial incubators. It seems very plausible that most people wearing masks are doing so improperly and thereby are creating probable bacterial hazard risks for themselves and others.
Here is an interesting article titled “A group of parents sent their kid’s face-masks to a lab for analysis, here’s what they found.” The list includes – Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumonia), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (tuberculosis), Neisseria meningitidis (meningitis, sepsis), to name but a few.
I’m also concerned that some are trying to virtue-ize wearing a mask. It has nothing to do with humility. It has nothing to do with love for neighbor. Although some have been motivated by genuine concern, I think the issue needs to be addressed outside of these potentially emotional appeals. Utilizing only basic appeal to emotional response is a type of fallacy. It is wrong to manipulate Christian feelings to promote mask wearing. I believe the use of “humility, love, and obedience” in this context have been abused (a possible article in and of itself). Yet, a manipulation of sorts takes place, intended or not. Mask according to a realistic consideration have nothing to do with the Christian virtues of humility, love, and obedience. I suppose if someone is dead-set on wearing one, then knock yourself out. But it’s not a virtue.
It is, rather, very possible that long-term mask wearing is a potential harm to one’s self and neighbor. Masks (improperly and pervasively worn as they are) have been indicated to be a very real potential bio hazard.
There is also the psychological aspect to consider, most of all on children and young adults. Such aspects will take time to become even clearer. Given the abundant source of information stating mask are ineffective at stopping viruses, I at times wonder if the forced masking of children does not actually have a psychological intent by the powers that be. If this is so, then the whole topic becomes more sinister in intent. But the reality seems to be, there is and will be a psychological effect. This has been set in motion. One may see a fair amount of folks clinging to the mask like Dumbo to his lucky feather.
Of course there is the whole potentially spiritual aspect involved. I touched briefly on this a while ago. My point here, at current, is not to expound more on such things. Although, the topic of universal masking in Christian worship should be considered very deeply. Most of all in light of the information that masking has little to no physiological benefits. I’ve pondered before, and will again briefly – what does it say, spiritually, when we approach Jesus Christ the God of all in a mask? For certain, it is saying something.
A bit ago, in the comment section, one reader provided an excellent compilation of RTCs and such that touch on the effectiveness of masks (face coverings), most all to prevent viral and microbial transmission.
I believe it to be a fabulous resource, so I pulled it out of the comments to include it in this post. I hope this will make it more accessible to most readers. I will write no more. The following is the excellent resource provided by a reader posting as “fitzhamilton” –
I did my own deep dive into the literature on the mask question a while back, and this is what I found:
The consensus is that surgical and cloth masks are useless in preventing viral and microbial transmission, and if worn for long periods without proper hygiene can be vectors of transmission. N95 or better masks used by properly trained people (properly sealed, frequently changed) in clinical settings are moderately useful.
Cloth masks: Dangerous to your health? April 22, 2015, University of New South Wales https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150422121724.htm
Summary: Respiratory infection is much higher among healthcare workers wearing cloth masks compared to medical masks, research shows. Cloth masks should not be used by workers in any healthcare setting, authors of the new study say.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal Volume 26, Number 5—May 2020 Policy Review
CDC Review since 1946 of masks and influenza (May 2020) Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures.”
Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza. We similarly found limited evidence on the effectiveness of improved hygiene and environmental cleaning. We identified several major knowledge gaps requiring further research, most fundamentally an improved characterization of the modes of person-to-person transmission.
There is limited evidence for face masks’ effectiveness in preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza virus transmission either when worn by the infected person for source control or when worn by uninfected persons to reduce exposure.
Public Health England: Face coverings in the community and COVID-19: a rapid review 26 June 2020
• 28 studies were identified, but none of them provided high level evidence and 15
were non-peer-reviewed preprints (search up to 5 June 2020). The evidence was
mainly theoretical (based on modelling or laboratory studies) and epidemiological
(highly subject to confounders).
• There is weak evidence from epidemiological and modelling studies that mask
wearing in the community may contribute to reducing the spread of COVID-19 and
that early intervention may result in a lower peak infection rate.
