“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Sunday, March 15, 2020


The world finds itself in a pandemic. The Coronavirus (COVID 19) is impacting every aspect of life from healthcare to commerce, travel to community life. We do not yet know the full extent of what the COVID beast may morph into and everybody is frightened.  The beast is threatening life as we have come to know it, but it is also going to test the mettle of our character individually and as nations. Have you ever wondered what kind of human being you really are when a test of your humanity comes? Well COVID19 may be that test. What kind of person are you? 

This pandemic gives us the opportunity to come together as communities and support each other, or as early indications are showing, we can adopt the mentality of every man for himself. Do we horde or price-gouge essential supplies such as hand sanitizers household cleaners, toilet paper, face masks and food—all things other people need too? Do we strip grocery store shelves empty so that others not so quick off the mark have nothing? 

I heard of a man from Chattanooga, Tennessee who took a U-Haul across Tennessee and Kentucky snapping up all the hand sanitizers and antibacterial wipes from every store. He wanted to make what he called “crazy money,” and jack up the price as high as possible to sell to people in desperate need of them.[1]  Another man near Edmonton, Canada, scooped up all the children’s thermometers at Costco then bragged how much profit he was going to make. 

Really? Are we a community or a jungle of animals feeding off others? This is not right.  Perhaps I should not be surprised how quickly my culture can descend. We embrace personal autonomy. I, me, mine. (Wasn’t there a Beatle song by that name?) For more than forty years we have killed children before birth who were inconvenient to our lifestyles or personal ambitions. Now personal autonomy and self-determination have brought medically assisted suicide to various jurisdictions throughout the world, including my country of Canada.  I have multiple sclerosis. No matter how much I may degenerate I do not have a right to commit suicide or ask someone to help me kill myself.  It would offend the Common Good and put someone else’s eternity at risk.  Euthanasia and assisted suicide crosses a long-held taboo against murder and weakens the foundations of interdependent community.

You can not have interdependent community and personal autonomy.  They are diametrically opposed ideas. You must choose which it shall be.  Unfortunately we have made the wrong choice for over four decades.  But it can change.  Reject personal autonomy and independence and embrace interdependence. 

I believe with all my heart that we are inter-connected and responsible for each others’ well being—for no other reason than every person bears the indelible image of God. Words like familyneighborcommunity and nation attest to our interdependence. I believe this so much that for more than twenty years I took that message across North America. I spoke from Canada’s Yukon to Louisiana and Alabama, From Boston to Los Angeles and countless places between those points.  I took that message to anyone who would listen (and even some people who did not want to listen.) 

Every generation is confronted with the most ancient question: “Am I my brother’s keeper.”[2] Your answer to that question will govern how you behave toward others. 

If you ascribe to the principle Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, then you ascribe to the Golden Rule, the principle of mutual interdependence.[3] And that brings me back to the current situation confronting the world with COVID 19. 

We must rise to our better selves: If you are sick or symptomatic, isolate yourself for the required two weeks. Buy only those items that your family needs and don’t horde essential items everybody needs. Help those who can not get out to acquire what they need in terms of basic essential items. Heed public health directions in a rapidly evolving pandemic.

No matter how desperate things may become remember that God is with us. Answer Yes to Cain’s question. We are our brother’s keeper. Let us use COVID as an opportunity to show our children and grandchildren this life principle for now and the future. 

A Prayer of Saint Patrick
Collegium Iuvenum Stuttgart

[1] Nick Nicas, “He Has 17,700 Bottles of Hand Sanitizer and Nowhere To Sell Them,” New York Times, 14 March 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/14/technology/coronavirus-purell-wipes-amazon-sellers.html

[2] Genesis 4.9.
[3] See Matthew 7.12.

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