St. Ambrose Press
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St. Ambrose Press

COVID-19: Faith, Freedom, the State and the New Evangelization

Reflections on Freedom and the Natural Law in times of fear and disillusionment

Over the past several weeks the ongoing pandemic has led to the closure of numerous places of worship and institutions that are vital for human flourishing such as schools, colleges and public gathering places. This lockdown has also being extended to various forms of sports and entertainment where sporting competitions, the Olympics and domestic sports leagues around the world have been put on hold indefinitely over the past several weeks.

As the crisis continues to deteriorate around the world and we question whether the global health and scientific community is really capable of responding to such a crisis. It is necessary to return to first principles to understand why we are in this crisis to begin with and where do we go from here.

Freedom, the Foundation of Western Civilization

In the West, freedom of the human person is the foundational principle of existence, where all men are created equal and are free to pursue a life of liberty and prosperity. The ongoing pandemic is putting immense pressure on this principle and way of life, for people have been forced to conform to an existence that is of no fault of our own undermining their capacity to live, work and worship as dignified human beings.

Incidents of people suffering from depression, hopelessness, unemployment and anxiety has been on the rise over the past several weeks. Business owners and employees have had to weather immense economic or “material” damage in the way they operate. With numerous businesses being forced to freeze payroll and seek state intervention to prevent a further large economic catastrophe.

The Public Square and the Common Good

The COVID-19 Pandemic has had a more devastating affect on certain people and communities than others particularly, families and workers with limited savings and poor financial security, and the elderly who are being denied healthcare since public services have been struggling to cope with this crisis.

These known challenges ought to question us about the perennial concerns of human life and our relationship with the polis-why are we here, why do we exist, what are the authentic principles required to advance a culture of authentic human flourishing? These questions are absent in our conservation when we think about this pandemic. These questions should force us to seek the Truth in order to understand why we are here.

Engaging in such conversations about the principles of human life is paramount to bringing about a greater understanding of reality for those who are outside of the truth and to debate those who choose not to live in it. Such conversations are essential to moving away from a state of selfishness to service.

Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic is primarily rooted in the fact that as a culture we have been drifting away from natural law for many centuries. We have failed to learn lessons from the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th Century in our relationship with science and technology.

This virus that is devastating the lives of millions around the world is primarily rooted in biological warfare and a complete disregard to understand truth, nature and the natural law. A repeat of history that was first seen in World War I, World War II, the Cold War and biological warfare perpetrated during recent gulf wars and war on terror.

COVID-19 and the New Evangelization

The Natural Law, as St. Thomas Aquinas states, is the rational participation in the eternal law. Where men by partaking in the gift of reason God has endowed upon him understands the teleological end of creation. In the study of Sacred Scripture, we know that Man is not concerned about the Truth. If God who entered into our realm as perfect Man and God, was butchered and killed by his own people, it is clear that man is not interested in salvation or redemption. The ancients too knew of this, in the works of Plato’s Republic and the Socratic Dialogues, it was clear that there were no solutions to the problem of injustice. The only consolation was wisdom and knowledge.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity to help further the New Evangelization. This is an opportunity for Christian leaders to challenge the public figure heads of our time in the entertainment, media, public policy, civil service and industry to engage with them on how they live their lives and the values that animate them.

Courage, Freedom and Understanding

Christianity and the West are inseparable, civil law, the rule of law, universities and social safety nets were pioneered by Catholics and the Church since the fall of the Rome. Engaging in these rich traditions can help bring about a deeper sense of cultural renewal within the Church, where for decades Catholics have failed to be good stewards of the planet. A sense of renewal is needed to understand, appreciate and further the Church’s place in the world.

At present essential freedoms such as free speech, freedom of religion, free enterprise and a culture of authentic human flourishing are being threatened around the world. The COVID-19 Pandemic is an opportunity for the well formed faithful to engage with the world about the perennial questions of human existence.

For the vast majority of people on this planet have been stripped from distractions and pleasures thanks to this lockdown. For prior to this pandemic that vast majority of people were just existing, if this pandemic does not awaken people to the Truth and reality, nothing will. It is time for Christian leaders to cease this opportunity and make a difference.

For Further Reading

Reawakening Humanity — Fr. Julian Carron



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