• Evidence from modelling studies suggests that beneficial effects of wearing masks
may be increased when combined with other non-pharmaceutical interventions,
such as hand washing and social distancing.
• Limited and weak evidence from laboratory studies suggests that materials such as
cotton and polyester might block droplets with a filtering efficiency similar to medical masks when folded in 2 or 3 layers.
Face masks can play a role in controlling infection in clinical settings when used as part of a comprehensive package of infection control measures. However, the evidence is less clear regarding the use of face masks (or coverings) outside of clinical settings.
Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons (1981) vol. 63 Is a mask necessary in the operating theatre? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2493952/pdf/annrcse01509-0009.pdf
“Summary: No masks were worn in one operating theatre for six months. There was no increase in the incidence of wound infection.”
Annals of Internal medicine Original Research March 2021 Effectiveness of Adding a Mask Recommendation to Other Public Health Measures to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Danish Mask Wearers: A Randomized Controlled Trial https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-6817
“The recommendation to wear surgical masks to supplement other public health measures did not reduce the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate among wearers by more than 50% in a community with modest infection rates, some degree of social distancing, and uncommon general mask use. The data were compatible with lesser degrees of self-protection.
In the first, which included only participants reporting wearing face masks “exactly as instructed,” infection (the primary outcome) occurred in 22 participants (2.0%) in the face mask group and 53 (2.1%) in the control group (between-group difference, −0.2 percentage point [CI, −1.3 to 0.9 percentage point]; P = 0.82) (OR, 0.93 [CI, 0.56 to 1.54]; P = 0.78).”
There was no major statistically significant improvement whatsoever between those who reported wearing face masks exactly as instructed and the control group. The confidence interval was extraordinarily wide and statistically centered on 1.0, or no effect, with a possible range of from ~44% improvement to ~54% increase in risk.
Annals of Internal Medicine, 6 October 2020: Masks for Prevention of Respiratory Virus Infections, Including SARS-CoV-2, in Health Care and Community Settings
A Living Rapid Review https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/full/10.7326/M20-3213
Evidence on mask effectiveness for respiratory infection prevention is stronger in health care than community settings. N95 respirators might reduce SARS-CoV-1 risk versus surgical masks in health care settings, but applicability to SARS-CoV-2 is uncertain.”
Jacobs, J. L. et al. (2009) “Use of surgical face masks to reduce the incidence of the common cold among health care workers in Japan: A randomized controlled trial”, American Journal of Infection Control, Volume 37, Issue 5, 417 – 419.
“N95-masked health-care workers (HCW) were significantly more likely to experience headaches. Face mask use in HCW was not demonstrated to provide benefit in terms of cold symptoms or getting colds.”
Cowling, B. et al. (2010) “Face masks to prevent transmission of influenza virus: A systematic review”, Epidemiology and Infection, 138(4), 449-456. doi:10.1017/S0950268809991658
“None of the studies reviewed showed a benefit from wearing a mask, in either HCW or community members in households (H). See summary Tables 1 and 2 therein.”
bin-Reza et al. (2012) “The use of masks and respirators to prevent transmission of influenza: a systematic review of the scientific evidence”, Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 6(4), 257-267.
“There were 17 eligible studies. […] None of the studies established a conclusive relationship between mask ⁄ respirator use and protection against inﬂuenza infection.”
Smith, J.D. et al. (2016) “Effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks in protecting health care workers from acute respiratory infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis”, CMAJ Mar 2016, cmaj.150835; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.150835
“We identified 6 clinical studies … In the meta-analysis of the clinical studies, we found no significant difference between N95 respirators and surgical masks in associated risk of (a) laboratory-confirmed respiratory infection, (b) influenza-like illness, or (c) reported work-place absenteeism.”
