A Catholic priest who has told the faithful not to be afraid of COVID-19 has tested positive for the virus.
Monsignor Charles Pope, 58, of Holy Comforter St. Cyprian Church in Washington, DC was rushed to hospital on July 27 with a high fever. A rapid diagnostic test later confirmed that he had contracted the disease.
The news prompted the DC health department to share a letter ordering worshipers and church workers to quarantine themselves for 14 days if they had come into contact with the Pope prior to his diagnosis.
The Washington Post reports that about 250 people were in close contact with the Pope in the two days before his illness – including parishioners who received Holy Communion from the priest in five separate services.
The Pope has since been released from hospital and is recovering in his private residence.
Monsignor Charles Pope, 58, of Holy Comforter St. Cyprian Church in Washington, DC was rushed to hospital on July 27 where he tested positive for COVID-19
Just nine days before he tested positive for COVID-19, the Pope wrote an article for the National Catholic Register titled: “Coronavirus Stalks in the Dark, But Don’t Be Afraid.”
In his article, Post admitted COVID-19 was “serious,” but said, “We have quarantined the healthy with the sick, the resilient with the vulnerable. “
“We have closed our economy, depriving many of their livelihoods and the dignity that comes from working, using their talents and supporting their families,” he wrote.
The Pope went on to say that “years ago there were many dangerous diseases to be afraid of” and “it takes courage to live”.
“The people of that time had courage,” he remarked.
250 staff and worshipers at Holy Comforter St. Cyprian Church in Washington, DC (pictured) have been ordered to self-isolate for 14 days
Pope shared a video on YouTube on Saturday saying he never encouraged his followers to ignore social distancing orders or wear masks.
“When I say, ‘Don’t be afraid’, it doesn’t mean ‘be reckless’. There is a middle ground between fear and recklessness, and that is caution, ”he said.
Pope added that he always adhered to mask wearing guidelines and that “whenever I was told to wear a mask, I always did.”
He added that he always covered his face when interacting with worshipers one-on-one and sanitized his hands before Holy Communion.
Despite his diagnosis, Pope says he stands by his article.
“I wonder, when will the end of the game take place?” “When will he be safe enough to play in the park again?” It remains my concern, even after I contracted this, ”he said in his YouTube clip.
The nation’s capital reported 69 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the total to 12,313.
In all, 586 DC residents have died from the contagious virus.
Just nine days before he tested positive for COVID-19, the Pope wrote an article for the National Catholic Register titled: “Coronavirus stalks in the dark, but fear not”
More than 4.6 million Americans have tested positive for COVID-19 and 154,944 have died