Apart from obvious health and medical concerns that I have as a doctor, I have been troubled by the “morality” of the COVID pandemic, or rather our response to it and actions because of it. Is COVID of God or the devil? More importantly, is our RESPONSE to COVID of God or the devil? I believe an examination of these questions is vitally important as we attempt to look to the future, get over a virus that likely will always coexist with us, and learn how to deal with the various mandates and government policies that have existed for the past 2 years.
Let me begin by stating that I don’t really care where you stand on COVID shots, masks, mandates, and the like, and I won’t judge your personal choices regarding your health. Your (and my) personal opinions, while interesting in a debate, don’t mean much when we examine the morality of a given situation.
Let me also correct statements that have been erroneously (but likely well-intentioned) made by most people who made them. COVID didn’t result in businesses closing, churches closing, social and public isolation, shots, masks, mandates, and people losing their jobs simply because they made a personal healthcare and religious decision regarding any of these things. A virus is not capable of “doing” anything except infecting people, causing illness, and sometimes causing death. People, especially those in leadership roles, are capable of “doing” something such as lockdowns, forced shots and masking, and other things we’ve seen during the trials of the previous 2 years.
So as a Catholic, I believe that from a moral perspective, it’s important to ask if the virus and our response to the virus are good and Godly or evil and satanic; our answers should guide future personal beliefs and public policies.
Personally, I and many fellow Catholics believe that God has allowed the virus to develop and spread, as God allows everything that happens to happen for a greater good. My guess, and it’s only a guess, is that the virus is a wake-up call from God to return to Him. Let’s face it: we live in a Godless world, preferring the “god” of evil to our Creator. My hope is that as people look at this pandemic, they will see the extreme need to invite God back into our personal AND public lives, consecrating our lives, our country, and our entire world back to Him, asking for His forgiveness for our sins that have caused this modern day “great flood” as a way to “baptize and purify” our sinful souls.
So because the virus is simply a microorganism, I don’t believe it can be good or evil, but I do believe it is “from God” in the sense that He has allowed it and hopes to bring good from our suffering.
But what about our response to the virus? Is our response good and from God or evil and from the devil? In order to answer this, I simply ask-does a particular response bring us together (good) or further divide us (bad.) Again, as you ponder my questions I’m not discussing medical issues about what may or may not be necessary to keep a virus from causing unnecessary harm, but rather simply focusing on the morality of our choices.
Is it good or bad to isolate people from each other?
Is it good or bad to force isolation that has resulted in depression, suicide, physical/sexual abuse, pornography, divorce, irrational fear, and alcohol/drug abuse?
Is it good or bad to be suspicious of everyone we see, fearing illness and death if we breathe their air?
Is it good or bad to shut down businesses, resulting in poverty, loss of income, loss of housing, and business failures?
Is it good or bad to force people to wear masks? Is it good or bad to cover up the faces of each other, even though human facial expression is an important part of communication and an essential element in developing communication skills among children?
Is it good or bad to force shots on people, causing them to lose their jobs and be forced out of school if they make a personal medical and religious decision to not take a shot?
Is it good or bad to shun or even reject family and friends simply because they have made different health care decisions?
Is it good or bad to silence medical professionals and other who ask questions you may not wish to answer, or who come to a different medical conclusion based upon careful examination of the medical literature and personal experience?
Is it good or bad to prevent doctors and patients from making health care decisions, preventing them from using whatever treatments they deem necessary and which they desire?
Is it good or bad to prevent family and clergy from visiting dying patients? Is it good or bad to prevent the administration of the sacraments from those who are hospitalized?
Is it good or bad that many (borderline) Catholics have not returned to church, due to a fear of catching a virus or the mistaken belief that since there was a general dispensation from attending weekly mass during the pandemic, that maybe in-person attendance just isn’t that important since we can “watch church” on TV whenever we desire?
Again I’m not taking a medical or personal position on any of these topics, nor am I addressing a possible need to temporarily require citizens to follow sensible medical protocols when absolutely necessary, but rather posing a series of questions to help us evaluate the morality of our actions which can help us prepare for the future (and yes, there will always be a future “crisis.”)
The Bible makes it clear that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Right now we are pretty divided against ourselves and our God. The pandemic has exposed a number of uncomfortable moral truths, and we have not always done the good and moral thing when it comes to dealing with a simple virus. I hope this examination of conscience will encourage you to take this approach to every policy going forward in order to determine if we’re following God or following the devil. Godly policies draw us closer to each other and to Him, and allow us to love each other and live by the words of Jesus who said Be Not Afraid; evil policies do the exact opposite.