Offeddu, V. et al. (2017) “Effectiveness of Masks and Respirators Against Respiratory Infections in Healthcare Workers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 65, Issue 11, 1 December 2017, Pages 1934-1942, https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix681
“Self-reported assessment of clinical outcomes was prone to bias. Evidence of a protective effect of masks or respirators against verified respiratory infection (VRI) was not statistically significant”; as per Fig. 2c therein: masks studies viruses”
Clinical Infectious Diseases, Volume 65, Issue 11, 1 December 2017, Pages 1934–1942, https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix681
Radonovich, L.J. et al. (2019) “N95 Respirators vs Medical Masks for Preventing Influenza Among Health Care Personnel: A Randomized Clinical Trial”, JAMA. 2019; 322(9): 824-833. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.11645
“Among 2862 randomized participants, 2371 completed the study and accounted for 5180 HCW-seasons. … Among outpatient health care personnel, N95 respirators vs medical masks as worn by participants in this trial resulted in no significant difference in the incidence of laboratory-confirmed influenza.”
Long, Y. et al. (2020) “Effectiveness of N95 respirators versus surgical masks against influenza: A systematic review and meta-analysis”, J Evid Based Med. 2020; 1- 9. https://doi.org/10.1111/jebm.12381
“A total of six RCTs involving 9 171 participants were included. There were no statistically significant differences in preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza, laboratory-confirmed respiratory viral infections, laboratory-confirmed respiratory infection and influenza-like illness using N95 respirators and surgical masks. Meta-analysis indicated a protective effect of N95 respirators against laboratory-confirmed bacterial colonization (RR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.43-0.78). The use of N95 respirators compared with surgical masks is not associated with a lower risk of laboratory-confirmed influenza.”
Study of correct use of masks (2020, Singapore) https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/publichealth/86601
“Overall, data were collected from 714 men and women. Of all ages, only 90 participants (12.6%) passed the visual mask fit test. About 75% performed strap placement incorrectly, 61% left a “visible gap between the mask and skin,” and about 60% didn’t tighten the nose-clip.”
Study of surgical face mask use in health care workers (2009, Japan) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19216002/
“Masks did not provide benefit in terms of cold symptoms or getting cold.”
Randomized clinical trial of standard medical/surgical masks in health care workers (2010, Australia).
Study was spurred by the H1N1 flu. While N95 masks offered protection against respiratory illness, medical mask wearers and control group numbers were similar.
2862 randomized participants, 2371 completed the study and accounted for 5180 HCW-seasons.
Among outpatient health care personnel, N95 respirators (8.2%) vs medical masks (7.2%) resulted in no significant difference in the incidence of laboratory-confirmed influenza. 90% said they wore the mask all the time.
Review of N95 respirators versus surgical masks against influenza (March 2020, China).
6 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving 9,171 participants were included (2015-2020). There were no statistically significant differences in preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza, laboratory-confirmed respiratory viral infections, laboratory-confirmed respiratory infection and influenza-like illness using N95 respirators and surgical masks.
Meta-analysis indicated a protective effect of N95 respirators against laboratory-confirmed bacterial colonization.
“Proper use of face masks is essential because improper use might increase the risk for transmission.” A study of 4 patients (July 2020, South Korea).
Known patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 wore masks and coughed into a Petrie dish. “Both surgical and cotton masks seem to be ineffective in preventing the dissemination of SARS–CoV-2 from the coughs of patients with COVID-19 to the environment and external mask surface.”
Studied different types of face coverings in non-clinical setting (August 2020). https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/08/07/sciadv.abd3083
They used a black box, a laser, and a camera. A person wears a face mask and speaks into the direction of an expanded laser beam inside a dark enclosure. Droplets that propagate through the laser beam scatter light, which is recorded with a camera. A simple computer algorithm then counts the droplets seen in the video.
The N95 led to a droplet transmission of below 0.1%.
Cotton and polypropylene masks, some of which were made from apron material showed a droplet transmission ranging from 10% to 40%.
Knitted mask had up to 60% droplet transmission.
Neck fleece had 110% droplet transmission (10% higher than not wearing a mask).
Speaking through some masks (particularly the neck fleece, bandanas) seemed to disperse the largest droplets into a multitude of smaller droplets … which explains the apparent increase in droplet count relative to no mask in that case.
Austrian observation (August 2020)
https://corona-transition.org/maskenpflicht-brachte-in-osterreich-keinerlei-messbaren-nutzen (in German)
The introduction, retraction and re-introduction of mandatory face masks in Austria had no influence at all on the infection rate.
