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Archbishop on Ebola: ‘Time for prudence, not panic’

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Ohio Department of Health

Staff Report

Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr addressed a letter via email to the pastors of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati concerning the recent Ebola outbreak and subsequent media coverage writing, “This is a time for prudence, not panic.”

While some dioceses have taken more drastic steps to contain the outbreak, the archbishop notes that at the time of his writing, only two cases of Ebola had been detected nationwide. At present, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports just four cases in the U.S.

In his letter, Archbishop Schnurr writes that pastors will likely field questions of requests for information concerning Ebola as a result of continuing media coverage.

“The Church always has responded to situations like this with a heart full of compassion, not of fear. For those who are infected – and so far there have been no reported cases of a patient contracting the illness in Ohio – we are called to offer care and comfort,” he wrote.

Included in the email were a pair of attachments the State of Ohio provided to Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio concerning Ebola. The first is a press release from the state detailing Ohio’s enhanced Ebola quarantine protocols. The second, seen above, is a graphic from the Ohio Department of Health.

The full text of Archbishop Schnurr’s letter follows.

Dear Father,

With news media delivering almost moment-to-moment coverage of the Ebola virus outbreak in east Africa and the first confirmed cases of individuals contracting the disease in the United States, it is likely that many of you will receive questions or requests for information from the communities we serve.

The Church always has responded to situations like this with a heart full of compassion, not of fear. For those who are infected – and so far there have been no reported cases of a patient contracting the illness in Ohio – we are called to offer care and comfort.

So, too, to those who may have been in contact with an infected person or who have a loved one affected either directly or indirectly, we offer our prayers and our understanding.  We commit ourselves to ensuring that their physical and emotional needs are met so that their spiritual hunger may also be filled.

Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio has received the attached information from the State of Ohio offering the facts about Ebola and the protocols for persons who have come in contact with an infected patient. This information may be helpful as you minister to the people of the Archdiocese. The protocols are for most of us contingency plans. As I write this, there have been only two confirmed cases of transmission in the United States. Both were health care workers who treated a patient who contracted the virus while overseas.

This is a time for prudence, but not panic.

 

Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Dennis M. Schnurr
Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr
Archbishop of Cincinnati

Posted Oct. 20, 2014

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