Steve Sack - Minneapolis Star Tribune
by Steve Timmer
May 22, 2020, 11:00 AM

Bernie Hebda is a defender of the faith

Archbihop Bernard Hebda – MPR photo


Bernie Hebda is a defender of the faith,
Even tho’ in science he’s really just a naif,
Fear not the virus Jesus saith,
With some Lutherans we’re interfaith.
(You have to pronounce that right.)

We miss the Holy Roman Empire,
When all the governments were on fire,
To do what pious churchmen desire,
Even when they said, “Burn it on a funeral pyre.”

It’s really important that we pass the plate:
A mortal sin if the mortgage is late,
The governor needs to get this straight,
We need bodies in the pews to pay the freight.

Little boys and gays the church did consign,
To death, or priestly depredation malign,
And yet he thinks himself fit to opine,
On matters well short of the divine.

So, let’s hear it for the churchman Hebda,
A pandemic has no better fella,
So light yourself a panatella,
And hope all you get is influenza.

(Edited slightly from as it appeared on Twitter.)

This bit of doggerel remarks, naturally, on Hebda’s open defiance of Governor Walz’s public  emergency order limiting religious gatherings to ten or fewer people.

The Steve Sack cartoon captured the situation perfectly, as it always does. Because of Archbishop Hebda’s ministrations, there will be parishioners who will sit in an enclosed space for an hour and line up for communion, while breathing each other’s air the whole time. This is conduct entirely unbecoming of a clergyman.

Archbishop Hebda said, in a open letter, that the bishops consulted national medical experts (unnamed), theologians, and the Thomistic Institute in arriving at the decision. Perhaps the bishops might have consulted with clergy in Albany, Georgia, whose congregations were decimated by COVID-19, and are urging that in-person services not be held. Or even the choir director of a church choir in Washington state where dozens were sickened and two died from a single rehearsal.

Other denominations in Minnesota are not so quick to open back up. It would be great to have the identity of the “national medical experts,” theologians, and honchos at the Thomistic Institute on the foundation for their advice to the Minnesota bishops.


A minister and a rabbi, anyway, walked into a newsroom and delivered a reasoned, loving, and yes, withering, reply to the bishops.

We refuse to be party in ushering the Angel of Death into the living and worship and gathering spaces of our community.

Thanks for your feedback. If we like what you have to say, it may appear in a future post of reader reactions.