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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 July 9, 2020

If you persevere until death in true devotion to Mary, your...

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July 9

 

If you persevere until death
in true devotion to Mary,
your salvation is certain.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions

“Let’s go, we are going to heaven today!” exclaimed Fr...

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St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions

Augustine Zhao Rong, is one of a group of 120 Catholics, among many more who were martyred between the years 1648 and 1930 in China.

Having come to China through Syria in the seventh century, down through the centuries Christianity has in turn thrived or gone into hiding, contingent upon the relations of China with the outside world.

Of the 120 martyrs mentioned above, eighty-seven were Chinese, ranging in age from nine to seventy-two, and four of them were priests. Thirty-three were foreign-born, mostly priests or women religious. Though the missionaries and religious tried to distance themselves from foreign policies, the Chinese government did not differentiate and saw them all as westerners.

The martyrdoms of China are most moving, each person having died heroically though many of them suffered torture and cruel deaths. Fr. Francis Li, grandson of a Chinese martyr, describes his grandfather going to his death joyfully saying to his brother and son, “Let’s go, we are going to heaven today!”

Zhao Rong was a bailiff of a county jail. During the persecution of 1772, he was moved by the words of Fr. Martinus Moye to his fellow Catholic prisoners, and, ultimately converted. He later became a priest, and when in 1815 another persecution broke out, he was arrested and tortured, and being aged, died of the ill treatment.

The group of 120 martyrs celebrate today headed by St. Augustine Zhao Rong was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 1, 2000.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

The young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. N...

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A Young Man and His Lady Love

In twelfth century England, a group of young men had gathered and were bragging of their various feats, as young men have done since the beginning of time.

The lively conversation went from archery to sword fighting to horsemanship, each trying to outdo the accomplishments of the others.

Finally, the young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. Not to be outdone by his peers, a noble youth named Thomas declared that he, too, loved a great lady, and was beloved by her.

Thomas of Canterbury meant the most holy Virgin as the object of his affection, but afterwards, he felt some remorse at having made this boast. He did not want to offend his beloved Lady in any way.

Seeing all from her throne in heaven, Mary appeared to him in his trouble, and with a gracious sweetness said to him: "Thomas, what do you fear? You had reason to say that you loved me, and that you are beloved by me. Assure your companions of this, and as a pledge of the love I bear you, show them this gift that I make you."

The gift was a small box, containing a chasuble, blood-red in color. Mary, for the love she bore him, had obtained for him the grace to be a priest and a martyr, which indeed happened, for he was first made priest and afterwards Bishop of Canterbury, in England.

Many years later, he would indeed be persecuted by the king, and Thomas fled to the Cistercian monastery at Pontignac, in France.

Far from kith and kin, but never far from his Lady Love, he was attempting to mend his hair-cloth shirt that he usually wore and had ripped. Not being able to do it well, his beloved queen appeared to him, and, with special kindness, took the haircloth from his hand, and repaired it as it should be done.

After this, at the age of 50, he returned to Canterbury and died a martyr, having been put to death on account of his zeal for the Church.

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

The young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. Not to be outdone by his peers, a noble youth named Thomas declared that he, too, loved a great lady, and was beloved by her.

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