Somehow, I have the funny feeling that perjuring priest Bob Malm has been at it again. Specifically, I am told that St. Gabriel’s, the church where Bob serves as interim, decided at the 11th hour not to transition to Phase 2 of the diocesan reopening plan.
Here’s what the church’s website says:
Note the whole bit about “information we didn’t have” and about informing the media “as you think best.” Hmmm. Sounds to me like what really happened is that the diocese said no to the reopening plan, possibly because it was non-compliant with state and diocesan policy.
And while there may or may not be more to this story, one thing is clear, which is that perjuring priest Bob Malm routinely violates the law when leading services. Specifically, he doesn’t wear a face covering. But even more disturbing is the utter lack of leadership perjuring priest Bob Malm evinces as interim rector when he refuses to take basic measures to protect his own health, and that of others.
Let’s start by taking a look at the health and safety guidelines issued by the diocese for Phase 1, which were promulgated May 18 and formed the foundation for moving to Phase 2. Of relevance is the highlighted section, which allows only a cantor or soloist, provided he or she is at least 20 feet from others and in a well-ventilated area.
While one can debate whether the nave at St. Gabriel’s is well-ventilated, there’s no doubt that the parish is not compliant on other fronts.
Below is a screen cap from the May 26 service. Yup, that’s a choir, and while there’s more attention to safety than the early days of the pandemic—including the wearing of face coverings — the service features a small choir, less than 20 feet distancing (but not standing right next to each other, as was the case at first), and myriad other issues.
Eventually on June 14, we see the move to a soloist, but even then the distance is well inside of 20 feet.
Now let’s shift to a related issue, which is the Massachusetts Department of Health requirements during Phase 1, with reference to the highlighted area. You’ll see that it requires all staff and clergy to wear a face mask or covering while participating in worship. That’s right, all. No exceptions because clergy feel warm, think they sound funny when talking, think it looks goofy, believe they’re special, or any other reasons.
The face mask requirement loosens a little bit for clergy in Phase 2, but only while actively leading the service.
Meanwhile, as a workplace safety matter, Massachusetts requires all employers eligible to open in Phases 1, 2, and 3 to require face masks of all employees. Here’s the screen cap, with the face mask requirement located on the upper right.
Additionally, Plymouth County, in which St Gabriel’s is located, requires face coverings in all “essential” businesses. While the measure does not specifically reference churches, it is broadly worded and has an “included but not limited to,” clause. Moreover, businesses are required to implement signage at their entrances, per below:
Now, let’s take a look at perjuring priest Bob Malm’s response to these requirements. Or, to phrase it in another way, how Bob is leading by example. Or not.
Following is a screen cap from the last service at which perjuring priest Bob Malm officiated at St. Gabriel’s:
Perjuring priest Bob Malm just can’t keep his hands away from his face
Yup, no face covering, and perjuring priest Bob Malm is contaminating furniture, AV equipment, albs, stoles, lecterns, prayer books, altar linens and more by wiping his snotty nose, then handling other items without washing his hands or using sanitizer.
That begs the question: While perjuring priest Bob Malm may choose to be indifferent to his own welfare, or that of his wife and family, how can he stand in front of St. Gabriel’s, whether in person or via Vimeo, and display such a profound lack of concern for the welfare of others? Even as he babbles on about love? How does this exemplify leadership? Nor are these minor issues; they involve the potential for tremendous human suffering and loss. And if perjuring priest Bob Malm doesn’t follow the law, why should anyone else? (Not that I am encouraging anyone to disobey the law.)
Consider: Even Donald Trump, long the purveyor of conspiracy theories and weird claims that COVID-19 would go away on its own, has started wearing a face covering. True, it’s not out of concern for others, but rather because he fears losing the election. Even so, the point is valid: What does it say about Bob Malm when he doesn’t use a face covering, but Donald Trump does? Is Bob Malm really that special?
For the record, even when social distancing is possible — and many infectious disease experts believe 6 feet is not adequate — wearing a face mask reduces the both the risk of direct transmission as well as transmission via fomites, or inanimate surfaces that become contaminated. And keep in mind that singing, even with one person, is considered a high risk event.
On the other hand, keeping your snotty handkerchief in your back pocket, dabbing at your face, and touching other surfaces afterwards without using hand sanitizer or washing is a recipe for disaster. And given that perjuring priest Bob Malm is 68, he is high risk, as is his wife Leslie. And it’s especially troubling when in close proximity to the altar and other high-touch surfaces. (It’s worth noting that the state recommends that lecterns and other high-risk surfaces be protected with plexiglass shields, plastic, or other barriers.)
Bottom line, if your rector won’t comply with state law amidst the pandemic, or the commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself, or even just show enough respect for you to cover his face, you need to find a new rector. Pronto. And while you’re at it, you probably should ask some tough questions about the church and the diocese. It’s called lack of adult supervision.
COVID-19 is deadly serious. Don’t play games with your safety and that of others. And don’t tolerate anyone who does, especially when, as here, you are paying him and trusting him with both your spiritual and physical wellbeing.