- Aug 9, 2020
The church has had centuries of experience with the do’s and don’ts during a pandemic — and far from being antagonistic, it has often been at the forefront of endorsing public health measures considered to be the most effective at the time for containing contagion.
At least in Italy, which for a long time was ground zero of the pandemic, the early sense is that most clergy are acquitting themselves pretty well and may be remembered as among the heroes.
The Catholic Church has had a long tradition of calling on saints and praying for their intercession in sickness and difficult times.
Although the coronavirus pandemic brings to mind plagues from centuries ago, both with quarantines, fast-spreading diseases and deaths, there is one big difference on the spiritual side: Today’s pandemic is not, save but a lone voice or two, described as God’s punishment on humanity.
Correspondence can reveal a lot about periods of history and the letters written by popes during the Black Death are no exception. These documents, often responses to questions, provide a window into a long-ago era that is getting renewed attention amid today’s coronavirus pandemic.
Dominican Father Paul Murray is one of English-language Catholicism’s most prominent contemporary theologians and poets, and he reflects on the spiritual significance and fall out of the coronavirus pandemic.