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By John Horvat II

 

While a greater percentage of the world is getting whipped up into a hysteria over the coronavirus, as Catholics we need to pause, pray and seek a supernatural solution. While the virus has yet to display its full fury, the global reaction to it is at a frenzy. There are two spectacles taking place: the coronavirus and the fear of the Media gatheringcoronavirus that might be called “coronaphobia.”

At this point, the fear is spreading at a much faster rate than the actual virus, due in a large part to the media.

People are terrified by the virus since it introduces them to an unknown world. It is a mysterious disease from a faraway totalitarian land. Everyone mistrusts the data coming out of China. The virus’s highly contagious and unpredictable nature adds to the generalized fear. Media hype and images multiply the impact of the disease by sensationalizing its every advance.

Thus, coronaphobia is raging all over the world. It has slowed down economies, shaved off trillions of dollars in stock prices, stopped church services and paralyzed cities. It is shaping politics as world leaders are put to the test to meet the grave challenge of this contagion.

 

A Real Threat

Of course, the coronavirus does present real risks. Reasonable measures must be taken. Like all cases of flu, people become sick and die. Those with weak immune systems are especially vulnerable. Its victims tend to be frail people with pre-existing conditions.

However, two factors make this threat different and more terrifying than the flu cases that take tens of thousands of lives yearly. The first is that it can strike quickly and indiscriminately. The second is that there are no vaccines against it. Thus, people sense general helplessness in the face of a tiny virus that is bringing a fragile and interconnected world to its knees.

 

The Causes of the Fear

No one likes to say it, but what triggers coronaphobia is the Hobbesian fear of death that so haunts the modern mind. Each person sees in a coronavirus death his or her possible death. This paranoiac fear causes demands that every possible means be employed against this remote threat even if they appear excessive. This desperate drama creates conditions in which people will even give up rights and liberties to avoid catching the virus.

Coronaphobia is caused by a society where the enjoyment of life is the supreme value. That is why the full might of the medical establishment must be mobilized with such passion. Everything must be done to prolong the lives of those who still enjoy life and have little thought about the hereafter.

Yet not all life is equally valued in today’s hedonistic culture. The same medical establishment that scrambles to treat coronavirus victims snuffs out thousands of lives daily, through abortion and euthanasia, so that others might free themselves from responsibilities and “enjoy” life.

 

Living in Denial

Coronaphobia explains why there is so much hype around the issue. In a culture that adores pleasure, life-threatening viruses overwhelm and crush psyches unaccustomed to thinking about death and suffering. People look for any way to escape this unpleasant reality.

To avoid any profound thinking about the virus, people surround it with noise and agitation, in the hope that the din might scare it away. To find quick fixes for the problem, they loudly demand urgent action, even if it flies in the face of commonsense. In their helplessness, they fill themselves with resentment and anger, blaming others for their misfortune.

Fear rules in such circumstances. People will do anything to avoid having to face the crisis alone, in all its seriousness. The festival of hype smothers everything in a frenetic intemperance of collective denial.

 

The Cure for Coronaphobia

There is a cure for coronaphobia. It involves facing reality with all objectivity. People must neither overreact nor minimize the dangers. They must face the virus, calmly and with common sense, utilizing the standard means by which strong flu cases are combatted.

Coronaphobia can only be overcome by those who dare to think beyond the pleasures of life. Tragedy invites people to reflect on human mortality and contingency. Inside the silence of reflection, people find meaning and purpose for their sufferings. They find the courage to act effectively, embracing reality, not denying it.

Above all, tragedy leads people to trust in God and His Providence. The limitations of a purely secular society are made patent when tragedies of this sort strike. Humanity is left to its own devices and finds them woefully insufficient. Throughout history, when faced with tribulation, the faithful have had recourse to God and have found solace and aid. That is why the Church has always played such a great role during times of calamity. Instead of prohibiting church services, authorities should encourage the Church to hold more. This trust is the only sure cure for the devastating coronaphobia that ravages the world.

 


 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for January 22, 2021

The doctor should not meddle. The right of the child is equa...

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January 22

 

The doctor should not meddle.
The right of the child is equal to the right of the mother’s life.
The doctor can’t decide;
it is a sin to kill in the womb.

St. Gianna Beretta Molla


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Vincent Pallotti

He once dressed as an old woman to reach a dying person whos...

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St. Vincent Pallotti

Vincent Pallotti was born in Rome in 1795, the son of a well-to-do grocer. In school he was known as a “little saint” and, although bright, he was also considered “a bit slow” – an illusion amply disproved by the apostolic endeavors of his life.

He was ordained a priest when only twenty-three, and taking his doctorate in theology soon after, became an assistant professor at the Sapienza University of Rome.

As a close friend of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, a missionary in Italy, he decided to give up his teaching post for a more apostolic life. Inflamed by the missionary spirit, he longed to send missionaries throughout the world and to work for the conversion of the Mohammedans.

Don Pallotti, as he was known, was a great confessor and fulfilled that office at several colleges. He had an intense devotion to the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity and a tender love for the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In 1835 he began the Society of Catholic Apostolate. He organized schools for shoemakers, tailors, coachmen, joiners and market-gardeners to improve their education and general pride in their trade. He started evening classes for young workers and an institute to teach better methods of agriculture.

Widely regarded as another St. Philip Neri, he was indefatigable in his work with those in need. Burning with zeal to save sinners, he once dressed as an old woman to reach a dying person whose relative had sworn to shoot the first priest to approach. He was also a great exorcist, and healed the sick with a word of encouragement or a blessing.  He foresaw the future, and once predicted the movement of Catholic Action, even its name.
Vincent Pallotti died on January 22, 1850 at the age of fifty-five. When his body was exhumed in 1906 and again in 1950, it was found to be completely incorrupt. It is enshrined in the Church of St. Salvatore in Onda in Rome.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him h...

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Mary and the Muslim

Don Octavio del Monaco was a wealthy citizen of 17th century Naples. Like many of his class, Don Octavius had several Muslim slaves in his household. These children of Islam were amazed at the kindness of their “master.” He fed and clothed them better than they received in their native land. In return, his slaves attended to their tasks with diligence, as Don Octavius did not over work them, but assigned them duties in keeping with their dignity as children of God.

If these Muslim slaves had any reason for complaint, it was the gentle persistence with which their master and his wife exhorted them to give up their false religion and become Catholics. Don Octavius even went so far as to invite the slaves to join his family in the chapel to worship the one true God with them!

Our story today is about one young slave in particular. His name was Abel, like the slain son of Adam and Eve. He felt drawn in a peculiar way to a lamp that burned in front of a shrine to Holy Mary. Abel would purchase the oil needed to keep the lamp lit from his own meager stipend. As he continued to practice this humble devotion, he would say, “I hope that this Lady will grant me some great favor.”

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian. At first the Turk resisted. But she placed her hand upon his shoulder, and said to him: “Now no longer resist, Abel, but be baptized and called Joseph,” conferring on him a name that was very dear to her Immaculate Heart indeed.

On August the 10th, 1648, there was much rejoicing in Heaven, for on that day “Joseph” and eleven other Muslims converted to the Christian faith and were baptized. Their conversion was brought about by the kindness shown by Don Octavius and the special intercession of the Mother of God.

Our story does not end here. Even once this son of hers was safely baptized, Mother Mary delighted in visiting him. Once, after having appeared to him, she was about to depart. But the Moor seized her mantle, saying, “Oh, Lady, when I find myself afflicted, I pray you to let me see you.” In fact, she one day promised him this and when Joseph found himself afflicted he invoked her, and Mary appeared to him again saying, “Have patience", and he was consoled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian.

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