The coronavirus outbreak heralds the end of globalisation, may coincide with past divine chastisements of nations, but prefigures not the success of the sons of darkness but rather their defeat.
These are some of the main points of a reflection by Italian Church historian Professor Roberto De Mattei who, in a 45-minute video lecture (see full text below), has placed the coronavirus crisis in a political, historical and philosophical context.
He begins his talk by explaining the extent of the crisis, that it threatens the pillars of nations with collapse and disorder, signalling an end to the “global village” and globalisation while at the same time bringing mankind back to reality.
In particular, he points out that the problem of the coronavirus is not the lethalness of the disease which is relatively low, but the degree of its contagion which threatens to put an immense burden on Italy’s healthcare system and thereby precipitate the country’s collapse.
De Mattei, who heads the traditional Catholic Lepanto Foundation, then seeks to place the coronavirus in the context of past epidemics, plagues and famines, including the 1918-1920 Spanish Flu, but most notably the great religious and political upheavals of the fourteenth century that were “interpreted by the Christian people as signs of God’s chastisement.”
“There are three scourges with which God chastises: war, plague, and famine,” he recalls, adding that Saint Bernardine of Siena along with Saints Catherine of Siena, Bridget of Sweden, Vincent Ferrer, Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort, warned how throughout history “natural disasters have always accompanied the infidelities and apostasy of nations.
“It happened at the end of the Christian Middle Ages, and it seems to be happening today,” De Mattei argues. “Saints like Bernardine of Siena did not attribute these events to the work of evil agents but to the sins of men, which are even more grave if they are collective sins and still more grave if tolerated or promoted by the rulers of the peoples and by those who govern the Church.”
De Mattei also brings the crisis into the context of theology and philosophical history, arguing that all history begins and ends with God who rewards and chastises through his “infinite perfection” of justice.
God chastises not only individuals but also nations, De Mattei says, and cites a bishop who recently forcefully rejected the idea that the coronavirus could be a punishment for humanity.
Such a rejection, De Mattei believes, reveals that the “great sin of our time is the loss of faith by the men of the Church,” whose blindness of mind and hardness of heart produce “indifference to the violation of the divine order of the universe.”
It is an indifference that hides hatred toward God and shows itself indirectly. “These men of the Church are too cowardly to directly challenge God,” De Mattei continues. “They prefer to express their hatred towards those who dare to speak of God,” while a person who dares to “speak of the chastisement of God gets stoned: a river of hatred flows against him.”
But he says that unlike the saints of the past, bishops today are not just avoiding speaking about divine scourges, they are “not even inviting the faithful to pray that God will liberate them from the epidemic.”
God Also Punishes By Subtraction
Such an approach, he continues, is consistent with them being effectively “immersed in practical atheism,” where everything that happens to them is “the fruit of nature, emancipated from its author,” and that only science and not the Church is “capable of deciphering nature’s laws.”
“The priests are silent, the bishops are silent, the Pope is silent,” De Mattei says, and observes that “for the first time in many centuries in Italy, the churches are closed, Masses are suspended, and even St. Peters basilica is closed.” Holy Week and Easter “will not be drawing pilgrims from all over the world.”
“God also punishes by ‘subtraction,’” De Mattei says, quoting Saint Bernardine of Siena, and notes how it seems as if God has “removed the churches, the Mother of all churches, from the supreme Pastor, while the Catholic people are groping confused in the dark, deprived of the light of truth that should illuminate the world from Saint Peter’s Basilica.
“How can we not see in what the coronavirus is producing a symbolic consequence of the self-destruction of the Church?” De Mattei asks.
But he closes by stressing the centre of the Church is not her enemies but her saints, and that those who work to destroy her may obtain “apparent successes” but will “always ultimately be defeated.”
“The scenario we have before us is apocalyptic,” De Mattei says, but although the path of the Church is a via crucis, “it is also always a march of triumph.”
At Fatima, the Blessed Mother “assured us of her triumph,” De Mattei concludes, and so with the confidence of those who “know that everything is possible with the help of God, we do not retreat, and we entrust ourselves to Mary at the tragic hour of the events foretold by the message of Fatima.”
Source: Edward Pentin
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