A voice from the vastly more dangerous Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918:
Santa Barbara Daily News and the Independent, Nov 16, 1918: “The average person doesn’t know how to take care of a mask… and it not cleansed the thing soon becomes a veritable bacteria incubator.” “The mask must be very carefully handled, or it will become a menace rather than a help.” – Dr. Horace F. Pierce.
From the LA Times, February 5, 2020: Dr. Jeffery Klausner, infectious disease expert at UCLA’s Feilding School of Public health: “Fear spreads a lot faster than a virus. A mask makes you feel better, but you’re missing the more protective measures. [Use] soap and water instead.”
10 thoughts on “The Talisman Mask”
Dear Fr. Lynch,
Thank you for your blog and Instagram posts. They are helpful in navigating these waters of late and help one to understand they are not crazy. The gaslighting is getting to me.
In conversation with another Orthodox Christian, the same comment you wrote was made to me. “What does it say, spiritually, when we approach Jesus Christ the God of all in a mask? For certain, it is saying something.” While we concluded it was disrespectful in the least, we are also hiding ourselves from God. Not that He can’t see through to our souls, but it certainly feels we are hiding. Not to mention kissing icons through fabric. It is all bizarre.
As I thought about the separation I feel from friends and God when masked, it brought me to the same idea of separation when receiving the Holy Eucharist on multiple spoons. (Our parish priest continues to use 3 rotating spoons dipped in Everclear between communicants who are masked. Though our priest also has a separate chalice for those who are gluten-free due to illness – which gives the same message.) The message given by this action (for 18 months straight) is not only that God’s Divine Body and Blood can make us sick, but that we are not joined as one body in Liturgy and Communion. To me it simply reinforces the separateness.
Isn’t it said that we are saved together but go to hell alone? Isn’t that the message that is being conveyed every Sunday at my parish with multiple spoons? And, more so, what is being taught to any inquirers and catechumens?
God bless you Father. Keep up the good work.
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I fear the gaslighting is getting to me as well. I had a conversation with a deacon in the orthodox church supported by the priests and bishop saying that we are not anti science as orthodox and the vaccine is not dangerous nor part of a conspiracy, it is simply a vaccine. I tried to explain respectfully the different prophecies from saint Paisios (i was told that he never said that there will be a virus and those that take the vaccine will be marked, which is not true) then i said there are many speaking out about this in Athos. He told me the church is divided but we must “obey” the official stance. I said how would I obey with no discernment on their part. What about the aborted cells? I told him I am sorry but you are unaware of the fact that microchips are 100% coming. I told him does this not resemble the mark of revelation . He says to me you cannot read revelation literally… I was exasperated because I did not want to seem non humble or argumentative. Later on we discussed saint Paul’s so called “misogyny” and I tried to explain that it is anything but that and I was met with “he had to speak this way because society at the time was patriarchal otherwise they would have rejected him”
I was appalled at that point. The Holy Spirit inspired words are timeless. They are not for a time and place and they certainly are not misogyny. Saint Paul is saying women have a role just as husbands do and yes while the husband leads he leads with love and the woman submits but she is honored and loved.
I honestly feel like I am in the twilight zone.. I was told by that deacon indirectly that I am too stubborn and are going on conspiracies… Lord have mercy
You’re not alone. I’m very grieved at the realization that those WITHIN the Church who have been pushing all of this nonsense will have, in the words of St Paisios, “large bills to pay” when they finally are willing to admit they have aided and abetted the Enemy in harming their neighbor while congratulating themselves for ostensibly helping them. I still have to pinch myself, for IMO I am far from humble or spiritual and yet the delusion of all this is plain as day to me. May God grant us the grace to endure and pray with pain and love for our brothers and sisters who have been taken captive, and to take heed to our own selves as well!
Don’t feel bad. My priest told me I was “hostile.” And I got lambasted for leading a discussion based on a very good article from the Monastery of the Archangel of St. Michael in NM about masks, hiding from God, etc. A Matushka said I “wanted [her] grandmother to die” and my priest told me I shouldn’t pay attention to what came from that monastery because “they are isolated from the world” and haven’t a good grasp on the world.
