Post Date: 25th April 2020

Imaginative Solutions must be found to accommodate the ‘New-Normal’

It now seems that Covid-19 will be with us for a long time to come – and finding a vaccination may prove a more difficult task than is presumed. A complete ‘lock-down’ cannot be the answer long-term vis-à-vis mental health and social cohesion. Surely some imaginative ways must be discovered to allow life return to some kind of ‘new-normal’ – and particularly to allow religious people – whose first instinct is to intercede before God for solutions to this pestilence – find refuge where they have always found refuge in God’s house.

The Christian community is the most socially aware in Ireland today. It is not a co-incidence that ‘Church-gate’ collections are still very profitable despite falling congregations. Prior to the shut-down the small weekday congregation in most churches was aware of the threat of Covid-19 – and took the recommended precautions seriously; i.e. social distancing, sanitizing hands, even wearing face-masks. In present day Ireland almost any church building has the space for social distancing – and the good intent is there to make sure that it is not contributing to the problem. Visiting churches for private adoration poses no greater risk than shopping in Lidl or Supervalu or the local Off-License’. For sure, the sick, the elderly, those with health conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to the Covid-19, and people who are just fearful of catching it should be strongly encouraged to stay at home. Masses could be shortened so as to reduce the amount of time people are in any kind of proximity to each other. One thing that is becoming clearer is that the risk of infection from contact with surfaces has been greatly exaggerated, as the recently published study from Germany has concluded. There is no need to fear touching doors, benches, etc. It is high time to be reasonable about this and get over the inordinate fear that is paralyzing.