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By Fr. Shenan J. Boquet, Human Life International, March 30, 2020
Periods of disruption and turmoil have a tendency to expose our true selves. The insights thus gleaned are not always comforting. For instance, a man may feel convicted that he is especially courageous, but placed suddenly in a situation of danger, he may find—to his surprise—that he has turned tail and run.
We have entered a period of disruption. A pandemic is sweeping the globe. Already tens of thousands have died, and it seems likely that tens of thousands more will die before this is over. Whereas just a month ago it seemed that the world was safely under control, now everything is in flux. A month ago, we were comfortably making plans for the following month, or year, or even the next five years; now we are wondering what the next day will hold. For many, the fact that modern medical science has not—as we naively thought—permanently banished the spectre of large outbreaks of communicable disease has come as a shock to the system. We are being tried in the crucible of disruption.
Even at the best of times, bad news sells. Now that there really is bad news happening, and on a global scale, the media seems only too eager to ensure that no terrifying prediction or development goes unnoticed. Unfortunately, with so many millions temporarily unemployed, many people have nothing else to do but to watch the disaster unfold in real time on their television sets and smart phones. The result is widespread fear. Some people, as might be expected, are not responding well. And so, in addition to immersing us in the distressing facts about the virus itself, the media is also ensuring that we learn about the various ways that people are cracking. Hence, we see stories about how some people are ostracizing or abusing the nurses who are working to save lives, because they are fearful of catching the virus from them. We see stories about how some people are cynically profiting from the pandemic by price-gouging on basic necessities, how neighbors are “shaming” other neighbors for not strictly following isolation protocols, and so on. ….