After I picked my jaw up from the floor, I resolved not to pay one jot of attention that came out of his mouth ever again.
On another blog I read a comment that mentioned the spiritually sensitive “seeing” more of what’s going on with this pandemic. While I don’t count myself among anyone like that, it is beyond me that people can’t see or feel the heaviness in the world. It is crystal clear to me. Just look at the trees and bushes. The very air hangs heavy.
We need to have the determination that we will live and die as human beings, not as faceless unidentified entities. To be without a face is to be without a soul; it is the face which communicates our soul to the outside world. Some of course wear their face as a mask to conceal the state of the soul. To be open and honest, not hiding from God or Man, is the ideal. It seems a trivial point, in a way, but I have become convinced that it is crucial; already it is becoming difficult to buy or sell without vaccine certification. Outward signs are indications of inner conditions, and may sometimes produce them.
Having the mind of Christ helps one to navigate troubled waters; though we all wish to be humble and obedient to ecclesiastical authority, it has to be recognized in our time that many priests and bishops have the mind of the World, and according to Holy Scripture friendship with the World is enmity toward God. We need to have a bold humility which prostrates itself absolutely before the teachings of the Church while insisting that those who govern the Church exercise the same submission. This does not mean that we are to quibble over fine points and insist always on our own interpretation, but that the rulings of our authorities should strive to attain that sobornost which dwells within the mind of the Church, informed primarily by Her Saints and teachers, not by academic studies and the whims of secular society, and does not seek to exercise a dictatorial and arbitrary authority over the flock of the Good Shepard. Though we are all sinful and fallible, striving to acquire the mind of Christ gives us a contact with reality denied to those who seek only worldly esteem.
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Interesting excerpt I just encountered regarding masks from the end of the book: Eternity in the Moment: The Life and Wisdom of Elder Arsenie Papacioc: (Of Romania, reposed in 2011)
“During this time (*End of 2004 I believe) there was a major campaign against bird flu in Romania. Doctors would constantly wear surgical masks to protect themselves against it. Some people would even wear them on the street. A doctor advised Fr. Arsenie to wear one also, being vulnerable because of the great number of people coming to see him. (*He was 90 years old and suffering frequently from various health problems and weaknesses). “Doctor, how am I going to wear a mask when I always tell the people to take their mask off [that is, to be honest]?” And he did not wear one. Fathers encouragement, “Take off the mask!” was a call to sincerity, to knowing your own self. He had this gift of perceiving the “mask” on people’s faces, a sensitivity he had acquired through a remarkable spiritual life.”
* Comment added by me for clarification
Yet one more God-bearing Elder of modern times we can draw from for guidance under similar circumstances.
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They have recently decided to start masking again at my parish…but only during liturgy. (And for the priest, only during Holy Communion) Coffee hour still continues as normal, with only a couple people masking. I suppose the coffee is strong enough to ward off any plague that might otherwise befall the faithful during The Divine Liturgy.
Jokes aside, this is very hard for me and my family. We left a very pious Roman Catholic parish to become catechumens in the Orthodox Church, because we believe it possesses the fullness of The Truth. I cannot tell you how hard it is to maintain that belief when I am expected to participate in a lie, just to enter the church. Kyrie Elison.
Very sad to hear!
If anything it should be the opposite – no masks at the Liturgy and mask at coffee hour (obviously I am convinced that they are ineffective and should not be used at all). We are simply subjecting the Div. Liturgy to degradation. Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy as the foxes run amok in the sheepfold 😦
It angers me to hear of such, further to the nonsense I have finally decided to avoid…it is indeed a degradation of the Liturgy and the image-of-God-bearing people participating. The masks are Satanic symbols, no more and no less. And yet somehow I am allowed to enter stores, etc. without a mask (I have a little “exemption card” based on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms here in Canada), but am pressured and not allowed in the Temple of the Lord without this symbol by what I used to think were well-meaning people, but now am less sure.
I feel your pain kbryant, and my main solace is that this, as with all useless schemes of the adversary, is purely temporary.
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