Priest who told congregants 'not to be afraid' of COVID tests postive

Catholic priest who told congregants ‘not to be afraid’ of coronavirus tests postive and more than 250 people who attended his Washington D.C. church are told to quarantine

  •  Monsignor Charles Pope of Holy Comforter St. Cyprian Church tested positive to COVID-19 on July 27
  • More than 250 people who came into contact with the priest in the preceding days have been ordered to self-quarantine
  • Nine days before his diagnosis, Pope penned an article warning Catholics not to live in fear of the virus
  • Pope says he stands by his piece, and has never encouraged his followers to flout social distancing guidelines 
  • ‘When I say, ‘Do not be afraid,’ that is not to say, ‘Be reckless’. There’s a middle ground between fear and recklessness, and that’s prudence,’ he stated. 

A Catholic priest who told congregants ‘not to be afraid’ of COVID-19 has tested positive to the virus. 

Monsignor Charles Pope, 58, of Holy Comforter St. Cyprian Church in Washington, D.C. was rushed to hospital July 27 with high fever. A rapid diagnostic test subsequently confirmed that he contracted the disease. 

The news prompted the D.C. health department to share a letter ordering worshippers and church workers to self-quarantine for 14 days if they had come into contact with Pope prior to his diagnosis. 

The Washington Post reports that around 250 people were in close contact with Pope in the two before he fell ill – including parishioners who received Holy Communion from the priest at five separate services. 

Pope has since been released from hospital and is recovering at his private residence. 

 Monsignor Charles Pope, 58, of Holy Comforter St. Cyprian Church in Washington, D.C. was rushed to hospital July 27  where he tested positive to COVID-19 

Just nine days before he tested positive to COVID-19, Pope penned an article for The National Catholic Register titled: ‘Coronavirus Stalks in the Darkness, But Do Not Be Afraid’.

In his piece, Post admitted that COVID-19 was ‘severe’, but stated: ‘We have quarantined the healthy along with the sick, the resilient along with the vulnerable.’

‘We have shut down our economy, depriving many of their livelihoods and of the dignity that comes from working, from using their talents and from providing for their families,’ he wrote. 

Pope went on to stay that ‘years ago, there were many dangerous illnesses to be afraid of’ and ‘it takes courage to live’.  

‘People of that time had courage,’ he remarked. 

250 staff and congregants at Holy Comforter St. Cyprian Church in Washington, D.C. (pictured) have been ordered to self-isolate for 14 days 

On Saturday, Pope shared a video to YouTube saying he had never encouraged his congregants to flout social distancing orders or mask-wearing. 

‘When I say, ‘Do not be afraid,’ that is not to say, ‘Be reckless’. There’s a middle ground between fear and recklessness, and that’s prudence,’ he stated.  

Pope added that he always complied with mask-wearing guidelines and ‘Whenever I was told to wear a mask, I always did’.

He added that he always donned a face covering when interacting with worshippers one-on-one, and sanitized his hands before Holy Communion.  

Despite his diagnosis, Pope says he stands by his article. 

‘I wonder, when will be the endgame? ‘When will it be safe enough to play in the park again? That still remains my concern, even after having contracted this,’ he stated in his YouTube clip. 

The nation’s capital reported 69 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, taking the total to 12,313.  

586 D.C. residents have died from the contagious virus.

Just nine days before he tested positive to COVID-19, Pope penned an article for The National Catholic Register titled: ‘Coronavirus Stalks in the Darkness, But Do Not Be Afraid’

More than 4.6 million Americans have tested positive to COVID-19. 154,944 have died 

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