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By Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, Nov 04, 2022

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at

“Treating pandemic choices as a scorecard on which some people racked up more points than others is preventing us from moving forward.” That’s the conclusion of Emily Oster, in her Atlantic article, “Let’s Declare a Pandemic Amnesty,” which has launched a thousand clicks.

Here’s the problem with that argument: We can’t move forward until we decide which direction is forward. Having come through a very painful experience, we now hope to learn from it. How can we learn, if we don’t pause to take note of what we did right (not much) and wrong (a lot)?

What would be clear evidence that we, as a society, are “moving forward?” Oster offers one clear example: opening schools. She concedes that closing the schools, and keeping them closed for months, was a mistake. But it is this sort of mistake, she suggests, that we should put behind us, because…