Covid-19 – Control and Responsibility (Stefano Biancu)
When the Little Prince said “The essential is invisible to the eyes” he was not thinking about a virus. Yet a virus invisible to the eyes is today urging us back to the essential, depriving us of many things that, at least at our latitudes, we were used to taking for granted: security, health, social relations, freedom of movement and even freedom of worship. But, most of all, it is depriving us of the control on our lives: the virus forces us to grieve over the illusion of having everything under control.
At the same time, the virus requires that we recognise what is in our control – what we can do – and to act accordingly. After weeks of random and scattered announcements, a rational message is finally prevailing in the public discourse: the threat that the virus carries is not so much about the personal existence of most of us, but about the capacity of resistance of the health care system. With regard to this threat, we must all act responsibly in order to limit as far as possible an infection that would put health facilities in crisis, and it would also endanger the existence of those who are weaker because of their age or other diseases.
The virus therefore requires that we learn to distinguish between what is under our control and what is not: not everything is under our control nor it will ever be. But, as far as we are concerned, we must all act responsibly, taking care above all of the weakest. In short, the virus imposes on us that we become adults, that we grieve over a childhood dream of almightiness and that we take in charge the existence of those who are most exposed and defenceless. Incidentally, this is even more true for those Catholic voices that raise against the alleged abuse of a State that closes churches to defend the public health. They fail to understand which is the priority between man and the Sabbath and to understand where the body of Christ lies. This is idolatry.
The emergency requires now that we work together without any discordance and without any looting. Once this is over, it will be possible and necessary to evaluate the different responsibilities in the management of the epidemic. This is especially to ensure that the lesson will be learnt and that in the future we are better prepared for similar emergencies: in terms of health management, public communication, measures of financial support.
But there is one condition to learn the hard lesson of coronavirus. Each of us should learn that not everything is in our control, but that something is in our power and we must do that something. We owe it to all and in particular to the most fragile and the most defenceless ones.