On Easter Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo made a comment about the coronavirus fight that caused a storm of complaints. Many are even calling it blasphemous.
He said, “The number is down because we brought the number down. God did not do that. Fate did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that.”1
When CBS New York posted the video, the comment section was full of negative remarks.2
One person wrote, “I am disgusted with his statement!” Another said, “Was Cuomo attacking people of faith? He really needs to watch his mouth.” Several labeled it blasphemy, and over 120 people agreed. One man wrote, “New York will suffer for what blasphemy came out of that mouth.” Other comments were even stronger alluding to judgment, punishments and the devil.
In addition, video viewers still remember that horrifying scene when Gov. Cuomo and the New York Democratic-majority legislature wildly cheered the passage and signing of the late-term abortion bill last year. One wrote that the governor’s comments were to be expected from “infant murderer!”
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Easter Monday remarks offended God-fearing Americans all over the country. He shows not only disdain for the faithful but also a lack of understanding of how God works and acts in society.
God Sustains the Spirit of Sacrifice
Gov. Cuomo, for example, does not understand where many healthcare workers found the strength to carry on their arduous work. These heroic professionals exposed themselves and their family to the pathogen. They worked overtime until exhausted, and then came back the following day.
It would be insulting to say that extra work hours and paycheck bonuses alone motivated these professionals. No amount of money can compensate someone for catching the illness and risk dying from it.
Worse yet, the motivation cannot possibly be devotion to the governor. These healthcare professionals were probably not inspired by the governor’s pleas to beat the virus.
Generally, these selfless individuals are motivated by a love of neighbor, which, in turn, comes from a love of God.
This devotion could be seen in the many news reports and pictures showing healthcare professionals gathering to pray on rooftops, break rooms and even emergency tents all over the United States, including in New York.3
The example of self-sacrifice was given by the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ. His sacrifice is fresh in everyone’s mind as the holy season of Lent has just ended. How many lessons Christians everywhere learned from Christ’s example! He proved that greater love has no man than he who gives his life for his neighbor. These healthcare professionals put this principle into action in their daily work.
How many of these workers draw their energy, strength, and perseverance from Christ. This love of God is a primary motivating factor for countless healthcare professionals. The governor’s remark belittles this inspiration and the source of this strength.
God Helps To Inspire Great Works
Gov. Cuomo’s statement also shows how little he knows about the influence of God and religion in society and Western civilization. Among the innumerable blessings that modern society owes to the Church is the hospital system.
Mending Bodies, Saving Souls: A History of Hospitals by Guenter B. Risse recounts how the Catholic religion was responsible for the development of medicine, patient care, “healthcare professionals” and the idea of a hospital.4
Saint Benedict, for example, included the obligation to care for the sick in his Rule, the basic manual for his Benedictine Order. Risse states that the influence of monasteries and cathedrals in the corporal acts of mercy spread into the general society. Lay confraternities soon joined the works of mercy. “This task was based on the traditional Christian premise that such assistance was still part of a religious ritual and an important means for acquiring spiritual salvation.”
Thus, the institutionalization of health care spread to the general population. The word “hospital” is derived from the Latin hospitium, which means guest house. It was the place where the sick and dying were received as guests. No other civilization developed anything similar to this.
God’s intervention in this epidemic did not begin when Gov. Cuomo took his first step to address the crisis. It began centuries before. The Divine Physician, Our Lord Jesus Christ, not only cared for the redemption of the soul but also for the healing of the body. Hospitals are an expression of His spirit.
Jesus may not have diagnosed a dying COVID-19 patient, but He inspired the whole hospital system. Should not this be acknowledged instead of forgotten? Is it not shameful that a public official would take total credit for an effort that depended on institutions founded by religion?
Is Cuomo Faithful to His Catholic Faith?
Many faithful have questioned Gov. Cuomo’s Catholic Faith. There were numerous calls for his excommunication after he signed a radical late-term abortion law last year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. His enthusiasm for the abortion bill led him to light up in pink One World Trade Center’s 408-foot spire, the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, the Kosciuszko Bridge and the Alfred E. Smith Building in Albany. He saw this as a fitting way to “celebrate passage of [the] Reproductive Health Act.”5
However, his words do not match his actions. Like so many other officials, he has excluded God from acting in this crisis with his blasphemous words of self-praise. New York should not be surprised if God abandons the city so that officials might then see how little they really do.
- https://www.c-span.org/video/?471171-1/york-governor-cuomo-worst-over-state. His full remark can be seen at 40:27 into the video.
- https://hope1032.com.au/stories/life/news/2020/prayer-in-the-pandemic-aussies-join-the-samaritans-purse-emergency-field-hospital-teams/; https://www.foxnews.com/faith-values/coronavirus-florida-hospital-nashville-workers-pray-god; https://aleteia.org/2020/03/31/catholic-healthcare-professionals-bring-faith-and-compassion-to-pandemic-response/; https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8181217/Nurses-gather-rooftops-hospitals-Florida-Tennessee-pray.html.
- Pg. 109, https://books.google.com/books?id=htLTvdz5HDEC&pg=PA125&lpg=PA125&dq=baghdad+bimaristan&source=bl&ots=UJ0KHbyszF&sig=aC6zIRTJavraLVqNXXjEOEJDQlY&hl=en&ei=WmSuTY3SIejk0QHPipi0Cw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=baghdad%20bimaristan&f=false.