Churches are usually packed this week, the holiest on the Christian calendar. But this year, with very few exceptions, they are empty. And not just in America. In Jerusalem’s Old City, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, a major pilgrimage center for Christians all over the world, was closed. The last time it was closed to the public for a sustained period was during the Black Plague in the 14th century. At the Vatican, Pope Francis stood alone, speaking before a huge, empty square. “We find ourselves afraid,” he said. “And lost.”
The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 is doing what wars, depressions and natural disasters have not: shutting down places of worship for Christians all over the world.