The way forward as the Covid-19 pandemic may be receding

by John Smeaton

There are of course conflicting signals, but it does seem possible that the political and health establishment is beginning to herald the end of the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • In early January this year, the World Health Organisation recommended that countries should “lift or ease international traffic bans as they do not provide added value and continue to contribute to the economic and social stress” and that governments “should consider a risk-based approach to the facilitation of international travel by lifting or modifying measures, such as testing and/or quarantine requirements, when appropriate, in accordance with the WHO guidance”.
  • An article in a major UK national newspaper, The Daily Telegraph (2 February 2022) concluded “Britain is largely out of the coronavirus woods”.
  • And in Nature (31 January 2022), a British weekly scientific journal, an article – under the headline “Will Omicron end the Pandemic?” – quoting Julian Tang, a consultant virologist at Leicester Royal Infirmary, concluded that, though there are no guarantees that the next [Covid] variant will be milder, this certainly seems to be the pattern so far. “This virus is getting milder and milder with each iteration,” he said.

The adverse impact of Covid-19, of course, cannot be measured only by the number of Covid cases and deaths. For example, the pressure brought to bear on health services, combined with the public’s hesitation in seeking healthcare has also led to an increase in serious physical and psychological illness and in deaths, including suicides. The economic impact of Covid on individuals and businesses has had a similar impact on the health and welfare of countless people worldwide.

Confusion and division have reigned during the pandemic, generated by different opinions as to its seriousness, the appropriateness – or otherwise – of government measures taken to limit the harm of Covid-19 and, amongst good Catholics and pro-lifers, grave issues concerning the vaccines.

Appallingly, unscrupulous politicians in many parts of the world have exploited the fear and confusion created by the pandemic in order to introduce sweeping changes to facilitate an increase in home abortions. The British Medical Journal reports that, in Europe, for example: 

“Altogether eight countries/regions provided home medical abortion with mifepristone and misoprostol beyond 9 weeks (from 9 weeks + 6 days to 11 weeks + 6 days) and 13 countries/regions up to 9 weeks (in some instances only misoprostol could be taken at home).”

In the United Kingdom, the situation is best summed up by a headline in The Independent, a British newspaper: “The pandemic revolutionised abortion access. Why should we say goodbye to pills by post?” This is followed with the subtitle: “Ending a pregnancy in England has always required at least one visit to a clinic but the pandemic changed all that with the government approving at-home abortions. Now it’s considering changing it back…”

The abortion “revolution”, to which The Independent refers, was introduced without parliamentary debate, by Boris Johnson’s government at the end of March 2020, when the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care approved temporary measures in England, to allow women to take abortion pills, received by post, in their homes after a telephone consultation: a service known as telemedical abortion.

Its introduction, less than a year ago, has resulted in a major increase in the legalised killing of unborn children. Reporting on this, Europe’s largest grassroots pro-life organization, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), cites a statistical analysis published by the Department of Health and Social Care: “Between January and June 2020, there were 109,836 abortions performed on residents of England and Wales. This compares with 105,540 over the same period in 2019.”

As always, the mothers who abort their children suffer too. SPUC’s public policy manager, Alithea Williams says: 

“Freedom of Information responses from NHS Trusts in England have revealed that 5.9 per cent of women using abortion drugs were subsequently treated in hospital for complications arising from an incomplete abortion – and data from NHS Ambulance Services indicate that, on average, 36 women make 999 calls every month seeking medical assistance for complications arising from taking abortion pills.”

Back in 2018, SPUC launched a battle against abortions at home in the Scottish courts. This had the effect of delaying the British government from taking the same action for over a year, thus saving many lives and much suffering. The Society is now campaigning against the temporary measures introduced during the pandemic from becoming permanent, following a public consultation.

Alithea Williams says:

“This emergency measure was imposed with no parliamentary scrutiny. It would be completely undemocratic to extend it without even releasing the results of the public consultation, and without consulting Parliament. Abortion providers should not be permitted to unilaterally set abortion law.”

UK citizens who wish to assist the campaign to stop home abortions should visit spuc.org.uk.

Whilst Governments cave in to the pro-abortion lobby, bishops throughout the world, and the Pope himself, are caving in to politicians who flagrantly insist on voting for abortion laws and other evils such as same-sex “marriage”. As the Digest reported in November, bishops in the US continue to fail to condemn the widespread practice of reception of Holy Communion by pro-abortion politicians, including by President Biden whose claim that Pope Francis told him that he was a good Catholic and that he should keep receiving Communion was met with the Vatican response: “It was a private conversation”.

In the UK, an email sent from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) in March 2014 to Catholic parliamentarians, stated: “There are no plans by any bishops in England and Wales to deny Communion to Catholic MPs or peers who voted in favour of same-sex marriage legislation last year.” This message went out in defiance of Catholic doctrine that: “To vote in favour of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral.”

Early in the 20th century, Our Lady appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, warning them of a great chastisement if “people do not cease offending God”. Our Lady told the three children, Lucy, Francisco and Jacinta, on 13 July 1917:

“The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.” 

In these words, we see that Our Lady’s apocalyptic warning is transfused by a message of hope for humanity which is implied by her words “if people do not cease offending God”.

Clearly, “people”, including Catholic church leaders, have certainly not ceased offending God. What is the way forward?

Speaking at a conference in Rome in 2017, His Eminence Cardinal Burke, who recently recovered from being seriously ill from Covid (miraculously, he says, as a result of a great outpouring of prayers for him), called for the Consecration of Russia and for the personal consecration of ourselves to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

He said:

“As horrible as are the physical chastisements associated with man’s disobedient rebellion before God, infinitely more horrible are the spiritual chastisements, for they have to do with the fruit of grievous sin: eternal death. As is clear, only the Faith, which places man in the relationship of unity of heart with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the mediation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, can save man from the spiritual chastisements which rebellion against God necessarily brings upon its perpetrators and upon the whole of both society and the Church.

“The teaching of the Faith in its integrity and with courage is the heart of the office of the Church’s pastors: the Roman Pontiff, the Bishops in communion with the See of Peter, and their principal co-workers, the priests … Their failure to teach the faith, in fidelity to the Church’s constant teaching and practice – whether through a superficial, confused or even worldly approach – and their silence endangers mortally, in the deepest spiritual sense, the very souls for whom they have been consecrated to care spiritually. The poisonous fruits of the failure of the Church’s pastors is seen in a manner of worship, of teaching and of moral discipline which is not in accord with Divine Law.”

In order to bring about the triumph of the Immaculate Heart which, as Cardinal Burke stated, “will first be the victory of the Faith, which will put an end to the time of apostasy, and the great shortcomings of the Church’s pastors”, we must fulfil Our Lady’s requests as best we can in our own lives. This means making acts of penance and observing the five First Saturdays by:

  • Going to confession
  • Receiving Holy Communion
  • Praying the Rosary
  • Meditating for fifteen minutes on one or more mysteries of the Rosary
  • All of the above must be done with the intention of making reparation for offences against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

“In the end, My Immaculate Heart shall triumph”, Our Blessed Lady assures us. The situation could not be more serious but, for Catholics, the situation is not desperate.

“And where sin abounded, grace did more abound” (Romans, 5:20).