In the event of an influenza pandemic, for instance, is there anything wrong with stockpiling food and water for you and your family, and not attending mass to avoid transmission?
I think taking measures which would save the life God gave you is prudent and for most people at least more important than the obligation to attend mass.
If you work in emergency services or something, well you’d be obligated to go out amongst the sick and use your skills in such a situation. Likewise for priests who may be required to give anointing, confession and communion to the sick. Otherwise I’d say not to go out.
There are quite a few threads in this forum about a flu pandemic. I think people really ought to remember that we have one very important advantage now as opposed to the past - we’re forewarned. Scientists are examining every case and suspected case to make sure the virus hasn’t mutated and is well contained in any event.
As Catholics, we need to keep in mind that we are not to give in to despair. So a survivalist mentality that is obsessively fearful can be sinful in that it contradicts the first commandment–I am the Lord thy God and thou shalt not have strange Gods before me.
I think stockpiling to a reasonable degree is fine. We should try to care for ourselves and our families. We also should be prepared to share what we have with others if the situation arose. Like if some disaster struck and your neighbor didn’t have any food, we should share some of ours. I don’t mean that we have to give everything that we worked to save away.
I don’t know about missing Mass, though. If you’re missing it purely as a precaution, that might still be a sin. But if some pandemic was raging and the risk of transmission from Mass were legitamite, maybe the Bishop would offer an exception.
These are only my opinions. We also have to remember not to store up too many treasures on Earth.
After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, I now stockpile water since I have such a large family. I also bought lanterns and lots of batteries that I still have since these hurricanes affected my area. I would like food stocks, but that is more of a space and management issue, which I simply cannot tackle right now. I guess everyone’s fear is the bird flu. Remember how much everyone stocked up for Y-2-K? I never stocked up on a thing, because I thought that the notion of society shutting down due to a computer glitch was laughable. But when the airplanes hit the World Trade Center, my immediate reaction was “On the other hand, this is something that could shut down the economy of our country.” I ran out to Walmart and stocked up on everything from diapers to canned goods and more, because I simply didn’t know what would happen in the aftermath of those attacks.
You know, in the new testament Jesus commends the resourceful handmaids that are prepared for the wedding feast and who bought enough oil for their lamps in advance. Those women did not share their oil with their foolish companions.