Are We Gloating Yet?

John Bel Edwards.jpgI noticed the governor of Louisiana is fasting and praying at lunch time this week “for our health care workers & all those affected by COVID-19.” Is that priority right? I doubt that sincere believers would stop at the first one and skip the number two intercession.

Prayer isn’t enough. Governor Edwards, as a Catholic, knows that action balances contemplation:

In addition to prayer, I urge all Louisianans to protect their neighbors & themselves by getting their vaccines & wearing masks.

Many people I follow in social media continue to hammer away at the incomprehensibility of people declining to take steps to protect themselves and those around them in the face of the biggest pandemic in a century. One person raises a question: does the name-calling and criticism turn off those opposed to vaccines, masks, and other precautions? Would we save lives by being more polite, declining to use trigger expressions like MAGA death cult, anti-vax Qooks, GQP, and the like? I admit it’s a good question.

I think back to my experience parenting a teen. I saw many poor choices take form in the life of the young miss. I judged my influence waned as high school progressed. I prayed that errors would turn out to be mild missteps, and not blow up in her face. (Thankfully, there were no chemistry experiments in her adolescence.) I know she has missed opportunities. Senior year trip to Paris with the French Club because she declined to work the summer before. Putting off college until after her mother and I could afford to help her.

Obviously, I love my daughter, and I feel the lament of her missed opportunities.

In contrast, I’m nowhere near as close to antivaxxers. I don’t know the people who wear MAGA hats, drive Trump trucks with US flags, wear their masks like bibs, or post on social media that Dr Fauci cooked up the virus in the DNC headquarters basement.

Photograph of an anesthesiologist using the Glidescope video laryngoscope to intubate the trachea of an elderly person with challenging airway anatomyI read the stories the media trumpets that some vaccine resistant person cried for the shot but got an intubation instead. Or some variation thereof. I feel sorry for them. If I knew someone specifically (like one of my nephews or a few of my parishioners) I would pray intently for them.

I feel more inclined to put health care workers at the top of my list. The spouses of my three siblings fall into that category.

My parenting experience informs me that attempting to make converts to my way of thinking is a fruitless task. At least it is by preaching or haranguing. When dealing with my daughter, I’ve always known that actions speak louder than words. I have felt those eyeballs probing me when I was least expecting it.

What can I do with the antivax crowd? Who  knows? I continue to mask in public closed door spaces, and especially at my church. I’ve vowed to be the last person in my parish wearing a mask. That is important to me as a minister and a person perceived to be a leader. Since I still see people masked, including children, it’s just good manners.

As for people who disagree with me, I have no interest in making converts to my beliefs in science, politics, or courtesy. People have to find it within themselves to make changes. Meanwhile, as I posted in social media earlier today, I will continue to pray for the sick, and for health care workers who will nurse them back to health or cart their dead bodies to a morgue.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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