The Covid Myth’s Legacy: Fear and Limited Freedom

When reason detaches itself from the faith, it falls into myth. This is one of the great teachings of Benedict XVI. For him, the opposite was also true: when faith detaches itself from reason, it falls into myth. Religion’s fall into myth is called fideism; reason’s fall into myth is called rationalism. The two are mythical religions. Benedict XVI explained it very well in his famous Regensburg address of 2006. In our time, we observe that, on the one hand, a kind of mythical religiosity is exalted. That is the case with the pantheist, idolatrous, and animist religion of primitive men (remember the Amazon Synod). On the other hand, political reason feeds on precisely political myths. In both cases, there is a lack of rationality.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, politicians have invented many myths as a self-consoling function or to serve political power. Based on the ‘emergency’ myth, public authority can be strengthened and made more pervasive to counter the emergency. The government can increase control, limit freedoms with everyone’s consent, and have authoritarian measures accepted, even gladly.

An entire mythology is then built on the emergency myth: Conte’s press conferences, Mattarella’s moralism, the RAI Networks’ biased journalistic reports, the sentimental rhetoric of big brand advertising “waiting to hug one another,” the “new heroes,” liturgical parades of task forces, the States-General,  and TV fundraising for civil protection, still in progress even if jails have been closed.

The first great myth was undoubtedly that of the pandemic itself. Its mortality rate was less than 4 percent. The numerous deaths were due to the lack of health facilities. The victims who died with Covid did not die from Covid but other diseases or because intensive care places were unavailable. Covid itself was therefore turned into a myth.

A second myth was undoubtedly about “science,” and virologists in particular. None of them gave us certainties. Their opinions were always conflicting; many of them took advantage of the opportunity to appear on TV and sell books. Nevertheless, the government has consistently hidden behind the opinion of “scientists.” People have been persuaded that “a vaccine is needed.” Opposing doctors are silenced, funding from Bill Gates arrives, and the process of compulsory health treatment (CHT) goes ahead because “science says so.”

The same happened with the fear myth. While excessive alarmism is explainable given the health shortages mentioned above, it is not if compared to the true extent of the epidemic in Italy. Many senseless measures (remember the 200 meters from home?) have contributed to feeding this myth. State TV stations, busily talking about Covid 24/7, acted as a driving force to instill widespread fear, which is proving difficult to overcome even now that the problem is tiny. Many older adults still do not go to Mass because of this persistent artificial fear. Totalitarian regimes have always made use of myths and induced fear.

Then they created the “together we can” myth to stigmatize different opinions and public demonstrations, even if compliant with the rules. Parliament was ‘frozen,’ and critical they accused opponents of failing to collaborate because everyone should stand together in the emergency. They mythologized a hypothetical enemy to condemn internal opposition and accuse it of defeatism. Dissenting voices were silenced, and those who called certain measures irrational and harmful pointed out to the public as suspect.

Another myth that has arisen is that of “experts.” The government surrounded itself with many groups of “experts” not only to deal with the virus from the standpoint of health but also to decide what to do after the virus. They went so far as to summon a States-General, and the situation has become ridiculous. In this way, delays and glaring incompetence have been hidden under the Supercompetent, Superpaid, Superheroes myth.

The Catholic Church has made all these myths her own. She has been unable to say words of truth and indeed has proved even more rigid in applying the behaviors required by the new myths. The Church has become an expert in mythology to the point of preventing the faithful from kneeling in church even if the government has not asked for it. She accepted the inconsistent, abstruse, and contradictory provisions of ministries’ officials  (if there can be 70 people in a church, why allow only 15 in a funeral?), and absurd restrictions (why allow no more than 200 people at indoor masses when in many cathedrals there are many more?). The raison d’état, turned into myth, has produced diehard religious mythology: playgrounds are now teeming with unprotected people and children, but in church, people’s temperatures are taken, distancing enforced, chairs fixed to the ground with scotch tape so they will not be moved. And after the ite missa est, “ushers” come to escort you out the door.

 

The myth has spread in the Church, that the first way to be a good Christian is to be a good citizen, and that being a good citizen means obeying without discussing often absurd and unconstitutional orders (and contrary to the Concordat) from the incumbent government.

 

 

Source: La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana

 

Translated by the staff of Fatima Today.

 

© Reproduction is authorized provided the source is acknowledged.

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