Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Breitbart; Let them eat Cake? Pope Francis has in my opinion demonstrated a total lack of sympathy and understanding for people whose circumstances might drive them to defy or protest against Covid-19 lockdowns.
… Your Holiness, more than thirty years have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall, but it seems that we have not learned much from history. The walls continue to rise, and material and spiritual divisions strengthen. There is an impression that the old conflict between the blocs is reappearing, and at the same time new centers of power are emerging. The Catholic Church, especially during the work of your predecessor John Paul II, played a notable role in dismantling the two blocs, which had an ideological matrix. Today, however, economic interests are at the forefront. A materialistic culture is propagated that is focused only on personal well-being, and to the detriment of the community and the poor, who are becoming increasingly poor. In this new local and world situation, what contribution can the Church make to the overall well-being of individuals and peoples?
In your question, I heard the music of the Second Vatican Council, which undoubtedly marked the actions of my predecessors and which gives guidelines for our actions today: “The joys and hopes, sorrows and anxieties of our people, especially the poor and all those who suffer the joys and hopes, the sorrows and anguish of Christ’s disciples. There is nothing truly human that does not resonate in their hearts ”( Gaudium et Spes, 1). We Christians cannot turn our heads the other way and pretend not to notice what is happening around us; moreover, we are called to approach everyone and in all situations, in the name of solidarity born of the mercy of the Lord. He was the first to move towards us and became our brother and he did not run away from any situation. We want to follow him, to be his disciples.
I like to think that a Christian is a realistic person, very realistic, with the realism of the Gospel. Therefore, each generation should take over and appropriates achievements, but also the limitations and defects of each epoch, in order to recognize the fundamental contribution that has been invited to that . Undoubtedly, times are changing, but the mission continues to call us to witness to our hope.
In our pandemic context, we are tempted to think of “normality” as a return to the past; we want to “fix the house” again based on what we have already experienced. It is a temptation to “mourn the black onion from Egypt”, to regret what has happened, which prevents us from seeing one of the basic characteristics of the situation we are going through: we do not come out of the crisis the same; we can get better or worse, but never the same. Crises have the ability to exacerbate existing injustices to which we were accustomed and which we could unconsciously justify; but they can highlight best practices and reactions among us. During this period, we noticed two attitudes. On the one hand, we have authentic “urban heroes” armed with solidarity and quiet, concrete and everyday commitment, the one who takes responsibility towards his neighbor and seeks concrete solutions so that no one would be neglected. On the other hand, we have an increase in the number of those who have relentlessly profited from someone else’s misfortune or those who have thought only of themselves, who have protested or complained about certain restrictive measures, unable to accept that not everyone has the same opportunities and resources to face a pandemic.
I believe that the role of the Church is inscribed precisely at this crossroads. Now is the right time to create and launch long-term processes. Over the decades, the words “crisis” and “change” have become commonplace (social, economic, educational, environmental crisis, etc.). Much has been said and written about the “change of era” and the need and importance of seizing the opportunity. Today, it is no longer a common place in the speeches of the establishment, but it is becoming a reality that we all share. We need change. The pandemic has brought our organizational and development models into crisis; it has exposed many injustices, painful silences and social and health failures, subjecting a large number of our brothers to processes of social exclusion and degradation. In many cases, too, there is a lack of personal and shared “antibodies” that would help us cope with the crisis; and that is the fruit of all efforts to discredit and forget what fed the souls of our peoples, in the name, at first sight, of saving routines, which, in the end, deprive us of the necessary immunity. We have reduced development to simple economic growth, forgetting that authentic development must promote all people and the whole man (c.Populorum progressio , 14). The progress of all people and for all people. We cannot lose sight of the fact that change always has a price and we must ask ourselves who pays for it. We are not alone in this and, therefore, we do not have to answer these questions alone.
As Churches, it is our duty to invite other actors and encourage processes that will help us release the trapped view of the world that is organized around power, wealth, and greed. To call to create a (new) normality. I prefer to think of normality as a mission to be fulfilled, rather than as factual data or factual and unquestionable reality. Normally, it is not the past, but what we long for for our children and grandchildren: the future, which needs to be built, where social stratification and exclusion are not the dominant pattern. The normalcy experienced as a mission will depend on the way we jointly respond to the fragility of our peoples. If we learn to accept and open ourselves to the pain and vulnerability of our neighbors, we will humanize our communities and gain a (new) normality in which human dignity is not a declaration of principles, but a belief that translates into a very concrete practice and lifestyle. In this way, normalcy will not be a mere continuation of the past, nor the abolition of this difficult moment, but the mobilization of all our resources and creativity to transform the present into a link that connects us with a new chance: that things can change. The Church should play an important role here, calling and acting so that the normalcy that is being created could resemble the protocol according to which we will one day be judged (cf.Mt. , 25). If we are able to put the fragile and the small in the center, we will see that the multiplication of the loaves is not a beautiful utopia, but a reality.
Read more (Serbian): http://www.politika.rs/sr/clanak/465768/Sukobi-se-ne-resavaju-zaboravom-vec-dijalogom
Regardless of whether you agree with Covid-19 lockdowns, it is an incontrovertible fact that the lockdowns have caused tremendous hardship.
There are legitimate reasons for questioning whether lockdowns are the best response.
In many cases governments utterly failed to provide for people whose livelihoods they snatched when they drove people from the streets.
In other cases some governments, even governments in the USA, Britain and Australia, turned lockdowns into a vicious tool of political repression, shattering social trust by treating their own supporters differently to supporters of their political opponents.
Some lockdowns were so badly implemented they likely actually helped spread the disease.
Even in prosperous Australia people went hungry during the early stages of the Melbourne lockdown, thanks to the incompetence of the Victorian Government.
Not every lockdown was as comfortable as the well fed lockdown residents of the Vatican enjoyed.