Nearly two years have passed since COVID-19 landed on American shores and changed the country permanently. After models predicted the deaths of millions of healthy Americans, the whole world shut down in the latter half of March 2020 in order to mitigate the spread of the virus and reduce the burden on hospitals.
Even though it became apparent by late summer that the models were wrong—the hospitals had more than enough room, masks did nothing, and only those with comorbidities and the elderly faced an actual risk of death from COVID-19—the COVID restrictions and the regime enforcing them continued.
And so 2020, the first year of COVID, proved to be a miserable year. Many people couldn’t work, go to school, or even breathe without some stupid cloth or paper mask over their face. What they could do was watch the number of COVID deaths (how these deaths were counted was never clear, but that didn’t matter) continually mount.
In 2021, the second year of COVID, vaccines and vaccine mandates became the focus. Little if any of this has to do with health since the virus has already run its course and mutated into vaccine-resistant variants—and it became evident that the vaccine didn’t actually prevent transmission or reinfection.
Rather, it had everything to do with politics. Secular progressives proudly brandished their jabbed arms and aggressively denounced those who expressed any hint of skepticism about the vaccines. Somehow, this group of people was deemed more harmful and pernicious than the virus itself. COVID hysteria morphed into vaccine hysteria, and nothing made any sense. And as California’s new mask mandate demonstrates, so much public policy continues to be completely arbitrary.
By now, the virus has largely ceased to be a serious threat to people, despite the propaganda suggesting otherwise. But it does continue to warp the culture. Communities continue to fragment, individuals continue to self-isolate, and public life is filled with strife. Governments and institutions have largely taken an anti-Christian stance, filling in its place various forms of tribalism, statism, or collectivism—all of which seem to act as denominations of a broader faith that idolizes COVID.
Predictably, this has left devout Catholics adrift. Even the Church has largely embraced the anti-human, anti-cultural position of most secular authorities: closing parishes, denying sacraments, and pushing vaccines made with the cells of aborted children. Tellingly, Pope Francis targeted traditional Catholics—a community of people who largely resisted COVID and vaccine hysteria—with the petty and malicious Custodes Traditiones. Meanwhile, the bishops in the United States met to say that they would continue administering Holy Communion to unrepentant pro-abortion politicians.
It’s hard to shake off the feeling that everyone in the developed world had it coming. The stupidity, the shallowness, and the cowardice that prevailed among all generations made it all too easy for something like COVID to come in and take over. The spiritual vacuum that modernism created finally opened up wide enough to be filled by something new and terrible.
So what do faithful Christians do about this state of affairs? As it happens, this year, they have the opportunity to attend church and properly celebrate Christmas. And as much as Christians want to return to the good old days before COVID, it would be more appropriate to take this opportunity to truly repudiate COVID once and for all.
If generic calls for peace and warm fuzzies felt hollow before, they are especially hollow now—if not a bit cruel. Those well-meaning yet desperate types who put up their Christmas decorations and start their Christmas song playlist the day after Halloween are indulging in empty escapism. Mere festivity cannot reverse the endless hypocrisy and many abuses that accompanied COVID.
Only a truly penitential Advent and Christmas season is appropriate for the moment. All Christians, especially Catholics, should purge themselves of the ignorance, laziness, and viciousness that they’ve internalized from a COVID-positive culture. They should deny themselves as much as they can and leave their hearts open for Christ.
Furthermore, they should confront the side that still adores it. Even if the virus is gone, its devotees are still here. They wear their masks, receive their sacramental boosters, and continue their jihad against those who have finally had enough of COVID.
If they’re parents, they abuse their kids by smothering them with masks and keeping them in perpetual fear of a virus that never posed a threat to them. If they are childless, then they abuse their neighbors by harassing them, vilifying them on social media, and clamoring for a closed society that brings out the very worst in everyone.
In the Christmas spirit, particularly in the militant spirit of St. Nicholas, it’s time to confront this new heresy and stamp it out. As loud and often powerful as its adherents are, they are still a minority and deeply misguided. Some of them are exploiting the moment, but most of them are ignorant and scared. That’s why foolish attempts at compromise—by being “pro-vax, anti-mandate” or some such thing—only encourage them by validating a fundamentally irrational position. Only a full rejection will do.
True recovery will only happen when the insanity finally ends. Life, work, love, and worship can only continue when people finally repent of their mistake and give up the illusions. If anything has been learned from this virus, it’s that the spiritual harm it inflicts is just as bad, if not infinitely worse, than the physical harm.
Just as Jesus became incarnate of the Virgin Mary to save sinners from their sins, the celebration of Christmas must be saved from COVID. This darkness has hovered over the world for two long years. Now it’s time to let there be light.
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